Newcomers and Breakout Stars in MLS This Season

The new MLS season has just kicked off

When it comes to Major League Soccer, a lot of the attention understandably gravitates towards Lionel Messi. Considered the greatest of all time by almost everyone apart from Cristiano Ronaldo fans, the Argentina international has added a fresh touch of glamor to the league.

There will be many who think that his presence alone makes it a foregone conclusion that Inter Miami should be the favorite in the MLS betting markets to win the championship this season. Add a newcomer to US soccer, Luis Suarez, and another trophy is almost guaranteed.

But MLS is a big league, with a lot of teams, and Suarez is not the only newcomer that we are getting excited about. There are plenty of new arrivals – and young players looking ready to enjoy a breakout season – that should be considered for anyone concentrating on MLS for FM24.

Fidel Barajas – Real Salt Lake

As you will see from some of the other profiles in this guide to MLS talent, there are youngsters arriving in the league from all over the world. But it is not that often that a transplant from the USL Championship is so eagerly anticipated. But, then again, Fidel Barajas is no ordinary prospect.

The Guardian included him in its 60 Best Players Born in 2006 and he looked the real deal as part of a Charleston Battery team that made it all the way to the Championship Final last year. Now he is at Real Salt Lake and will be looking to benefit from a program that has traditionally done well in developing young talent.

Hugo Cuypers – Chicago Fire

Chicago Fire has not always been successful when splashing out the cash on new players. So the reported $12.9 million paid out for Belgian striker Hugo Cuypers could end up being yet another example of poor planning. But there is every chance that he could be the one to pull the Fire out of a slump.

He scored 34 times for Gent last season in the Jupiler Pro League and also featured in European competition. At 27, the former Belgium U-19 international probably needs to get into the groove of MLS play early on. But as the international designated player, much is expected of him in Chicago.

Benjamin Cremaschi – Inter Miami

We have already mentioned two big names that will surely be crucial to any Inter Miami success this season – and there are plenty more bona fide stars in the squad to help make that happen. But it is a youngster who has come through the ranks at the club who could make as big a splash as anyone.

Cremaschi broke into the first team last season and impressed with his hard work as a relentless midfielder. He showed that he has the temperament for the league when he scored a decisive penalty in the playoffs last season and could be ready to more than hold his own in a star-filled Miami team.

Luis Muriel – Orlando City

Speaking of star players. Luis Muriel has played for some of the most respected teams in Italy and Spain and has made 45 appearances for Colombia, including at a World Cup and a Copa America. Now he has crossed the Atlantic to become Orlando City’s designated player, potentially for the next three years.

Orlando City has been one of the league’s most underrated teams in recent years and plays in the CONCACAF Champions League and the Leagues Cup this year as well as looking to go one better than its runner-up spot for the Supporters’ Shield in 2023. Luis Muriel could be the one that pushes Orlando all the way.

Noel Buck – New England Revolution

This midfielder is only 18 years old but is already in his third season of MLS soccer. Buck has come through the ranks at New England and signed a homegrown contract, becoming a regular part of the team last year. He holds dual nationality and is eligible to play for the US, England, or Wales.

After a few years of disappointment, New England has regained its footing as one of the most consistent teams in MLS and the fact that it has put its faith in such a young player in the middle of the field shows just how highly Buck is rated. This could be a real standout season for him and he is definitely one to watch.

tol stadium mls
There are going to be some exciting young players across MLS this season

Bernard Kamungo – FC Dallas

Born in Tanzania and raised in a refugee camp in DR Congo, Bernard Kamungo has now become one of the most exciting young strikers in Major League Soccer and will be looking to carry on from an electrifying cameo role in FC Dallas’ season last term. He scored six goals in just eight starts and will surely be getting more minutes in 2024.

Initially impressing in a trial for North Texas, the MLS Next Pro team for FC Dallas, Kamungo has now graduated into the first team and should be able to kick on yet further this year. Although previously called up by Tanzania, he has since made his debut for the USMNT and could be a good call for the MLS Golden Boot this year.

Jovan Mijatović – New York City FC

Considering Jovan Mijatović has already played in the UEFA Champions League and won both the Serbian league and cup with Red Star Belgrade last season, it is something of a surprise that this teenage talent has traded European soccer for MLS.

Mijatović has already come on off the bench to feature in the first few games of the season for New York City and could become a very important part of the team – even at such a young age. His experience of big game atmospheres could put him ahead of other teenagers in the league and he should do well in MLS.