Keep in mind, that when you are reading this, these aren't all actually my opinions, but just thoughts to stimulate one's ability to wonder.
Fans look at different players in different ways. Those that are greater, obviously, bear the weight of responsibility to carry the team to success. But who are the greater players? Many different unexpected abilities have come from different places.
Going into the season, we looked to Martin Rivero, proven goal scorer Edson Buddle, Drew Moor, and Hendry Thomas to carry the team. Not a lot of faith was placed in guys like Atiba Harris, Kevin Harbottle, Chris Klute, Nick LaBrocca, and most of all, Clint Irwin.
But can we honestly say that all of the players that we hoped would be prolific have been the players we dreamed for them to be? The same goes for the players we didn't expect much from. Have they done more than expected?
Martin Rivero has been out for the majority of the season, so obviously he hasn't been as strong as everyone has wished. Edson Buddle has done plenty for this team leading the team to a 8-2-3 record when he's on the pitch, but not in the way we expected. He's held up traffic rather than scored goals which is a different outcome, but positive nonetheless. Drew Moor is Drew Moor. Hendry Thomas is the hot headed player we expected him to be, just in trouble with the yellows. I think sometimes he has put too much effort into being an "enforcer" rather than a player.
Did anyone truly expect Atiba Harris to score goals? To be able to at least accurately shoot the ball on net? I know I didn't. Kevin Harbottle hasn't shown who he is yet, injuries have taken him out of the picture, though because he is healthy now, I am anxious to see what he can truly do, though it seems Oscar Pareja doesn't share the same anticipation. Who knew that defender Chris Klute would be a crossing machine argued to be the best left back in the United States? Nick LaBrocca is Nick LaBrocca. And of course, Clint Irwin. The man faced too many penalty kicks in too many matches, but rose to the occasion. Out of nowhere, he has kept this team in contention for the playoffs in Matt Pickens' stead. He has given himself a fighting chance for one of the more successful keeper careers in the MLS.
There are more players of course who have played down or up to the competition, but I'd prefer to leave those to your discussion. Do we ever see what we expect to see when a season starts? But who could have guessed that the Rapids would have ever been where they are now and walked the path that they have. Like guessing the NCAA men's basketball tournament, the prediction is never correct. Enjoy the ride and watch the young "no-name" players teach the vets a few tricks.