One of the more underrated stories this year with the Colorado Rapids -- actually, in all of MLS -- has been the quiet but quick growth of Shane O'Neill.
Certainly, this season has been full of youth-to-pro success stories, but most haven't been nearly as surprising as O'Neill's quick rise. Chris Klute has quickly become an incredible player, but he was getting compared to Eddie Pope of all people before signing on. Deshorn Brown and Dillon Powers and exceeded expectations, but coming from the Superdraft you expect players to be a bit more polished than from academies. O'Neill signed on last year and changed position twice, going from a forward to a defensive midfielder before finally ending up in the back line. It's rare to see a player change positions that quickly with this much success.
There aren't that many players in MLS who can claim to be completely undefeated any season, but O'Neill has managed that this year. Of all the numbers you can throw out about Shane, that's the most impressive: the Rapids have not lost a single game with him in the back line this season, boasting an 8-0-8 record overall.
He has been calm, collected and strong in the back, showing his versatility has he covers more ground than you normally expect a center back to do. Against the Whitecaps on Saturday, he had one of his less impressive games of the season. One of his less impressive games of the season still saw him complete 83% of his passes and collect a block, two interceptions and four clearances.
Why MLS, who we all know love big storylines, haven't hopped full force onto O'Neill's story, I'm really not sure.