Top young talents to watch as MLS 2022 qualifiers approach


The football League The season is heating up with the playoffs approaching. Although the 2022 campaign has seen tremendous talent in both the East and West conferences, there are quite a few young talents that stand out among the rest.

Julian Araujo has become a household name at just 21 years old, standing as a two-time MLS All Star and a member of the Mexican national team, while Jesus Ferreira battles in the MLS Golden Boot as he prepares to lead the USMNT in Qatar.

With the playoffs approaching, these are the MLS talents to look out for…

John Tolkien

John Tolkien was a key to the New York Red Bulls. / Howard Smith / ISI Images / GettyImages

The 20-year-old defender is unstoppable with the New York Red Bulls. Tolkien’s contributions inspired the team to third place at the Eastern Conference table with a goal difference of 10.

Combined with a solid defensive performance throughout the 2022 campaign, Tolkien managed one goal and three assists. He’s likely to stun the Red Bulls during post-season, and without a doubt, John Tolkien will be part of that starting lineup.

Alan Velasco

Alan Velasco was a fixture at FC Dallas. / Omar Vega / Getty Images

There is a good reason to have the FC Dallas number on the list. Alan Velasco has been a staple of the team since arriving in the offseason from Independiente for a transfer fee of nearly $7 million.

He’s managed six goals and six assists in 25 games, and has adapted well to the group to inspire third place at the Western Conference table. With Velasco and Jesus Ferreira up front, there’s no telling what FC Dallas will be able to achieve in the playoffs.

Kwadwo Opoko

LA Football Club character Kwadwo Opoko is one to watch. / James Williamson – AMA / GettyImages

LAFC dominated the Western Conference with the likes of Carlos Vela, Chicho Arango and Kwadwo Opoko. The 21-year-old last striker contributed seven goals and three assists to propel LA to first in the table and second in the Ansar Shield race.

After minimal involvement during his first two years with the team, Opoko has now established himself as a key element in Steve Chirondulo’s squad. And with the playoffs looming, the youngster will be a player to watch.

Julian Araujo

LA Galaxy’s Julian Araujo has got to be one worth watching. / James Williamson – AMA / GettyImages

LA Galaxy may be on the verge of holding the 2022 Major League Soccer playoffs, but if they do, Julian Araujo will definitely be one to watch. The Mexican national team player has been an important part of the Western Conference giants since his debut in 2019, scoring one goal and 19 assists so far.

The 21-year-old has already played for the MLS All Star team twice and is still in contention for El Tri’s 26-player roster in Qatar. With European teams like Porto and FC Barcelona keeping an eye on the player, this could be his last season in the MLS, making him one to watch out for.

New York City x Inter Miami

New York City FC Talise Magno is a figure to watch in the MLS post-season. / Lauren Soborn / Getty Images

New York City FC has seen its ups and downs this season after coming on as the underdog during the 2021 MLS Cup campaign and lifting the trophy. But with a sudden training change and roster move, Talles Magno was a staple on the east side of the conference.

The 20-year-old has scored six goals and made eight assists so far in 2022, adjusting well after the departure of star Valentin Castellanos. Although the Major League Soccer champions expect a lot from the youngster, he has proven that he has what it takes to lead.

And with New York City at number four on the Eastern Conference table, Magno will make for an enjoyable post-season viewing.

Jesus Ferrera

Jesus Ferreira is the top scorer in FC Dallas. / Omar Vega / Getty Images

The 21-year-old striker has been a standout throughout the 2022 Major League Soccer campaign. He netted 18 goals and five assists to inspire FC Dallas to finish third at the Western Conference table with a 13W-8L-10D record and finish third in the Golden Boot race.

Ferreira will be crucial to the Texans as they strive to reach the MLS Cup Final on November 5th. But with the USMNT striker at their side, coach Nico Estevez expects the team to be able to find success this year.



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