Nick Lima - Avaya Stadium - 2017

View from Couch: Top 5 Homegrown Players to open the 2017 MLS season

Another week, another Homegrown Player making MLS noise. This time, it was New York Red Bulls midfielder Tyler Adams, who earned his first start of the season Saturday against Real Salt Lake and deftly controlled the action for nearly all of a scoreless draw

The performance for Adams continues a strong start to the calendar year, which he opened by aiding the United States Under-20 national team in a successful effort to claim its first CONCACAF Championship, though he mostly played in more of a box-to-box role than he currently projects to on the club side, where the Red Bulls (for now?) seem to view him as a defensive midfielder.

With a nod to Kellyn Acosta the Homegrown Gawd and honorable mentions for Paxton Pomykal (Needs more minutes), Derrick Jones (Lotta love in Week 1) and Ian Harkes (whom we expected to be a big-timer), here are four other local products to keep tabs on through the early going:

Nick Lima

When you shut down Ignacio Piatti, that's a good show. When it's your first MLS match, let alone start? That's a whole other level. San Jose Earthquakes defender Nick Lima, a four-year standout at the University of California, stepped onto the Quakes' right flank and has left little worry about future decision-making over there for the near future.

It doesn't hurt when you're also scoring clutch goals at the other end.

Alex Crognale

Also along the backline, Alex Crognale took advantage of a red-card suspension to Jonathan Mensah to step into Columbus Crew SC's starting XI – and maybe more run than expected the rest of the way.

Thrown into the center of a 3-6-2 formation head coach Gregg Berhalter used to change up Crew SC's slow start, University of Maryland product Crognale ably directed the backline, delivering multiple clean-sheet saving tackles in their 2-0 win at D.C. United on March 18. No surprise Berhalter found follow-up minutes for Crognale in Week 4, even with a full roster to throw out in Columbus' 3-2 win against the Timbers.

Sebastian Saucedo

It's been, ah … tough sledding for RSL through the early going, but Sebastian Saucedo has provided a nice bright spot for the Claret-and-Cobalt. Last year's loan to Liga MX club Veracruz clearly left him more confident, and he's now impacting the action even as his decision-making continues to develop. He's started the last two games, and it's safe to predict he'll surpass the nine appearances he made in his rookie year in 2015.

Alphonso Davies

You didn't think you'd make it out of this one without getting steamrolled by the hype train, did you?

Look, for whatever ridiculousness led to him being MLS Fantasy's biggest asset (A $4.5m defender who starts at midfield and scores goals? Sign me up!) and the Vancouver Whitecaps' efforts to bring Alphonso Davies along slowly, the 16-year-old phenom is bursting out of the bubble wrap with performances like this:

Topics: 

Download the FREE MLS App

Follow San Jose's scores, updates, highlights, analysis and more.