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Top young talents to watch as the 2022 MLS playoffs near

The Major League Soccer season is heating up as the playoffs near. Though the 2022 campaign has seen immense talent in both the East and West conferences, there are a few young talents that stand out among the rest.

Julian Araujo has become a household name at only 21-years-old, standing as a two-time MLS All Star figure and Mexican national team integrant, while Jesus Ferreira battles it out in the MLS Golden Boot race as he prepares lead the USMNT in Qatar.

As the playoffs near, these are the MLS talents to look out for…

John Tolkin

John Tolkin has been key for the New York Red Bulls. / Howard Smith/ISI Photos/GettyImages

The 20-year-old defender has been unstoppable with the New York Red Bulls. Tolkin’s contributions have inspired the team to third on the Eastern Conference table with a goal difference of 10. 

Beyond strong defensive performances throughout the 2022 campaign, Tolkin has managed one goal and three assists. The Red Bulls will likely stun during the postseason, and with no doubt, John Tolkin will be part of those starting lineups.

Alan Velasco

Alan Velasco has been a staple for FC Dallas. / Omar Vega/GettyImages

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

He’s managed six goals and six assists in 25 appearances, adjusting well to the group to inspire their third place hold on the Western Conference table. With Velasco and Jesus Ferreira on the attack, there’s no telling what FC Dallas will be capable of in the playoffs.

Kwadwo Opoku

Los Angeles Football Club figure Kwadwo Opoku is one to watch. / James Williamson – AMA/GettyImages

LAFC has dominated the Western Conference with the likes of Carlos Vela, Chicho Arango and Kwadwo Opoku. The latter 21-year-old forward has contributed seven goals and three assists to propel the LA side to first in the table and second on the Supporters’ Shield race. 

After minimal involvement during his first two years with the team, Opoku has now established himself as a staple of Steve Cherundolo’s side. And as the playoffs near, the youngster will be one to keep an eye on.

Julian Araujo

Los Angeles Galaxy’s Julian Araujo should be one to watch. / James Williamson – AMA/GettyImages

LA Galaxy may be just on the cusp of making 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 a crucial part of the Western Conference giants since debuting in 2019, racking up one goal and 19 assists so far. 

The 21 year-old has already made the MLS All Star team twice and remains in contention for El Tri’s 26-player roster for Qatar. With European teams like Porto and FC Barcelona keeping an eye on the player, this may just well be his last MLS post-season, making it one to take note of.

New York City FC v Inter Miami CF

New York City FC Talles Magno is a figure to watch in the MLS postseason. / Lauren Sopourn/GettyImages

New York City FC has seen its ups and downs this season after coming in as the underdogs during the 2021 MLS Cup campaign and lifting the trophy. But through a sudden coaching change and roster transition, Talles Magno has been a staple for the Eastern Conference side. 

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

And with NYCFC in fourth on the Eastern Conference table, Magno will make for exciting viewing in the post-season.

Jesus Ferreira

Jesus Ferreira stands as the top scorer for FC Dallas. / Omar Vega/GettyImages

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

Ferreira will be crucial for the Texas team as they strive to reach the MLS Cup final on November 5. FC Dallas has never lifted the Cup, coming close in 2019 before losing in the final against the Colorado Rapids. But with the USMNT striker on their side, head coach Nico Estevez predicts the team can make it all the way this year.

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