Duke in the MLS: Ebobisse retains starter position, Stroud cements his place among the professional ranks

Jeremy Ebobisse has started all 28 games he has played in during the 2023 season.
Jeremy Ebobisse has started all 28 games he has played in during the 2023 season.

With Duke's season heating up, several former Blue Devils are racing for the playoffs in the MLS. The Blue Zone breaks down the performances of some key alumni:

Jeremy Ebobisse, San Jose Earthquakes

Ebobisse continues to be one of the most important players on the San Jose roster. In the 2023 season, he started in all of the Earthquakes’ 28 league games. Averaging 88 minutes per game, the Paris native has scored eight goals and dished out three assists for his team, the second-best player in both categories for San Jose. Ebobisse is also a significant contributing factor in the Earthquakes’ playoff bid. The squad is currently on the cusp of a first-round bye in the MLS Final Series, sitting at eighth in the Western Conference. At 26 years of age and plenty of experience on the pitch, Ebobisse has nothing but a bright future ahead of him.

Peter Stroud, New York Red Bulls

The 2022 MAC Hermann Trophy runner-up, Stroud continues to make his way towards the top in the MLS. In his rookie season, the midfielder has already made significant progress, playing in 20 games for his hometown team, the New York Red Bulls. After signing a homegrown contract with the squad in January, Stroud has been slowly improving his game. After joining the team, he only played in four out of the first 11 league contests. Since then, the Chester, N.J., native started eight out of New York’s 16 contests while coming off the bench in the rest. He has an impressive average pass-success rate of 82.6%, the second-highest on his team. As the rookie gradually secures his foothold in the Red Bulls' lineup, his next step should be to use his performances to help his team move up the standings in the Western Conference. With the squad currently ranked 13th, Stroud can use his skills to push the team up to the top nine, securing a spot in the playoffs.

Thorleifur Ulfarsson, Houston Dynamo FC

At 22 years old, Ulfarsson is beginning to take a foothold in the MLS. In 2023, he became a regular substitute for the Houston Dynamos, coming off the bench in 17 league contests and averaging 25 minutes per game. The Kopavogur, Iceland native also started one matchup against the New England Revolution March 4. The 2021 ACC Offensive Player of the Year has put his goal-scoring capabilities to use, tallying three goals and one assist in 18 regular season games, including two goals in the team’s 4-1 win against the San Jose Earthquakes June 21. Looking ahead, the forward should maintain his position as a regular substitute for the Houston squad while looking for opportunities to become a starter. 

Shakur Mohammed, Orlando City

A midfielder on the third-ranked team in the Western Conference, Mohammed has yet to see his first minutes in the big leagues. Despite not having earned a spot on the first team, Mohammed continues to impress in the MLS Next Pro League. The MAC Hermann Trophy semifinalist played in 22 out of 24 games for the Orlando City B team, scoring five goals and providing three assists. As the second overall pick in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft, the Kumasi, Ghana native certainly has the potential to make a statement in the professional world. With practice and patience, Mohammed’s opportunity will come.


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