The 25 Best MLS Players Heading into 2014 Season
Best 25 Players at the Start of the 2014 MLS Season
MLS is a young league, but it is slowly catching up with the best leagues in the world. The quality of its players is increasing thanks to its effort in developing its young talent. Programs like Generation Adidas and all the clubs respective academy programs really help in this process. It gives young players something to strive for. People used to think of MLS as a "retirement league," but that is slowly coming to an end.
The Designated Player (DP) rule really lent a hand in the expansion of the league. The DP rule allows clubs to spend more money to acquire three top players. These players do not carry the club, but lend a hand in their talent and mentoring of other players. It is also really great to see some of the US National Team players return — or stay — in the league with DP contracts. One of the best things that can happen for the MLS is for its talent to stay in the continent to play instead of heading elsewhere.
There are currently over 600 players in the MLS. It's really hard to narrow down the absolute 25 best players. Some clubs rarely face each other and to properly compare players, it's a little harder because they don't face each other often. I tried my best, and included at least one player from almost every club. People are going to disagree with my list, which is expected. Not everyone is going to rate players the same. Let me know what you think. Who did I leave out that you'd have on your list?
25. Eric Hassli
Hassli is a forward for FC Dallas. Dallas is not being left behind as much as it used to, and Hassli lends a hand in that. He's a great asset to the club and keeps defenders at bay.
24. Brad Davis
Davis is a midfielder for Houston Dynamo. It is no secret that the Dynamo are a good club. They always reach the playoffs, and Davis is one of the reasons.
23. Darlington Nagbe
Nagbe is a midfielder for the Portland Timbers. It may not be the best club in the MLS, but it does have great players; Nagbe is one of them.
22. Federico Higuain
Higuain is a forward for Columbus Crew. Higuain was signed as a DP for the club and is a great asset.
21. Tally Hall
Hall is the goalkeeper for Houston Dynamo. The club keeps him working hard, because it often makes it to the playoffs. Of course, a lot of that is due to Hall's incredible saves. He does not make opposing forwards' jobs easy.
20. Darren Mattocks
Mattocks is a forward for Vancouver Whitecaps. He joined the Whitecaps in 2012 and was called up to the Jamaican National Team in the same year. He is a great asset to both club and country.
19. Dan Kennedy
Kennedy is the goalkeeper for Chivas USA. Chivas may not be one of the better clubs in the MLS, but Kennedy is definitely one of the better goalkeepers. Who knows where Chivas would be without him.
18. Obafemi Martins
Martins is a forward for Seattle Sounders. He is a DP for the club and is well deserving of it. He's an amazing forward who helps keep the Sounders at the top of their game.
17. Dwayne De Rosario
De Rosario is a midfielder for Toronto FC. He was recently let go by DC United and will most likely finish his career at Toronto -- and what a career it has been. He will go out a legend.
16. Diego Fagundez
Fagundez is the 19-year-old forward for New England Revolution. He is one of the youngest players in the league who is regularly on the first team. He is a great player and will only get better with age. Hopefully the MLS can keep him playing here.
15. Maurice Edu
Edu is a midfielder for Philadelphia Union. He was recently signed as DP, but is on loan from Stoke City. Everyone is excited to Edu back in the MLS, because he's such a great player.
14. Sean Franklin
Franklin is a defender for DC United. Franklin was recently released from Los Angeles Galaxy due to salary cap issues. There is no denying that he is a powerful defender. He was a solid starter for the Galaxy, and I expect him to be the same for United.
13. Jermain Defoe
Defoe will be a forward for Toronto FC. He was recently signed as DP and is a fantastic player the MLS is looking forward to have.
12. Nick Rimando
Rimando is the goalkeeper for Real Salt Lake. He is such a great goalkeeper for his club, and he also is a goalkeeper to the US National Team. He's a powerful asset to his club.
11. Clint Dempsey
Dempsey is a midfielder for Seattle Sounders. Dempsey signed as a DP and was one of the highest paid players. He has the skill to backup the paycheck and is the aggressive player that clubs need.
10. Tim Cahill
Cahill is a midfielder for New York Red Bulls. When the Red Bulls signed him as a DP it made headlines for good reason. He made the perfect partnership for its attacking position and instantly started making goals.
9. Kyle Beckerman
Beckerman is a midfielder for Real Salt Lake. He is US National Team member who plays passionately for both club and country. His skill definitely does not go unnoticed.
8. Landon Donovan
Donovan is a forward for Los Angeles Galaxy. He was signed for as a DP several years ago and has yet to really disappoint Galaxy. He did take a break last year, and it took him a while to return to form, but he's now back to his normal skill.
7. Graham Zusi
Zusi is a midfielder for Sporting Kansas City. Kansas City won the MLS Cup last season and Zusi was part of the reason. Between his club and his country, he is unstoppable.
6. Omar Gonzalez
Gonzalez is a defender for LA Galaxy. He was recently signed as a DP with the club; he's a great defender, and the only way to keep him on Galaxy was the DP contract. He's also doing well with the US National Team, and he will probably be playing during the World Cup.
5. Chris Wondolowski
Wondolowski is a forward for San Jose Earthquakes. He was signed as San Jose's first DP, and he never disappoints. He recently began being called up to the US National Team and is already making a difference.
4. Marco Di Vaio
Di Vaio is a forward for Montreal Impact. He is a DP for Montreal and was a runner-up for last year's MLS MVP Award.
3. Michael Bradley
Bradley will be a midfielder for Toronto FC. Over the offseason Toronto made use of its time and signed many new players to its club. Bradley was signed on as a DP after finishing his time at AS Roma. He is a great player who often plays for the US Nation Team and many are looking forward to having him in the MLS once again.
2. Robbie Keane
Keane is a forward for Los Angeles Galaxy; he is the captain and a DP for the club. Keane was close to winning MLS MVP last year, but this year will be different. He's one of the greatest forwards and a great leader. After using the extended offseason to have surgery, injuries will no longer hold him back; he will take on the season with full force.
1. Mike Magee
Magee is a forward Chicago Fire; he was traded to the fire just last season, and he is already making a great impact on the club. He won the MLS MVP Award last year, and I'm sure he's ready to take this season on headstrong. He is a tough opponent for all defenders out there.