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Best Players in Major League Soccer (MLS) in 2012
Best MLS Players in 2012
Major League Soccer (MLS) contains a wide variety of players representing many parts of the world. While the MLS does not have the same level of star power as some other leagues in Europe, it does have its fair share of top soccer players worth recognizing. Recently, the MLS All-stars even beat Chelsea FC.
Each year the MLS seems to gather more and more world class players. Clubs like the LA Galaxy and New York Red Bulls are not afraid to spend the big bucks to attract star players. Other teams sometimes take different routes opting to develop talent from within.or scout younger players across the continent. No matter the means, the MLS has grown increasingly popular and more top level players are playing their trade here than ever before.
This article contains a collection of some of the best or most talented soccer players in the MLS in 2012 based on statistics and performance over the course of the last season.
If you think any other players should be included that aren’t, mention them in the comments!
Chris Wondolowski - San Jose Earthquakes
Goals this season - 27
Chris Wondolowski leads in this list of best players in the MLS because of his insatiable goal scoring ability. Time after time he is in the right place at the right time to get a goal. In the 2011 season Chris Wondolowski tied another player for most goals in the MLS season with 16. In the 2012 MLS season, he has scored an amazing 27 goals. His high rate of goals earned him a call up to the US Men’s National Team by coach Jurgen Klinsmann.
While Wondolowski did not break the single season goal scoring record from 1996 held by Roy Lassiter, he did tie it and won the 2012 MLS Golden Boot Award.
Kenny Cooper - New York Red Bulls
Goals this season - 18
Upon being traded to the New York Red Bulls from Portland, Kenny Cooper started this season off with a string of goals that put him up near the top of the goal-scoring list for a good part of the season. He has continued to score as the season progresses despite fighting for playing time with the likes of Thierry Henry and Sébastien Le Toux in the lineup. He finished the 2012 MLS season second place in the goal scoring list at 18. In past seasons this would have been enough to get the golden boot, but Wondolowski was unstoppable this season.
A few years back Kenny Cooper suffered a serious leg injury that kept him from playing for over a year. But he has bounced back with unteachable scoring ability.
Landon Donovan - LA Galaxy
Goals this season - 9
Assists this season - 14
On a star studded team like the LA Galaxy, Landon Donovan still stands out. During his lengthy MLS career Donovan has earned a number of awards, including the Golden Boot in 2008. He is a continuous goal scorer, and also a leader in assists, with 14 in this season. Landon Donovan has also had a major presence on the USMNT for many years and has nearly 50 goals in international games.
The 2012 season has seen some struggles by the US star as he faced several injuries that kept him from playing for several games. Let's hope he returns in 2013 healthy and in top form.
Thierry Henry - New York Red Bulls
Goals this season - 15
Not much needs to be said about Thierry Henry. He has incredible talent and goal scoring ability as he has shown both in the MLS and in past seasons at Arsenal. In the 2011 season Henry scored 14 goals, just a few off from getting the golden boot. Now he has 15 goals in the 2012 season even though he has missed a handful of games due to injury. Some might say Thierry Henry is getting old, but he still plays soccer better than most in the world, including those in Europe.
Dwayne De Rosario - Free Kick
Dwayne De Rosario - DC United
Goals this season - 7
Assists this season - 12
Dwayne De Rosario was the 2011 MLS season’s joint top scorer with 16 goals. Although he has moved from team to team in the last few seasons, he scores goals no matter where he is. This season Dwayne De Rosario is piling up assists for DC United. Over his multiple seasons in the MLS, Dwayne De Rosario has been on several MLS All-Star teams, and has scored some unforgettable goals.
Unfortunately De Rosario sustained an injury towards the end of the 2012 season that has sidelined him for the playoffs. He will certainly be back next season looking for more goals and assists at DC United.
Robbie Keane - LA Galaxy
Goals this season - 16
Enjoying his first season in the MLS, Robbie Keane brings experience and world class talent with him wherever he goes. Notching 16 goals after a slow start, Robbie Keane is vying for the MLS Golden Boot. He plays alongside David Beckham and Landon Donovan on the LA Galaxy who are trying hard to defend their MLS Title.
David Beckham MLS Highlight Reel
David Beckham - LA Galaxy
Goals this season - 7
Assists this season - 9
On a similar note as Henry, not much needs to be said about David Beckham. He has had an impressive career with top clubs around the world such as Manchester United and Real Madrid. While some think he has become too old, he has continued to score amazing goals and provide valuable assists to his LA Galaxy teammates. There are few players better in the world on a freekick or set-piece. Each season in the MLS he has scored several world class goals (see video). In 2011, David Beckham was a driving force behind the Galaxy’s trip to MLS champions. With 7 goals and 9 assists, this season has been his most productive in the MLS, David Beckham is not slowing down.
Brad Davis - Houston Dynamo
Assists this season - 12
I think it can be said that Brad Davis is an assist king. He had the most assists in 2011, beating David Beckham by 1 at 16, and finished the 2012 season with 12. He rivals Beckham’s set piece ability and provides perfect service to his teammates on the Houston Dynamo.
Graham Zusi – Sporting KC
Assists this season - 15
Drafted into the MLS only a few seasons ago, Graham Zusi is one of a handful of impressive young American players who will be taking over responsibilities with the USMNT in the next few years. He has already played in several games under US Coach Jurgen Klinsmann and his future is bright.
In the MLS he plays for Sporting KC and finished the season with a league leading 15 assists. His team, Kansas City, also finished top of the Eastern Conference in 2012 and will hop[e to lift the MLS cup.
Best Goalkeepers in the MLS in 2012
As a goalkeeper myself, I find it necessary to mention the invaluable shot stoppers on the back line. The MLS has been the home for many world class goalkeepers in past seasons, and this season includes quite a few. Some of the top Goalkeepers in the MLS include:
- Michael Gspurning - Team: Seattle Sounders
- Andy Gruenebaum - Team: Columbus Crew
- Donovan Ricketts – Team: Portland Timbers
- Jimmy Nielsen – Team: Sporting KC
- Joe Cannon – Team: Vancouver Whitecaps
- Milos Kocic – Team: Toronto FC
- Nick Rimando – Team: Real Salt Lake
- Kevin Hartman – Team: FC Dallas
- Zac MacMath – Team: Philadelphia Union
- Bill Hamid – Team: DC United
Many of these goalkeepers have proven themselves over multiple seasons in the MLS while some, like Bill Hamid and Zac MacMath are young, up-and-coming players. These ‘keepers prove themselves each week as they make impressive saves.
More Top Players in the MLS
There are many other top players in the MLS worthy of mention, listed below.
- Alvaro Saborio
- Eddie Johnson
- Freddy Adu
- Torsten Frings
- Danny Koevermans
- Will Bruin
- Chris Pontius
- Kei Kamara
- Kris Boyd
- Marco Pappa
Any players you think I missed? Leave a comment with your thoughts and players you think should be included.