The dictionary describes the word prolific as “characterized by abundant production”, and in the game of soccer prolific athletes are crucial to success. Since 1993, MLS has thrived on these dynamic players that can lead a team to championship status by their prolific abilities. Unlike other leagues, MLS is progressive and continues to add franchises to the sport, this gives special players an opportunity to build the foundation of an entire organization. Leagues in Europe generally have a variety of high priced players feeding in and out of clubs and it is rare to select one player who defines an organization from top to bottom. These are not just the “designated players” in MLS, these are the men who define their club and would be your first signing choice if you were a new manager in the league. This isn’t a list of top scorers, playmakers, or designated players; this is a list of the guys with the “it” factor, and the ones you would want to be the face of your franchise.
Top 10 Most Prolific Players in MLS (Players you would start a franchise with)
10.Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA): After returning to MLS in 2008, Kennedy quickly became one of the most exciting keepers in the league. Although his club has struggled, Kennedy is typically the only Goat shown on the highlight real with his finger tips saves and fiery energy on the pitch.
9. Jay DeMerit (Vancouver Whitecaps): The former US National defender returned to North America after a long European spell and has solidified his name as one of the greatest American defenders in history. His intensity on the pitch and calm demeanor in the locker room make him a player, fan, and media favorite. DeMerit understands hard work and what it takes to be a successful professional at any level of the game.
8. Mauro Rosales (Seattle Sounders): The Argentine came to the US last summer for the Seattle Sounders and immediately made an impact as a playmaking midfielder. Rosales secured the captain’s armband in 2012, a testament to his leadership on and off the pitch. Rosales ability on the set piece, ball-handling, and passing skills can make even the most frustrated strikers into scoring machines (ask Eddie Johnson)
7. Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquake): The 29 year old hasn’t always been a household name in MLS, and was once a struggling journeyman looking for a chance to shine. Since arriving in California, Wondo has scored 54 goals and is on pace to set the season goal record for MLS. Hard work, dedication, and patience has brought Wondolowski to superstar status and his keen eye for the net makes him a perfect fit for any offensive struggling club.
6. Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls): I might receive criticism for this choice based on Henry’s questionable attitude, but you can’t overstate his impact on the league and his club since coming to New York in 2010. Although the Frenchman has struggled with injuries in America, his 26 goals in 51 appearances for Red Bulls has brought the club to the longest winning stretch in their franchise history. Henry might not be a “grind it out” player, but his moments of brilliance on the pitch cannot be reenacted by any player on earth.
5. David Beckham (LA Galaxy): The “Beckham Experiment” may have struggled during it’s inception, but last season’s MLS Cup winners LA Galaxy wouldn’t give up the Englishman for anything. He continues to still be the best free-kick taker in the world and his reputation has brought other global stars to American shores. Beckham was a risk, but his new loyalty to MLS and American soccer makes him one of the greatest sporting investments ever.
4. Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake): The defensive midfielder’s career has never left MLS or the rocky mountains for that matter. His impact on the league is more than just the dreadlocks; Beckerman is a leader on and off the pitch. His signature look and playing style have turned him into an MLS icon including leading one of the greatest franchises to an MLS Cup in 2009. He may not be known for goal scoring, but when he does hit the back of the net, it usually is at a crucial moment.
3. Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo): The two-time MLS Cup winner may not be the most exciting player on the field but he is an invaluable force both defensively and offensively. Since arriving to Houston in 2006, Davis has quickly asserted himself as the leader, controlling the pace of the game with smart decisions in the midfield. His presence has been crucial to Houston, in evidence last season when Davis was injury as Houston struggled in midfield control during the MLS Cup versus LA.
2. Dwayne DeRosario (DC United): Like Beckerman, the Canadian goal scorer has been a staple in MLS lore. With four MLS Cups, two MLS Cup MVPs, two Canadian Championships, Gold Cup Winner, and last year’s MLS MVP, DeRosario has more hardware than any North American player in MLS. DeRosario has scored 98 goals with five different clubs, impacting the squad on the field each and every stop. After moving to DC United mid-season in 2011, DeRosario scored 18 goals in 36 games and brought the club from last place to competing for a playoff spot. DeRosario is one of the best MLS products ever, both on and off the field.
1. Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy): Arguably the greatest American soccer player of all-time, Donovan will go down in history as the face of building MLS into the league it is today. Other than a few spells at Everton, since 2001 Landon Donovan has been a loyal and dedicated superstar to MLS growth. From his rambunctious youth to his dominating prime, Donovan’s creativity on offensive and hard work on defense has made him beloved by fans and media alike. Even the EPL faithful quickly fell in love with the American’s intensity and clutch goal scoring, showing the positive results Donovan can provide. His resume is self-explanatory, no other MLS player has captured the minds, hearts, and attention of the world like Landon Donovan.
Agree or Disagree? Leave a comment and tell us who you think is an MLS prolific player.