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Top 11 best players playing in MLS 2023

Published at :March 6, 2023 at 3:25 AM
Modified at :March 6, 2023 at 3:25 AM
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Subham Mukherjee

These are currently the top footballers in the American football league.

Major League Soccer has been home to some of the biggest talents to ever play in world football. From Zlatan Ibrahimovic to Wayne Rooney, many players over the years have reached this part of the world and showcased their class. As the Major League Soccer 2023 kicks off with yet another season of promising talents and exceptional matches we cannot help but look forward to some of the brightest talents gracing American football. Let’s have a look at the top 11 players to feature in Major League Soccer in the 2023 season:

11. Sebastian Driussi (Austin FC)

Though he has the skills to operate as a winger or play as a No. 10, he's also not a textbook fit at either of these positions. The ideal situation would see him running off a strong lead striker as the freer-to-roam support forward. Often playing as a link-up forward at Zenit St. Petersburg where he made his name, he's always eager to close down an opposing ball carrier regardless of field locale, which makes him a pressure weapon. He has been the focal point of a target for Austin FC since his arrival in 2022 and he just signed another three-year contract with them keeping him at the club till the end of 2025. He became the first player to score 10 goals for Austin FC in August 2022 and has contributed a total of 28 goals in 52 appearances for the faithful at Q2 Stadium.

10. Evander (Portland Timbers)

A young Brazilian prospect, he is an attacking midfielder that attracted the likes of Real Madrid and Barcelona when he was just 20 years of age. But he decided to move to Midtjylland in the Danish Superliga in 2018, where his true potential was recognized. He is a versatile central midfield player who spends most of his time in the opposition half trying to break up the opponent’s game. If you follow his heat map, you will recognize that his only tendency is to play the ball forward into pockets of space and exploit any defensive mistake by the opponent. He was a part of the squad that won the Danish Superliga in 2019 and he scored 39 times in 123 appearances for the Danish club. His arrival in Portland Timbers at the end of December 2022 has risen the eyes of many and is a bright prospect for the MLS.

9. Talles Magno (New York City FC)

A well-rounded forward, with notable tactical intelligence and versatility, capable of playing anywhere along the front line, as a striker, in a supporting role, and on the wing, he has been impressive since he signed for New York City FC from his parent club Vasco Da Gama. Relatively early days in his career, he was included in The Guardian’s “Next Generation 2019”. He is best suited as a left winger in a 4-3-3 formation as he likes to dribble, and knows how to use his body to shield the ball from defenders thanks to his technique, cleverness and ball control. He signed for New York City FC back in 2021 and has been among the top names in MLS by scoring 9 times out of 49 appearances for The Pigeons.

8. Cucho Hernandez (Columbus Crews)

El Cucho has demonstrated enthusiastic efforts in multiple attacking positions over the past few years, displaying his versatility. Primarily a striker, Hernandez also makes a great winger with the ability to catch players out in the middle of the box. The Colombian target man still has a long way to go before his true potential becomes everyday talk, but his versatility is undoubtedly an encouraging sign of his positive development. Already a proven prospect with Mallorca FC and Watford, he signed for Columbus Crew as a Young Designated Player in the summer of 2022. He became the first player in MLS history to score four goals in under 90 minutes of his game time for the Crews. Since then, he has made 17 appearances and is a top target for renowned clubs around Europe.

7. Thiago Almada (Atlanta United)

Almada has enjoyed a statement season in Atlanta, scoring six goals in 29 MLS appearances during the 2022 season as an attacking midfielder/winger. He kickstarted the 2023 campaign by scoring two free-kick goals against San Jose Earthquakes and is proving his worth yet again. The 21-year-old has also shown his versatility by filling a deeper midfield role, something that Argentina boss Lionel Scaloni may have based his decision around. 2022 FIFA World Cup winner with Argentina, he was a member of the squad that lifted the trophy in Qatar. He was taken in the team in place of injured Joaquin Correa and is the only player in MLS to ever won a World Cup medal. Standing at just 21 years of age, his potential is unfathomable and is a huge prospect for La Albiceleste in future.

6. Federico Bernardeschi (Toronto FC)

He is recognized for his pace, strength, work rate, technical quality on the ball, eye for a pass and wand of a left foot. He quickly became one of Italy’s most exciting and prolific talents after his performances at Fiorentina early on in his career. On a successful tenure with Juventus, he won three League titles with the Old Lady and scored 8 times in 134 appearances for the giants from Turin. Primarily a right winger, he can also play as an attacking midfielder which bolsters his performances. Upon the completion of his contract with Juventus in 2022, he signed for Toronto FC to reunite with his Italian teammates Domenico Criscito and Lorenzo Insigne. He has scored 9 times in 14 appearances and is termed an assist king at BMO Field.

5. Riqui Puig (LA Galaxy)

In Barcelona, Puig played as a dual No. 8 in a 4-3-3 formation. He reprised a similar role last year in MLS while bossing the midfield for LA Galaxy. In possession, he had the freedom to roam and find the game for LA, but he almost always drifted towards the left side of central midfield. A product of La Masia, he has drawn comparisons with Andres Iniesta because of his ability to control the motion of the game. He averages more than 75 passes per 90 minutes and no other player has achieved such a higher completion rate since his arrival in the MLS in 2022. He led the team to the 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs, where they were eliminated in the Western Conference Semifinals. He has scored 3 times in 10 appearances for LA Galaxy.

4. Gareth Bale (Los Angeles FC)

He is predominantly known for his speed, strength, stamina, and heading ability but is also a great dribbler. Bale was one of the fastest players during his 20s. His speed allowed him to get past defenders with his acceleration and physicality. An underrated playmaker, he is most notably known for his performances at Tottenham Hotspur and Real Madrid. Regarded as the greatest Welsh player of all time, he was named Premier League Player of the season in 2013. UEFA Champions League winner with Real Madrid on four occasions, he scored a brace against Liverpool in the final in 2018 to give the Los Blancos their 13th Champions League title. Though he has retired from International football, he signed for Los Angeles FC in 2022 and has made 12 appearances for the club in which he scored 2 times.

3. Lorenzo Insigne (Toronto FC)

Insigne is capable of playing on either flank, or through the centre, but is usually deployed as a left winger. He is known in particular for his creativity, short height, speed and technical ability, as well as his accuracy from free-kicks.  A vital part of Italy’s winning squad in Euro 2020, he is a legend of the Neapolitan club, Napoli in Serie A. He scored a mammoth 96 times in his 12-year spell at Napoli. Although his preferred role is on the left flank, he is a hard-working, tactically intelligent, and versatile forward, capable of playing in any offensive position on either side of the pitch; he is also known for his defensive contribution and ability to cover a lot of ground during matches, in addition to his offensive capabilities. On 8 January 2022, he signed for Toronto FC for a record fee of $15 million, making him the highest-paid player in MLS. Since then, he has made 12 appearances for Toronto FC and netted 6 times.

2. Hany Mukhtar (Nashville SC)

Scoring 23 goals last season for Nashville SC, he was the top scorer in MLS in 2022. This displays the two-footed nature of his style of play which can make him an unstoppable force when running at players. Also having the accolade of scoring the fastest hat-trick in MLS history against Chicago Fire FC, he registered 11 assists throughout the last campaign which makes him immaculate in the league. He earned 48% of the total votes making him the 2022 Landon Donovan MLS MVP. He has been involved in almost everything upfront for Nashville FC and has scored 43 times in 80 appearances for the NSC.

1. Carlos Vela (Los Angeles FC)

Described as a versatile player who can play as a forward, winger, and attacking midfielder, he is known for being a creative player and prolific scorer. Probably the best and the most consistent player that MLS has ever witnessed, the former Mexican International is currently the captain of Los Angeles FC. After having brief spells at Arsenal and West Bromwich Albion, he is also a renowned public figure at The San Mames in Real Sociedad for whom he made 184 appearances and scored 54 goals. MLS Golden boot winner in 2019, and MLS player of the month on several occasions, he is often praised by the great Arsene Wenger for his technique and vision. He also won the FIFA U-17 World Championship with Mexico back in 2005. A legend of MLS by now, he has to be on the top of the list as he has been a veteran in this league since 2018.