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Galaxy's Franklin is top right back
by Ridge Mahoney, November 30th, 2010 12:28AM
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[MLS] Soccer America's position-by-position rankings for the 2010 season continue as Ridge Mahoney rates the league's top right backs. ...

In ranking the right backs of MLS, players are evaluated for their performances in regular-season and, where applicable, playoff games in 2010.

Most teams regularly utilize a four-man back line and though systems of play and responsibilities vary, outside backs are obligated to keep their corner secure, guard the back post on crosses from the opposite side, distributed the ball intelligently and hit a good cross when presented the opportunity.

Soccer America's Top 10 MLS right backs for 2010
1. SEAN FRANKLIN (LOS ANGELES)
2. Heath Pearce (FC Dallas)
3. Chris Albright (New York)
4. Kosuke Kimura (Colorado)
5. Frankie Hedjuk (Columbus)
6. Kevin Alston (New England)
7. Tim Ward (San Jose)
8. James Riley (Seattle)
9. Mariano Trujillo (Chivas USA)
10. Dan Gargan (Toronto FC)

In his third pro season, Franklin has matured from the speedy, somewhat erratic 2008 Rookie of the Year. Though still prone to the occasional positional error, his passing (six assists) and judgment (only 14 fouls committed, just one caution) have improved significantly. He also took a few shifts in midfield when the Galaxy needed more push up the wings.

Pearce came to MLS after wearing out his European options and quickly established himself as a reliable, skilled defender also capable of playing defensive mid. Albright struggled through the final phase of a long injury setback to gain a starting spot for New York, which benefited greatly from his crossing ability and defensive strength. Kimura’s limitless energy and warrior spirit played a vital role in the Rapids’ title run. Hejduk struggled through a down year for him of increased errors and not finishing games as strongly.

Alston battled the sophomore slump as the Revs missed the playoffs for the first time in nearly a decade, Ward played six games for the Fire before playing both corners solidly for the Quakes. Riley has his good facets but was also takes up shaky starting points at times. Trujillo and Gargan played reasonably well for inconsistent teams.






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