[MLS] Soccer America's position-by-position rankings for the 2010 season continue as Ridge Mahoney rates the league's top left backs.
The left-back position resembled a dead zone for many teams this season; they couldn’t seem to find consistently capable options. MLS Cup champion Colorado wasn’t immune; it used several players in that slot during the season and so did a few other teams.
Here’s our assessment of the top left backs in 2010, taking into consideration their performances in regular-season games and playoffs, where applicable.
Soccer America's Top 10 MLS left backs for 2010
1. JONATHAN BORNSTEIN (CHIVAS USA)
2. Jair Benitez (FC Dallas)
3. Chris Wingert (Real Salt Lake)
4. Todd Dunivant (Los Angeles)
5. Roy Miller (New York)
6. Leo Gonzalez (Seattle)
7. Ramiro Corrales (San Jose)
8. Michael Harrington (Kansas City)
9. Mike Chabala (Houston)
10. Jordan Harvey (Philadelphia)
Tasked with a lot of extra duty this season, including the World Cup, Jonathan Bornstein played centrally as well as on the left as Chivas USA tried to sort out its problems. He missed a lot of time (21 games, 17 starts), which certainly contributed to Chivas USA’s poor season and the dismissal of Coach Martin Vasquez. His energy, drive and poise earned him a transfer to Mexican club UNAL Tigres, he might be more dangerous offensively in Mexico.
Jair Benitez would play left mid for a lot of teams, so sharp is he attacking up the left flank and serving balls into the box. He does his defensive work, too, aided by good speed and deceptive strength. Other players take the publicity at Real Salt Lake, but Chris Wingert has been a vital contributor the past three seasons.
Todd Dunivant is one of the league’s reliables: capable defensively, good left foot, solid tackler, long throw-in. Roy Miller is not as physical as Benitez but keeps his corner secure and plays effective balls up the flank.
Leo Gonzalez commits more fouls (40) than maybe he should but can be very tough to beat. Ramiro Corrales played well when healthy, he missed 10 games and often gave way to Bobby Convey. Michael Harrington also played midfield and is one of the more aggressive outside backs in the league. His recovery speed is remarkable. Mike Chabala took over the starting job when Wade Barrett retired to become an assistant coach; he hit some rough spells. Jordan Harvey is extremely quick and could be an important cog as the Union goes forward from its expansion season.