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Dallas man takes tops at right mid
by Ridge Mahoney, December 3rd, 2010 12:36AM



[MLS] Soccer America's position-by-position rankings for the 2010 season continue as Ridge Mahoney rates the league's top right midfielders.

Occasionally players who shuffle between positions have to be pigeon-holed into one or another for the purposes of these rankings, and the 2010 poster boy for this dilemma is Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski. He played mostly up top for the first two-thirds of the season, then shifted to right mid for the balance of the season, though at times during the game he’d be moved up top. He’s been categorized as a forward for these rankings, but other players who toggled between this position and forward, such as Patrick Nyarko, are included among the right mids.

Soccer America's Top 10 MLS right midfielders for 2010
2. Patrick Nyarko (Chicago)
3. Dane Richards (New York)
4. Andy Williams (Real Salt Lake)
5. Eddie Gaven (Columbus)
6. Andy Najar (D.C. United)
7. Sanna Nyassi (Seattle)
8. Roger Torres (Philadelphia)
9. Sainey Nyassi (New England)
10. Arturo Alvarez (San Jose)

Atiba Harris ended the season playing up top, a tactical shift utilized by FC Dallas coach Schellas Hyndman. At right mid, his strength and stamina wears down opponents, and his modest numbers (four goals, two assists) belie his ability to draw defenders and open up space for the other attackers, notably David Ferreira and Jeff Cunningham.

Patrick Nyarko’s electrifying pace and increased savvy enabled him to finish among the league leaders with 10 assists. His nose for the net (one goal on 27 shots) needs improving. Dane Richards made more good decisions on the ball and used his pace more shrewdly than in past seasons; he finished with five goals and three assists. Andy Williams floats a bit in RSL’s diamond midfield and he managed to start all 30 games while scoring one goal and registering seven assists. Eddie Gaven played centrally as well as outside while scoring three goals and contributing five assists.

Andy Najar
’s audacity and talent sometimes defy belief. He can be a really good one, and perhaps relatively soon. Sanna Nyassi flattened out in the playoffs after notching two goals and three assists, yet his threatening runs contributed significantly to Seattle’s strong second half of the season. Roger Torres, just 18, notched six assists in a very hit-or-miss season. Like his brother, Sainey Nyassi enjoyed some success and endured a few frustrating periods. Arturo Alvarez flip-flopped between the flanks for San Jose but aside from the occasional thrilling run and spectacular goal, remains more potential than production.

  1. John Burns
    commented on: December 3, 2010 at 10:58 a.m.
    The amazing thing about Arturo Alvarez is the fact he has yet to discover that he has two feet. The left one is very well developed and serves him quite well, at times even in spectacular fashion. Unfortunately, the right one appears to just go along for the ride to sort of keep him from falling over. Since he has been in the league for a few years now, it is a curious thought why some coach has not pointed this out to him.
  1. Phil Love
    commented on: December 7, 2010 at 8:34 a.m.
    Atiba Harris #1???? Wow, this says a lot for the lack of quality at this position in MLS. Harris' great value to FCD was demonstrated by FCD leaving him unprotected in the expansion draft. Harris is occasionally useful in holding up the ball with his back to the goal (see the playoff game vs. Galaxy, his best of the year). Typically, Harris loafs about the midfield making poor first touches to lose the ball. If he finds himself in scoring position, he does well if his shot ends up in the same area code as the goal. Feh!

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