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Buddle heads the striker corps
by Ridge Mahoney, December 10th, 2010 2:59AM

TAGS:  mls


[MLS] Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney completes our series on position-by-position rankings for the 2010 season continue as he rates the league's strikers ...

As defined here, a striker – in a two-forward system – plays higher, closer to goal, with a partner using the space underneath. Some teams featured a one-forward alignment, and in those systems – such as the 4-1-4-1 often employed by FC Dallas – a player such as Jeff Cunningham falls under our designation as a striker.

Soccer America's Top 10 MLS strikers for 2010
2. Conor Casey (Colorado)
3. Alvaro Saborio (Real Salt Lake)
4. Juan Pablo Angel (New York)
5. Justin Braun (Chivas USA)
6. Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas)
7. Kei Kamara (Kansas City)
8. Danny Mwanga (Philadelphia)
9. Brian McBride (Chicago)
10. Chad Barrett (Toronto FC)

Edson Buddle scored 17 goals and finished just one goal shy of the Golden Boot – won by San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski – with a variety of finishes: tucking away through balls, putting away crosses with his feet and his head, knifing into the box to shoot first-time. He not only topped his previous best of 15 goals (2008) despite missing five games because of international duty, he also scored those 17 goals on just 43 shots, 27 of which were on target. Nobody else among the top scorers was so efficient, and so productive, with his goal attempts.

Conor Casey narrowly lost the team scoring crown to teammate Omar Cummings, 14 to 13, while knocking defenses askew with his determination and strength. He also netted twice in the playoffs, including one in MLS Cup. Alvaro Saborio notched a dozen goals in his MLS debut season and brought a real sense of menace to the RSL attack. Juan Pablo Angel needed 96 shots to score 13 goals and while still dangerous, sometimes lacked the sharpness of past MLS seasons. Justin Braun scored nine goals with a mixture of persistence and pugnacity.

Jeff Cunningham climbed near the top of the MLS all-time scoring ladder by netting 11 to up his tally in regular-season games to 132, second to Jaime Moreno. Kei Kamara played centrally and on the wing in Kansas City’s attack and picked up six assists to accompany his 10 goals. Rookie Danny Mwanga had to battle for playing time; he started only 14 of 27 games, but got seven goals on just 27 shots, and also registered four assists. Modest stats of six goals in 26 games for McBride in his final pro season; his importance to the Fire and MLS far exceeds those numbers. Chad Barrett gets a lot of stick from TFC fans about wasteful finishing, but seven goals on 32 shots (16 on frame) isn’t a bad return.

2010 Top Goalkeepers

2010 Top Right Backs

2010 Top Central Defenders

2010 Top Right Midfielders

2010 Top Holding and Central Midfielders

2010 Top Left Midfielders

2010 Top Attacking Midfielders

2010 Top Forwards

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