By Ridge Mahoney
Right-sided attacking players are common in MLS, and it's also common for them to be scattered around spots up top as well as be stationed on the flank.
The 2012 rankings reflect these factors: Many of them worked both sides and were also deployed centrally. Rookies Nick DeLeon and Kelyn Rowe were able to adapt to MLS and earn a lot of playing time despite competition from veteran players as well as the positional switches.
Mauro Rosales (Seattle) and David Beckham (Los Angeles) are not listed here; they were included in the attacking midfielders category previously published.
TOP RIGHT MIDFIELDERS (SA 2012 RANKINGS)
1. Eddie Gaven (Columbus)
2. Marvin Chavez (San Jose)
3. Oscar Boniek Garcia (Houston)
4. Nick DeLeon (D.C. United)
5. Patrick Nyarko (Chicago)
6. Jackson (FC Dallas)
7. Jan Gunnar Solli (New York)
8. Kelyn Rowe (New England)
9. Davy Arnaud (Montreal)
10 Brian Mullan (Colorado)
Eddie Gaven started every game and played all but 70 minutes to set a career high of nine goals for the Crew, which beefed up its attack midseason to take some of the scoring burden off him yet still fell short of the playoffs. He played a variety of attacking positions and did a lot of work off the ball that made space for Jairo Arrieta and Federico Higuain.
Marvin Chavez (3 goals, 13 assists) isn’t a 90-minute man -- he went the distance or lasted until the 80th minute only 14 times – but chalked up those assists via an array of set plays and raking crosses set up by searing runs. Boniek Garcia (4, 6) energized the Dynamo attack by slashing and burning the opposition in an impressive 17-game stint. Rookie of the Year finalist DeLeon (6, 4) flipped sides and pushed through a midseason lull to finish strongly. Nyarko (4, 7) also changed roles yet with some smarts along with that speed caused plenty of danger.
Jackson (4, 7) managed to play only 21 games (18 starts) after coming back from a loan to Cruzeiro; injuries and personal issues have tainted his MLS career yet he is effective nonetheless.
Solli (3, 5) moved up from right back to give some impetus to the Red Bull attack in the absence of Dane Richards. Rowe (3, 5) could only get 21 starts in his rookie season and showed enough savvy and skill to suggest he can flourish in MLS.
The veteran Arnaud (4, 3) had good and mediocre moments for the expansion Impact. Mullan (2, 7), not the force he once was, soldiers on as a rugged veteran should.