MLS: 1998 SA player ratings leaders

As it has done since the first season, Soccer America rated the performance of each MLS player on a scale of 1-10 (1-low; 10-high) during the regular season. Polish midfielder Peter Nowak led all players with an average rating of 6.63, the highest in MLS history. He was the cog in the Fire machine that won 11 straight midway through the regular season. Not surprisingly, Chicago struggled when he was injured. The Fire finished with a 20-12 record but was just 4-4 when Nowak was out of the lineup. Here is a look at the top performers this season: Note: Average player ratings are based on Soccer America's Weekly Reports during the regular season. Players must have been rated for a minimum of 15 games. For an explanation of the ratings, see the accompanying story in the Hot News section of the site.

Overall

Player/Team Rating
1. Peter Nowak (Chicago) 6.63
2. Marco Etcheverry (D.C. United) 6.45
3. Stern John (Columbus) 6.33
4. Lubos Kubik (Chicago) 6.23
5. Roman Kosecki (Chicago) 6.20
6. Jeff Cassar (Miami) 6.19
7. Eddie Pope (D.C. United) 6.10
8. Mauricio Ramos (Tampa Bay) 6.05
9. Cobi Jones (Los Angeles) 6.04
10. Mark Dodd (Dallas) 6.00
11. Carlos Llamosa (D.C. United) 5.94
12. Diego Serna (Miami) 5.92
13. Joe-Max Moore (New England) 5.90
14. Edwin Gorter (New England) 5.89
15. C.J. Brown (Chicago) 5.86
16. Carlos Valderrama (Miami) 5.84
17. Frankie Hejduk (Tampa Bay) 5.78
18. Tony Meola (MetroStars) 5.742
19. Zach Thornton (Chicago) 5.739
20. Mauricio Cienfuegos (Los Angeles) 5.73

American Players

Player/Team Rating
1. Jeff Cassar (Miami) 6.19
2. Eddie Pope (D.C. United) 6.10
3. Cobi Jones (Los Angeles) 6.04
4. Mark Dodd (Dallas) 6.00
5. Carlos Llamosa (D.C. United) 5.94
6. Joe-Max Moore (New England) 5.90
7. C.J. Brown (Chicago) 5.86
8. Frankie Hejduk (Tampa Bay) 5.78
9. Tony Meola (MetroStars) 5.742
10. Zach Thornton (Chicago) 5.739

Foreign Players

Player/Team Rating
1. Peter Nowak (Chicago) 6.63
2. Marco Etcheverry (D.C. United) 6.45
3. Stern John (Columbus) 6.33
4. Lubos Kubik (Chicago) 6.23
5. Roman Kosecki (Chicago) 6.20
6. Mauricio Ramos (Tampa Bay) 6.05
7. Diego Serna (Miami) 5.92
8. Edwin Gorter (New England) 5.89
9. Carlos Valderrama (Miami) 5.84
10. Mauricio Cienfuegos (Los Angeles) 5.73

Goalkeepers

Player/Team Rating
1. Jeff Cassar (Miami) 6.19
2. Mark Dodd (Dallas) 6.00
3. Tony Meola (MetroStars) 5.742
4. Zach Thornton (Chicago) 5.739
5. Scott Garlick (D.C. United) 5.67
5. Juergen Sommer (Columbus) 5.67
7. Marcus Hahnemann (Colorado) 5.64
8. Ian Feuer (New England) 5.54
9. David Kramer (San Jose) 5.48
10. Kevin Hartman (Los Angeles) 5.41

Defenders

Player/Team Rating
1. Lubos Kubik (Chicago) 6.23
2. Eddie Pope (D.C. United) 6.10
3. Carlos Llamosa (D.C. United) 5.94
4. C.J. Brown (Chicago) 5.86
5. Frankie Hejduk (Tampa Bay) 5.78
6. Thomas Dooley (Columbus) 5.65
7. Robin Fraser (Los Angeles) 5.64
8. Uche Okafor (Kansas City) 5.63
9. Jeff Agoos (D.C. United) 5.60
10. John Doyle (San Jose) 5.56
10. Ansil Elcock (Columbus) 5.56

Midfielders

Player/Team Rating
1. Peter Nowak (Chicago) 6.63
2. Marco Etcheverry (D.C. United) 6.45
3. Roman Kosecki (Chicago) 6.20
4. Mauricio Ramos (Tampa Bay) 6.05
5. Cobi Jones (Los Angeles) 6.04
6. Joe-Max Moore (New England) 5.90
7. Edwin Gorter (New England) 5.89
8. Carlos Valderrama (Miami) 5.84
9. Mauricio Cienfuegos (Los Angeles) 5.73
10. John Harkes (D.C. United) 5.72

Strikers

Player/Team Rating
1. Stern John (Columbus) 6.33
2. Diego Serna (Miami) 5.92
3. Brian McBride (Columbus) 5.63
4. Wolde Harris (Colorado) 5.62
4. Jerzy Podbrozny (Chicago) 5.62
6. Paul Bravo (Colorado) 5.60
6. Alan Prampin (Tampa Bay) 5.60
8. Eric Wynalda (San Jose) 5.56
9. Roy Lassiter (D.C. United) 5.53
10. Dante Washington (Dallas) 5.52
Team-by-team player ratings can be found in the Nov. 9 issue of Soccer America.
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