SA Positional Rankings: Feilhaber is top attacking mid

In MLS, not many teams use a traditional No. 10 who orchestrates primarily in the middle of the field, yet it’s usually clear through whom the attack is supposed to flow if such a player is deployed.

As the league has evolved and allowed teams more money to spend while increasing the amount of international-player slots, the pool of playmakers has grown.

They sometimes start from wide positions rather than centrally and at times slide into the front line to operate as would a forward, but they are the primary midfield catalysts in whichever system they are used.

This category excludes attackers such as league MVP Sebastian Giovinco and others who were ranked as forwards, and Brad Davis, who is listed among the left midfielders.

2015 Soccer America Positional Rankings:
1. Benny Feilhaber (Sporting KC)
2. Sacha Kljestan (New York)
3. Diego Valeri (Portland)
4. Cristian Maidana (Philadelphia)
5. Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake)
6. Federico Higuain (Columbus)
7. Mauro Diaz (FC Dallas)
8. Ignacio Piatti (Montreal)
9. Lee Nguyen (New England)
10. Kaka (Orlando City)
Only Giovinco logged more assists than the 15 compiled by Feilhaber, whose increased defensive contributions along with savvy attacking prowess has impressed everyone except U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. Feilhaber scored 10 goals and got in 2.5 tackles per game, tops among players at his position, according to

Kljestan also impressed without earning a U.S. recall, registering 14 assists and scoring eight goals. According to, he was second in key passes with 80. Valeri returned from a torn ACL in May and needed a few months to regain his form, then logged four assists in the playoffs and scored that stunning goal just 27 seconds into the MLS Cup final. Maidana racked up 15 assists for Philly, which ranked last among Eastern Conference teams with 42 goals scored.

In a poor season for RSL, Morales still registered a dozen assists in 26 games, thus hitting double-digits for a third straight year. Higuain did a lot of the approach work that enabled Kei Kamara and Ethan Finlay to combine for 34 goals though he only notched nine assists.

Diaz played a major part in FCD’s ascension to the regular-season conference title by scoring eight goals and leading the team with 10 assists in only 24 games. Piatti altered his role a few times due to injuries and the midseason arrival of Didier Drogba as he posted solid stats of nine goals and eight assists.

Nguyen led the Revs with 10 assists and scored seven goals while being deployed in several different attacking slots. Kaka started his MLS career brilliantly on and off the field but as he faded so did the Lions.

HISTORY BOOK. Dwayne De Rosario and Preki lead all attacking midfielders with three citations each as MLS's best attacking midfielder in Soccer America's 20 years of MLS positional ranking.

Best Attacking Midfielders
2015 Benny Feilhaber
2014 Lee Nguyen
2013 Javier Morales
2012 Graham Zusi
2011 Dwayne De Rosario
2010 Sebastien Le Toux
2009 Dwayne De Rosario
2008 Javier Morales
2007 Steve Ralston
2006 Christian Gomez
2005 Dwayne De Rosario
2004 Amado Guevara
2003 Preki
2002 Andy Williams
2001 Preki
2000 Peter Nowak
1999 Jaime Moreno
1998 Marco Etcheverry
1997 Preki
1996 Marco Etcheverry

4 comments about "SA Positional Rankings: Feilhaber is top attacking mid".
  1. beautiful game, December 21, 2015 at 12:47 p.m.

    Except for a handful mentioned, these guys can't score. The best were Etcheverry, Novak, Preki, and DeRosario.

  2. Wooden Ships replied, December 21, 2015 at 2:03 p.m.

    I w, those four were sure fun to watch, especially Marco. For me the #10 needs to be able to score, but more importantly he needs to be able to orchestrate-maestro the flow/rhythm of play. To do that you have to have the most touches, the best control and the best vision and the finest passing. Ramos and Reyna have come the closest. I don't know the personality of Feilhaber and why he isn't our USMNT. For the past 3 years and for the next 4 or 5. In the few games I've seen him play, he seems clearly head and shoulders above anyone else. Dare I say, nearly world class. Are my observations incorrect, is it the style of play JK is going for? In his day Lothar was indispensable.

  3. Zoe Willet replied, December 21, 2015 at 5:47 p.m.

    So does that mean Klinsmann will finally call up Feinhalber? I mean , he even has a German name and everything !

  4. Allan Lindh, December 23, 2015 at 1:16 a.m.

    I believe at one point Feinhalber could have chosen to play for Austria. Now he's probably sorry he didn't take the chance.

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