SA Positional Rankings: Bradley tops central mids

This is a real catch-all category; many teams changed formations during the season, which for a lot of these players meant different roles and positions. Many were essential connectors between their team’s attacking and defensive elements who also provided needed stability in the center of the park.

They range in experience from veterans such as Toronto FC and U.S. international Michael Bradley to Quakes rookie Fatai Alashe and NASL graduate Kwadwo Poku, who played alongside a few far more illustrious teammates during NYCFC's inaugural season.
SA Positional Rankings: Central midfielders
1. Michael Bradley (Toronto FC)
2. Felipe (NY Red Buls)
3. Darlington Nagbe (Portland)
4. Tony Tchani (Columbus)
5. Juninho (LA Galaxy)
6. Ricardo Clark (Houston)
7. Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas)
8. Fatai Alashe (San Jose)
9. Harry Shipp (Chicago)
10. Kwadwo Poku (New York City)
Bradley played many more good games than bad, but took much of the criticism for TFC’s up-and-down season that yielded its first playoff spot, barely. His five goals and six assists is a fair reflection of his offensive contribution in support of Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco.

Felipe served a vital role in the Red Bulls success by pairing with Dax McCarty to anchor the middle as well as get balls to the front four attackers. The ex-Impact midfielder justified the move by head coach Jesse Marsch to employ him again. Nagbe blossomed once Diego Valeri got his mojo back and head coach Caleb Porter re-tweaked his formation.

Tchani played the warrior role well in the Crew SC midfield, contributing offensively (five goals, six assists) as well as defensively (266 recoveries, 83 tackles, 51 interceptions). Juninho took up much of the attacking slack (five goals, seven assists) when Mika Vayrynen and then Steven Gerrard labored to create chances. Clark doubled his previous best output to eight goals during a frustrating season for the Dynamo.

Acosta started only 19 of his 21 appearances but anchored the middle and contributed some clever, effective link play. Alashe logged a lot of minutes at central mid and centerback in his rookie season while also breaking into the U.S. U-23 team. (He also scored the first Quakes’ goal at Avaya Stadium.)
Shipp notched three goals and eight assists for a bad team while playing wide left, up top, and centrally behind a striker or two. Poku started just six games in a crowded NYCFC midfield yet one of those was a two-goal game against Crew SC; overall he scored four goals and seven assists.

HISTORY. Shalrie Joseph ranks as the most honored central midfielder in MLS history.

SA's Best Central Midfielders
2015 Michael Bradley
2014 Perry Kitchen
2013 Will Johnson
2012 Juninho
2011 Jack Jewsbury
2010 Pablo Mastroeni
2009 Shalrie Joseph
2008 Shalrie Joseph
2007 Shalrie Joseph
2006 Amado Guevara
2005 Shalrie Joseph
2004 Diego Gutierrez
2003 Chris Armas
2002 Mark Chung
2001 Chris Armas
4 comments about "SA Positional Rankings: Bradley tops central mids".
  1. beautiful game, December 24, 2015 at 11:09 a.m.

    Shocking, how Bradley & Felipe are picked 1 & 2. The only player that merits this consideration is Nagbe; the rest are average especially by MLS standards. As for Tchani, the guy walks more than runs, poor soccer IQ, and mediocre at best.

  2. Wooden Ships replied, December 24, 2015 at 11:40 a.m.

    Not sure I w, that the order means a lot. It does provide for opinion/conversation. I don't see a whole lot of MLS, but for the USMNT I'm agreeing with you about Nagbe. Not seeing any weaknesses in his game. All the positional rankings are something to read. Most of the ones are still not US eligible, I think. As pointed out its also tricky to distinguish position with the formation differences. We need to talk about the MLS because its our league, but its all to often bland. With regard to quality forwards/strikers we still struggle with developing them, 10's too. I'd sure like to see Nagbe and fielhaber paired soon, with Morris and Wood up top.

  3. Ric Fonseca replied, December 24, 2015 at 1:17 p.m.

    Senores, colleagues, thank you for your keen insight. That MB was selected as "player of the year" is indeed a joke, and if hadn't been selected then I betcha some beach front property in Arizona, that SA wouldn't have annointed him. Anyhow, FELIZ NAVIDAD Y PROPSERO ANO NUEVO!!!

  4. Edgar Aldana, December 27, 2015 at 2:26 a.m.

    For Bradley to top the scale, I'd say MLS needs to go looking around the world or lower leagues for some real talent.

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