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)
(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
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
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