MLS Positional Rankings (Left Midfielders/Wingers): Piatti leads the pack in goals and presence

As more teams playing with wingers in three-forward alignments, the role of a traditional left midfielder has undergone some change.

Wingers stay high and if defenders well behind them need defensive help, a midfielder needs to pick up slack. Teams that play with two blocks of our seldom use wingers, but still the wide midfielders are often asked to get forward or carve out space for the left back to get up the flank.

This category does not include wingbacks playing in a five-man midfield; they are often defensive-oriented players and will be listed with the left backs.

The rankings are based on performances in league and playoff matches during the 2017 season. In some cases players are listed here even if they have played in other areas of the field as well as on the left.
 
SA Top 10: Left Midfielders/Wingers:
1. Ignacio Piatti (Montreal)
2. Justin Meram (Columbus)
3. Daniel Royer (New York Red Bulls)
4. David Accam (Chicago)
5. Yamil Asad (Atlanta United)
6. Roland Lamah (FC Dallas)
7. Sebastian Blanco (Portland)
8. Diego Fagundez (New England)
9. Fafa Picault (Philadelphia)
10. Jefferson Savarino (Real Salt Lake)

The Impact failed to build on its impressive run to the 2016 Eastern Conference finals despite another stellar season from Ignacio Piatti, who racked up 17 goals and tacked on six assists, matching his totals from last year in both categories. He’s one of the most dangerous players in the league knifing inside from the left wing. He’s among the league’s elite players: Can maintain his high standards next year at 33 and under a new head coach?



Justin Meram smashed his career best of eight goals by scoring 13 while also picking up seven assists. He has missed only six games the past four seasons and is one of those “automatic” decisions when head coach Gregg Berhalter fills out the lineup card.

Like many Red Bulls, Daniel Royer lined up in a few different spots during the rocky 2017 season but he delivered solid numbers – 26 games, 12 goals, 3 assists – during a transition year. With a regular position, good health and settled team around him, he could easily surpass those numbers next season with his reading of the game and exploitation of space.

Wingers are often as erratic as they are brilliant, and though David Accam has improved his consistency, he’s still a bit of hot (14 goals, five-game scoring streak) and cold (one point in his last seven games of the season). The Fire rebuffed interest from foreign teams during the season to bolster a playoff run that collapsed in the Knockout Round (Red Bulls, 4-0).
Atlanta United got a big payoff from the loan of Yamil Asad; he registered 13 assists, scored seven goals, and conjured up some electrifying stuff. Offseason moves by the club indicate it doesn’t expect him back.

Given the impossible task of replacing Fabian Castillo, Roland Lamah battled through some dismal times to score 11 goals and add three assists in 32 games. In his first MLS season, Sebastian Blanco bolstered a Timbers’ attack that was missing Fanendo Adi for one-third of the season by notching eight goals and the same number of assists in 29 games.

The Revs fell well short of the playoffs despite Diego Fagundez’s best season since the monster year of 2013: playing all but two games he scored seven goals and collected eight assists. Philly also disappointed but it got a good year from Fafa Picault in his first MLS campaign: seven goals and three assists. RSL used Jefferson Savarino on the wing and as a forward to excellent effect; the 21-year-old Venezuelan played 22 games (19 starts), scored six goals, and posted five assists while wowing fans with his cuts and moves.

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