With the 2016 season in full swing and things starting to heat up with the race to get into the later stages of the MLS cup, today i am going to give a review on how i think the season has shaped up so far.
Team of the season – FC Dallas
Standout performers across both conferences sitting top of the standings with 41 points. With no real top quality designated players in their roster they have exceeded expectation. Mauro Diaz sitting 2nd in the assist charts only behind Sacha Kljestan of the New York Red Bulls is an achievement in itself and will be key to the team staying where they are for the rest of the season.
Bottom of the pile – Seattle Sounders
12 defeats and only 6 wins all season speaks for itself.This club should be doing much better than they are, with players like Mears,Alonso,Ivanschitz , Valdez and Dempsey in the roster this was not expected at the start of the season. Things have went from bad to worse for the Sounders recently with the club parting ways with head coach Sigi Schmid after a 8 year spell at the club and their only manager in the clubs MLS history. A permanent manager needs to brought in soon to turn things round at the club before it gets any worse.
Most Improved – New York City FC
After a mixed first MlS season NYCFC have started to find their feet in the division. With a change of coach before the start of the season with Jason Kreis making way for Manchester City reserve coach Patrick Viera coming into to manage the team things have started to pick up. Viera has got the team playing his way and the results have followed. Sitting top of the Eastern Conference with 33 points, David Villa top of the scoring charts and Lampard and Pirlo running the show in midfield after shaky debut seasons , everything is looking good at the Yankee Stadium. Will be interesting to see how the rest of the season plays out.
Player of the season – David Villa/ Sebastian Giovinco – NYCFC/Toronto
This was a hard choice. Was trying to pick one standout player but i just couldn’t. 2 designated players who have been playing out their skins for their respective clubs New York City FC and Toronto. Villa is topping the charts with 13 goals and as touched on previously has helped his team to the top of the table. Giovinco isn’t far behind on 11 and his performances have been the highlight of an average season for Toronto. At the end of the day these two guys could and possibly should still be playing at the highest level in Europe but they are not and its a joy to watch them in America.
Flop of the season – Antonio Nocerino – Orlando City
The move to the MLS hasn’t worked so far for the Italian. Joined the Florida based Orlando from Italian giants AC Milan and i expected him to run the show with Kaka in the centre of midfield. This has not been the case. Nocerino has had to make do with a place on the bench as a result for poor performances and with a high salary he is collecting each week this has got to change and quick. I don’t think it will take it long for the fans to turn on the player.
Caught my attention – Cyle Larin – Orlando City
The 21 year old Canadian has had a season to remember. He is the star striker for Orlando with 10 goals this season and currently standing 5th in the top scorer charts. His performances have made him recognized both domestically and internationally with 3 caps for Canada this year and was included in the roster for the MLS All-Star game against Arsenal in which he played 13 minutes in after coming on as a sub. Larin has massive potential and this could lead to a move to a major european club before long.
It has been a solid season for all the British players in the MLS. Frank Lampard sitting top of the league in New York. On the West Coast Ashley Cole, Steven Gerrard and Robbie Keane ( Yes i know he is from ROI but he can count) all these guys are playing well for the Galaxy with Keane scoring for fun. Liam Ridgewell after winning the MLS Cup last year is now captain at the Portland Timbers and performing well. The Wright-Phillips brothers at the Red Bulls are having two very different seasons .Bradley scoring goals as always and Shaun is warming the bench with not much game time this season. Finally Dom Dwyer is playing up front for Sporting Kansas with 8 goals in 18 games and is having a good season so far with the team in fourth place in the Western Conference.
It will be interesting if my views change come the end of the season as we all know these standing and views can change very quickly.
With the MLS being more accessible with Sky showing games each weekend alongside highlights of the goals the next day, i hope more people are interested in the league and check it out when they can as it is generally a good standard of football that gets played.
I hope you all enjoyed the post and next time you see a game on the TV give it wee watch eh?
Post by Derek Mcallister – writer for Footballs11blog