Monday, July 29, 2019

Top Central Mids in MLS

Going to drift into the middle of the pitch now and take a look at what's become the most important position on just about every MLS team - The Central Midfielder.

First up, a couple housekeeping items:
1. These lists were created July 24th and do not include games after that. It wouldn't move needles that much but does impact any stats you might see.
2. This is my third positional evaluation. Right Mids HERE and Left Backs HERE.
3. Ages are rounded. So if you are 33.6 then it's 34. Just ease of use.
4. Rank is determined by the average of the Helltown Player Rank and WhoScored.


Modern metrics and stats are built around these players. They do a little bit of everything so spreadsheets absolutely love them. In year's gone by, stats loved forwards because it was easy to track. Goals, assists. These days is dozens of measurements in Aerials Won, Dribbles, Key Passes, Dispossessed's. So, congratulations central mids, you're getting paid.

1Eduard AtuestaVelez, ColombiaLAF22$493,000
2Álejandro PozueloSeville, SpainTFC28$3,800,000
3Nicolás LodeiroPaysandu, UruguaySEA30$2,502,500
4Jamiro MonteiroRotterdam, NetherlandsPHI26$569,200
5Mark-Anthony KayeToronto, CanadaLAF25$177,811
6Diego ValeriValentin Alsina, ArgentinaPDX33$2,420,000
7Nico GaitánSan Martin, ArgentinaCHI31$2,197,504
8Magnus ErikssonSolna, SwedenSJE29$450,000
9Pedro SantosLisbon, PortugalCLB31$864,560
10Albert RusnakVyskov, Czech RepublicRSL25$2,001,667
11Saphir TaiderCastres, FranceMTL27$1,400,000
12Damir KreilachVukovar, YugoslaviaRSL30$1,082,102
13Gonzalo MartínezGuaymallen, ArgentinaATL26$900,000
14Felipe GutiérrezQuintero, ChileSKC29$1,650,000
15Paxton PomykalLewisville, TexasFCD20$105,000
16Sebastian LletgetSan Francisco, CaliforniaLAG27$312,667
17Alejandro BedoyaEnglewood, New JerseyPHI32$1,266,250
18Alexander RingHelsinki, FinlandNYCFC28$945,000
19Federico HiguainBuenos Aires, ArgentinaCLB35$1,100,000
20Luciano AcostaBuenos Aires, ArgentinaDC25$702,000

As mentioned in previous posts, you can see a couple from the same team because the position assigned to them is the one they play most often, not necessarily the one they are pegged to play. Almost all the top players here are in the Helltown and WhoScored top 50.

28: Median Age of all Central Mids on this list
$1,013,551: Median salary of the players on this list


Mark-Anthony Kaye Bob Bradley has found a solid player in this Canadian. There's nothing spectacular on his resume. No youth career in Spain or Argentina. He was with Toronto for a bit, collect for a couple years. Played for Louisville in the USL. Along with Eduard Atuesta (who plays more central a bit with Kaye to the left of him), he works. He salary being ridiculously low puts him top of my list.

Eduard Atuesta 5th on WhoScored list, 6th on mine. This 22-year-old is likely not going to be in MLS for much longer. His formative years were with Independiente Medellín, then straight to MLS. LAFC signed him at a great wage.

Alejandro Pozuelo Neat pickup for Toronto from Seville, Andalusia with loads of experience in top leagues. Opta loves him and I'm sure his teammates do too. His salary is steep, but players like him (known) come at that price.


Here's their average rating on the season. Anything over 7.25 is outstanding. Important to remember that there are 24 teams in MLS and 20 players here.

7.63Álejandro PozueloTFC
7.59Eduard AtuestaLAF
7.50Jamiro MonteiroPHI
7.45Mark-Anthony KayeLAF
7.37Nicolás LodeiroSEA
7.32Paxton PomykalFCD
7.18Diego ValeriPDX
7.15Felipe GutiérrezSKC
7.14Magnus ErikssonSJE
7.13Pedro SantosCLB
7.10Nico GaitánCHI
7.08Albert RusnakRSL
7.06Damir KreilachRSL
7.04Sebastian LletgetLAG
7.00Saphir TaiderMTL
6.94Alexander RingNYCFC
6.92Gonzalo MartínezATL
6.87Alejandro BedoyaPHI
6.87Luciano AcostaDC
6.81Federico HiguainCLB

Final note: Paxton Pomykal is in some pretty good company and having an outstanding season with Dallas. He's 19 and played at every US National team age group (pretty much). I'm sure he's getting attention from overseas.

Saturday, July 27, 2019

Top Right Mids in MLS

Here are the best right midfielders in MLS so far this season. With info on every position in the league, it's important to say that MLS has a problem filling certain positions with quality players. Right midfield happens to be one of those spots.

The mechanics behind this list are simple. I average the player's rank at with my own here at Helltown. Example: Paul Arriola is ranked 166th at WS and 103 at Helltown = 134.5. I then tease out all the RM's and rank.

1Cristian EspinozaBuenos Aires, ArgentinaSJE24$550,000
2Michael BarriosBarranquilla, ColombiaFCD28$500,000
3Julian GresselNeustadt an der Aisch, GermanyATL26$133,000
4Paul ArriolaChula Vista, CaliforniaDC24$707,000
5Ezequiel BarcoVilla Gobernador Galvez, ArgentinaATL20$1,425,000
6IlsinhoSao Paulo, BrazilPHI34$357,000
7Alex MuylNew York, New YorkNYR24$127,750
8Przemyslaw FrankowskiGdansk, PolandCHI24$661,688
9Orji OkwonkwoBenin City, NigeriaMTL22$220,000
10Ethan FinlayDuluth, MinnesotaMIN29$400,008
11Omar BrownePanama City, PanamaMTL25$89,781
12Ulises SeguraGuadalupe, Costa RicaDC26$170,000

$379k: Median Salary for top RM's in MLS
24.5: Median age of top RM's in MLS

A lot of players playing in the prime part of their career's here. If you look closely you'll see that only one player is over the age of 30 (this table rounds age, 29.6 = 30). MLS is can be a very direct league. Some teams have adopted a more possession-based style, but even those games can devolve into direct affairs. What this means is lots and lots of running. It's almost a requirement to be young.


Cristian Espinoza Still owned by Villarreal CF and on loan to MLS's San Jose Earthquakes. He has spent almost all of his time on the right side this season. Matías Almeyda is doing a wonderful job with this player. Injury free this year with two goals and seven assists. Helltown has him ranked 4th best in MLS, WhoScored 24.

Michael Barrios He's as solid as ever with FC Dallas, now his 5th year with the team. "Can start on any team," might be an overused cliche, but it's 100% true with Barrios.

Julian Gressel Playing a little more on the right side of the formation in Atlanta this season, but he's versatile enough to play just about anywhere. His youth training was in Germany yet somehow found his way to the US via college (Providence). Atlanta picked him up in 2017 and he's been a consistent performer with them ever since. Grossly underpaid. Sometimes I think being a "draft pick" hurts the pocketbook the first few years. Hopefully, he gets a raise soon.

Here is the same list, only sorted by WhoScored rating:

7.37Ezequiel BarcoVilla Gobernador Galvez, ArgentinaATL20558
7.30Cristian EspinozaBuenos Aires, ArgentinaSJE241628
7.18Michael BarriosBarranquilla, ColombiaFCD281695
7.12IlsinhoSao Paulo, BrazilPHI34657
7.04Julian GresselNeustadt an der Aisch, GermanyATL261759
6.83Paul ArriolaChula Vista, CaliforniaDC241492
6.83Alex MuylNew York, New YorkNYR241211
6.83Omar BrownePanama City, PanamaMTL25564
6.80Przemyslaw FrankowskiGdansk, PolandCHI241425
6.73Orji OkwonkwoBenin City, NigeriaMTL221072
6.52Ulises SeguraGuadalupe, Costa RicaDC261143
6.47Ethan FinlayDuluth, MinnesotaMIN291242


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