SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURESAlberth Elis #1 ranked Right Midfielder/Winger…can he elevate to next level in 2018?

Soccer America magazine publishes an annual evaluation of league players called MLS Positional Rankings at the end of each season.  This evaluation ranks the best 10 players at each of 12 positions on the field (there is an extra midfielder category added to the rankings-reflecting the different tactical approaches teams take with four or five man midfields).

The 2017 ratings reflect both the significant turnaround in Houston and dropoff at FC Dallas from the prior season.  Houston only had 2 players listed in the total 120 ranked in 2016-this year the Dynamo have 7.  Last year FC Dallas had 7 ranked and this year 4.

In 2018 I will start to track Columbus Crew (for obvious reasons) in these kinds of summary posts….at least until a formal Austin relocation decision is made one way or the other.  The run to the Eastern Conference finals by the Crew, like Houston, also had a big impact on a year-to-year basis.  The Crew had 7 players selected in the rankings vs. 4 in 2016.

  • The Dynamo’s Alberth Elis was the only top ranked player on this 2017 list, heading up the Right sided midfielder/Winger position.
  • Last season the FC Dallas centerback pairing of Walker Zimmerman and Matt Hedges were the #2 and 3 ranked left and right centerbacks respectively.  This year neither of them are ranked and Zimmerman has been traded to LAFC.
  • Chris Seitz, who just signed with the Dynamo a few weeks ago, was the #2 ranked goalkeeper when he played with FC Dallas in 2016.

Soccer America 2017 Rankings: 

(number in parentheses reflects last year ranking for the six players who were on both 2016 and 2017 lists)

(Will not play in MLS in 2018 or currently suspended)


8.  Zach Steffen (Columbus)  10.  Tyler Deric (Houston) (indefinite suspension)

Left Backs/Wingbacks:


Centerbacks, Left side:


Centerbacks, Right side:

4.  Adolfo Machado (Houston)

Right Backs/Wingbacks:

4.  Harrison Afful (Columbus) (2)

Holding Midfielders:

6.  Wil Trapp (Columbus)  7.  Juan David Cabezas (Houston)  10.  Carlos Gruezo (Dallas) (4)

Central Midfielders:


Left Midfielders/Wingers:

2.  Justin Meram (Columbus) (6)  6.  Roland Lamah (Dallas)

Attacking Midfielders:

6.  Federico Higuain (Columbus)  10.  Alex (Houston)

Right Midfielders/Wingers:

#1.  Alberth Elis (Houston)  3.  Michael Barrios (Dallas) (6)  10.  Kekuta Manneh (Columbus)


5.  Mauro Manotas (Houston) (9) 7.  Maxi Urruti (Dallas)


5.  Ola Kamara (Columbus) (5)  9.  Erick “Cubo” Torres (Houston)