The MLS regular season gets underway on March 3rd, with defending-champions Toronto taking on Columbus. But before FC begins its quest for a second consecutive MLS Cup, it’s time to take a look at the best players in the league entering the 2018 campaign.
10. Clint Dempsey (Seattle)
This 34-year-old legend shows no signs of slowing down as he enters the twilight of his career. 2017 saw Dempsey score the second-most goals of his career; 15 in just 32 games. His tenacious play helped lead Seattle within a game of capturing the MLS Cup. And just last year, the MLS named Dempsey the greatest American soccer player of all time.
9. Diego Valeri (Portland)
Valeri ranked third in the MLS with 21 goals last season, which earned him league MVP honors. The midfielder has grown accustomed to accolades these past few years, taking home an MLS Cup and Cup MVP in 2015 and All-Star honors three of the past four seasons. Valeri’s recent contract will keep him in Portland through the 2019 campaign.
8. Jozy Altidore (Toronto)
Like Dempsey, Jozy Altidore is another living U.S. soccer legend. At just 28 years old, Altidore has already spent time in the Premier League, La Liga, and MLS. In addition, the striker suited up for Team USA at the 2010 and 2014 World Cup. He now serves as the figurehead for the league’s undisputed best team: Toronto FC. Altidore and company hope to win their second consecutive MLS Cup this season.
7. Victor Vazquez (Toronto)
Altidore and Victor Vazquez form quite a dynamic duo for Toronto FC. 2017 was the first year Vazquez participated in the MLS, and boy, did he make an impact. He finished second in league assists with 16, just one shy of Orlando’s Sacha Kljestan.
6. Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle)
While American Football fans may know Arizona Cardinals Safety Tyrann Mathieu as the honey badger, Osvaldo Alonso has earned the same nickname in the MLS, thanks to his aggressive play. The midfielder has helped the Sounders rise to perennial contenders in the league since 2009.