Some of the best players in Major League Soccer wear the famed number 10 shirt, stretching from New England Revolution’s Carles Gil all the way to San Jose Earthquake’s Cristian Espinoza.
The #10 role in soccer is formally known as a creative spark in a side, the forward-thinking attacking midfielder that racks up goals and assists. However, as the game as evolved, there’s been some players that have become just as creative and influential while playing on the wings.
Here are the current top 10 players in MLS that don the number 10 jersey…
Although Austin FC missed out on the playoffs this season, Sebastian Driussi has been in excellent form with 11 goals and four assists.
The Verde and Black’s creative outlet has held his own since joining MLS, and after Diego Fagundez departed for LA Galaxy, the former Zenit player will need some help to get Austin back to the postseason.
LAFC have high hopes to defend their 2022 MLS Cup title, and they’ll need players like Carlos Vela to be on top form to do so.
The 33-year-old has put up solid numbers in 2023, tallying nine goals and dishing out 12 assists, but he hasn’t been the same player that has made plenty of MLS defenders look silly over the years.
In terms of first seasons in MLS, they don’t come much better than Eduard Lowen’s in St Louis CITY’s inaugural season in the league.
Lowen has been vital to the first-year club’s success, as they’ve clinched first place in the Western Conference table off the back of his six goals and 14 assists.
Don’t let San Jose Earthquake’s poor recent form distract you from the stellar 2023 season Cristian Espinoza has had.
With 12 goals and 13 assists, Espinoza (along with Jeremy Ebobisse) has dragged San Jose into a wild-card spot as they hope to qualify for the postseason for the first time since 2020.
It’s been a tumultuous couple of months for New England Revolution after losing head coach and sporting director Bruce Arena and seeing former starting goalkeeper Djordje Petrovic leave the club for European giants Chelsea.
However, it hasn’t effected the play of Carles Gil. The Spaniard has showed his quality this term with 11 goals and 14 assists and has kept the Revs afloat in the top half of the Eastern Conference table.
Philadelphia Union have a deadly attacking trio with Mikael Uhre, Julian Carranza and Daniel Gazdag, who leads the team in both goals and asissts this season.
Gazdag’s 14 goals and 11 assists are among the best in MLS, and Philadelphia will hope to go one step farther in the postseason after their heartbreak defeat in 2022 by taking home MLS Cup.
Hany Mukhtar captured the 2022 MLS MVP after an incredible season with Nashville SC, and he just might be among the favorites for the 2023 award, too.
While Nashville have dipped in form during the season, Mukhtar has remained reliable and consistent for the Coyotes. The Berlin, Germany, native has amassed 15 goals and 10 assists in 2023 as head coach Gary Smith has high hopes for his team in the playoffs.
There’s no debate: Thiago Almada has taken MLS by storm and looks certain to break the league’s outbound transfer record that was set by ex- Atlanta United star Miguel Almiron in 2019.
In Almada’s second season in the league, he’s been nothing short of incredible as he’s scored 11 goals and dished out 17 assists, a new single season record for the Five Stripes. If Almada is fit and firing in the playoffs, Atlanta could make a deep run.
FC Cincinnati clinched the 2023 Supporters’ Shield title behind Lucho Acosta’s MVP-level campaign. The former DC United player is near both the top of the charts in goals and assists, with 16 and 13, respectively.
The Orange and Blue are in the postseason for a second consecutive season under head coach Pat Noonan, and they’ll be looking to take home their second trophy of the season on December 9 should make it MLS Cup final.
The seven-time Ballon d’Or winner hasn’t quite made his mark yet in MLS due to an old injury, but his sheer ability on the pitch means he’s the best player in MLS to wear the number 10 jersey (he’s also the best player in the entire league, of course).
Messi led the Herons to a Leagues Cup final victory, their first trophy in club history, and has totaled one goal and two assists in five league appearances. But as Inter Miami have missed out on the playoffs, Messi and co. will look ahead to a highly-anticipated 2024 season.
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