MLS First XI: Most Effective Strikers in the League Right Now

Ned HarwoodContributor IIIMarch 27, 2012

MLS First XI: Most Effective Strikers in the League Right Now

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    Welcome to the first edition of MLS First XI!

    In the next couple of weeks I will be making lists of the top 11 players at each general position in the American league.

    We start off with the men that make and break their careers off of pressure situations: strikers.

    This is a list of the 11 most effective strikers in MLS, and the rankings are based on who is the most productive on the attack, not who is necessarily the most talented.

    History, recent form and style were all taken into account during the production of this list. Which 11 players can their team count on to get the job done in crunch time? 

11. Kenny Cooper

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    I realize that Cooper's career has been plagued by inconsistency and sudden form transformations.

    However, after scoring three goals in three games and continuously putting himself in great positions to score, you can't argue with the fact that Coop could immediately improve your team by stepping on the pitch.

    Can he create chances for himself on his own? Not really. But when surrounded by the right pieces, he can be as effective as they come. 

10. CJ Sapong

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    The youngest member of the list is none other than 2011 MLS Rookie of the Year CJ Sapong.

    Although his career goal numbers are limited compared to the other studs in the slideshow, his recent hot form and production left me no choice but to slip the sophomore in at No. 10.

    He is currently holding a .92 G/90-minute ratio. Enough said. 

9. Alvaro Saborio

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    The Costa Rican international has earned his DP status the last few years with at least double-digit goals despite nagging injuries throughout each season.

    He is one of the strongest forwards in the league today and even can show a little bit of flair with plays like this.

    Even if Espindola starts picking up more of the load this season, Saborio will still find ways to get plenty of his shots in the back of the net. 

8. Dom Oduro

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    Who would have thought two years ago that Dom Oduro would be one of the most feared forwards in the league today?

    Oduro was more known for his inevitable blunders and mis-hits two years ago than his goal scoring ability. But now coming off of a career season and starting 2012 with a bang, Oduro's reputation has skyrocketed.

    There might not be a better striker in the league at getting behind the defense than Dom Oduro. 

7. Fabian Espindola

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    Espindola has really come into his own the last couple of years and established himself as one of the premier strikers in MLS.

    No longer is he simply Saborio's sidekick but a dangerous weapon whose speed and precision can produce wonderful moments on his own.

    After a fantastic year in 2011, Espindola has started off 2012 with two goals in three games so far for RSL. It looks like his upward trend is not hitting any speed bumps anytime soon.

6. Sebastien Le Toux

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    No matter what team Seba is on, he is bound to produce some offense.

    After a phenomenal two seasons in Philadelphia, Le Toux is now ready to become the primary playmaker on an already loaded Vancouver offense. His ability to see the field and make the clinical pass is an attribute that is not exactly held by the other guys on the list.

    Scoring is not the only way he can hurt opponents; he creates chances for teammates as well. 26 goals and 20 assists since 2010 is not too shabby for the Sounders' reject. 

5. Camilo

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    The elusiveness and quickness of Camilo have turned the young Brazilian into one of the best forwards in the league.

    Camilo led the Whitecaps in scoring last season, and his movement is a nightmare for opposing defenses.

    The plethora of attacking weapons for the Whitecaps boosts Camilo's effectiveness.

4. Fredy Montero

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    The league knows by now that Montero is a proven goalscorer. He has led the dynamic Sounders offense in scoring three years in a row and is one of three players in the league to have double-digit goals scored from 2009 through 2011.

    We all know that Montero is a force to be reckoned with, but will he be able to take that next step and be a true superstar in this league?

    We'll find out in the next eight months. 

3. Robbie Keane

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    His finishing ability is second to none. His movement off the ball consistently helps himself and his teammates get open opportunities.

    He has the best goal celebrations in all of MLS. Need any more convincing?

    Despite all the praise, Keane still comes in at No. 3 on my list. 

2. Thierry Henry

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    By far the most journeyed and prestigious striker of the bunch, Thierry Henry comes in at No. 2 on my list.

    When he is playing his hardest, there is no defense in the league that can willingly stop the man from scoring.

    However, the problem is that he does not always go 100 percent.

    At times, Thierry can go for valuable minutes simply jogging on the field or getting lost in a bad decision the referee made earlier. He can not always be counted on to completely play to his potential.

    As tough as it is for a Red Bull fan to say, he is not the most effective striker in the league today. 

1. Chris Wondolowski

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    He is the golden one.

    He is the one that you want in the opponents' attacking third with the game on the line and a cross on the way.

    No player has scored more goals in MLS the last two seasons than Wondo, and no team lives off a player more than the Quakes live off their star striker. He goes 100 percent all the time and never for a second is unprofessional in his approach to the game.

    He is there to score goals, and he has proven time and time again that he is the perfect man for the job. All talent and European history aside, Chris Wondolowski is the most effective striker in the league today. 

Honorable Mention

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    Juan Pablo Angel

    Edson Buddle

    Blas Perez

    Kris Boyd

    Will Bruin

    Omar Cummings

    Eric Hassli

    Maicon Santos

    Danny Koevermans

    Luke Rodgers

    Juan Agudelo

    Eddie Johnson

    Justin Braun

    Teal Bunbury

    Emilio Renteria

     

    As always, leave your lists in the comment section below if you have different rankings. Cheers!

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