Is it a good time to start a new conversation on the players who have had the greatest impact on MLS history?
With another dramatic season concluded, and now facing six long, dark winter weeks before the SuperDraft gives us an excuse to ponder the next, what else would we do? The Christmas shopping can wait a little longer.
Which players have had the greatest impacts on their teams and the league?
This is a discussion of on-field contributions, and limited to MLS fields. If considering which MLS players went on to bigger careers in other leagues, the conversation would be altogether different.
Likewise, if allowing for off-field factors, like which players had the largest impact on league rules and business models, this could be a one-slide slideshow. Given David Beckham's departure from the Galaxy side that captured the 2012 Cup, he’s been talked about enough.
Candidates for the following slides were subjected to a rigorous, analytic point system. While not quite as complex (or geeky) as the college football Bowl Championship Series formula, it came close. Readers won’t be bored with details, but factors weighed included individual honors and team accomplishments, with bonus points awarded for when the two coincided.
The analysis also included a “sanity check” to ensure that, well, nothing looked insane. Nothing did, but that review did lead to one change, as an omitted name screamed for correction. This caused some wringing of hands over who to drop, so as to keep the list limited to five.
With no further ado, here are the five players who have made the most significant impact on MLS history.