The 10 Most Overrated MLS Players

Peter Galindo@@GalindoPWFeatured ColumnistSeptember 2, 2014

The 10 Most Overrated MLS Players

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    MLS has a lot of talented players, whether they're former European stars like Thierry Henry or U.S. stalwarts such as Landon Donovan. 

    However, there are several others who receive undeserved praise. They will be highlighted in this slideshow based on the fanfare they receive and whether their stats correlate with their salaries. All wages can be found on the MLS Players Union website.

    Here are the 10 most overrated players in Major League Soccer.

Honorable Mentions

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    DeAndre Yedlin
    Bradley Wright-Phillips
    Raul Fernandez

    Yedlin's neglectful defending is one huge downside to the American's game. His 82 percent passing accuracy this season, per WhoScored.com, could also use some improvement. However, the 21-year-old misses out on the list because his pace, dribbling and overall potential could translate to significant success in the future.

    Wright-Phillips leads MLS with 20 goals this season for New York. It was suggested that the forward could be called up to the English national team, per Duncan Day of NBC's Pro Soccer Talk. The Englishman is a terrific finisher, but other than that, he's a poacher and nothing more.

    Fernandez has often found himself out of position or coming to claim balls that he cannot reach. As a result, Dallas has had to fight back to win games in the past. The Peruvian international is a great shot-stopper, but his decision-making can overshadow that attribute.

10. Stefan Ishizaki

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Stefan Ishizaki has been a valiant rotation option for LA Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena. However, for an annual salary of about $213,000, he isn't delivering as much as he should.

    Ishizaki has four goals and five assists in 22 appearances this season. He's 79 percent accurate with his passes but averages just 30 per game, per WhoScored.

    The 32-year-old has also had some inconsistent performances this season. In recent matches against Seattle and Portland, he was one of the top players. In the Galaxy's last two games versus Columbus and Colorado, he was invisible.

    It helps to have Robbie Keane, Landon Donovan and the red-hot Gyasi Zardes to work with, but Ishizaki isn't as much of a threat as his teammates. 

9. Jhon Kennedy Hurtado

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Jhon Kennedy Hurtado was one of the scapegoats in the Seattle Sounders' late-season collapse in 2013. As a result, Hurtado was traded to the Chicago Fire.

    Hurtado has started 19 games but has also accumulated three bookings and one red card this year, per MLSSoccer.com. The 30-year-old defender's lack of pace could be the rationale behind that.

    The Colombian was recently traded to Chivas USA for allocation money. Considering the Fire have been one of the league's most disappointing teams this season, the fact they were willing to let go of Hurtado should say it all. The center back's high wages also didn't help his cause.

    Hurtado's Chivas debut produced more of the same, as Robbie Keane made him look like a fool.

8. Steven Caldwell

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    USA Today Sports

    Toronto FC have had defensive issues throughout their history. While club captain Steven Caldwell has been solid, he's also committed some basic mistakes such as containing an onrushing attacker with his arms fully extended.

    Most defenders know that when they have to defend a player who's about to cross or shoot, they have to keep their arms close to their bodies or behind their backs.

    Caldwell doesn't do this, and it leads to free kicks and penalties in big games, like the Canadian Championship. TFC's defence is more organized when the Scotsman starts, but he's far from being a franchise center back. 

    For about $364,000 annually, the Reds can do better.

7. Dominic Oduro

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    Chris Young/Canadian Press

    Dominic Oduro would be a top winger in MLS if he wasn't so frustratingly inconsistent with his scoring and passing.

    The Ghanaian has played with FC Dallas, New York, Houston, Chicago, Columbus and Toronto FC in his MLS career. He's been in the league since 2006. 

    Oduro's woeful finishing and passing are the reasons why he's played for six clubs in nine seasons. The winger has taken 376 shots in 242 games, per MLSSoccer.com. He has scored 48 goals in total, or once every 7.8 attempts.

    Oduro also has 26 assists to go with those 48 goals. Both are low numbers for a player who's amassed that many appearances, which is why he can never settle with one team for very long.

6. Donovan Ricketts

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    Doug Pensinger/Getty Images

    Donovan Ricketts has been one of the most consistent goalkeepers in MLS during the last five seasons, but as he approaches 40 he's reaching the twilight of his career.

    When Ricketts fractured his forearm, it was the beginning of the end of his LA Galaxy stint. The Montreal Impact picked up the Jamaican prior to the 2012 campaign but traded him to the Portland Timbers that same year.

    Ricketts helped Portland make a deep playoff run last season, but this year he's declined. The Portland keeper has allowed the fourth-highest amount of goals among starters (35) but has still made 85 saves, per MLSSoccer.com.

    Ricketts still commits some horrendous errors with his passing and decision-making. That's something that shouldn't be happening when he makes $260,000 a year.

5. Brad Davis

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    American international Brad Davis returned from the World Cup and was the best player for the Houston Dynamo in the two games after the break.

    Davis scored three goals in two matches, including a brace against Toronto FC and another strike against the New York Red Bulls. However, the midfielder has tailed off and is without a goal in six straight games.

    The 32-year-old Dynamo stalwart is a technical winger, but this goal drought is worrying. Davis' annual salary of $392,000 should warrant far more than four goals.

4. Maurice Edu

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Maurice Edu is one of many designated players in MLS, but he might be the most underwhelming. He's started 22 games for the Philadelphia Union, but his numbers aren't as strong as other top defensive midfielders.

    Edu averages two interceptions per match, per WhoScored, which is 58th on the list. He has attempted fewer passes than Wil Trapp, Kyle Beckerman, Osvaldo Alonso and Matias Laba.

    Of those four, only Beckerman (82.5 percent) has a lower accuracy rating than Edu's 83.7 percent. He's a solid player but probably not worthy of DP status, especially at $650,000 a year. That salary is higher than all of the aforementioned players. 

3. Clint Dempsey

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    Ted S. Warren/Associated Press

    Clint Dempsey is arguably the best American player right now. However, considering his salary and the fact that he was brought in as an impact player, he can now be classified as overrated.

    Dempsey has scored 11 goals in 17 appearances, but seven of them came between April 5 and April 26, per MLSSoccer.com. He's since tallied three in 11 games.

    The U.S. star has just five assists, which shows that he's been invisible far too many times. Dempsey is the highest-paid player in MLS, per ESPN FC. Surely for that kind of money he'd be more productive. 

    The 31-year-old forward is a decent player, but his high salary and constant accolades are undeserved. 

2. Mike Magee

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    Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

    Mike Magee is the reigning MLS MVP, but his 21 goals don't tell the whole story. Six of his goals came with the LA Galaxy before he was traded. The final 15 were with Chicago.

    Magee's scoring output has declined since new head coach Frank Yallop arrived. The forward has just seven goals in 17 appearances. For a player who's supposedly a top striker, he hasn't delivered when his team has needed him most.

    The 29-year-old had a terrific season last year, but he's a typical poacher, much like Bradley Wright-Phillips, except Magee doesn't have the Englishman's pace. When he has the ball at his feet, he's often dispossessed.

    Magee averages about 1.5 turnovers and is accurate with 79 percent of his passes, per WhoScored. Not exactly MVP-like numbers.

1. Eddie Johnson

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    Alex Brandon/AP Photo

    Eddie Johnson has started 20 games for DC United but has just five goals. What makes it surprising is that Johnson is making over $600,000 this season on a designated player contract.

    When Johnson was traded from Seattle to DC, he reportedly forced the move due to his attitude, per SoccerWire.

    His off-the-field incidents have continued since the striker arrived in the nation's capital.  His comment about running too much with DC was ludicrous, and the latest incident involves Johnson engaging in a Twitter war.

    Johnson was considered to be a player "in his prime" and "a complete forward," according to DC United GM Dave Kasper via The Washington Post.

    Right now, he isn't playing or behaving like an all-around striker in the prime of his career.

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