There wasn’t a ton of movement the last two weeks as we reach the halfway point in the 2022 MLS Season. We have seen two American U21 transfers to Belgium. Griffin Yow secured a permanent transfer to 1st tier club Westerlo and Tyler Wolff is moving on a season long loan to 2nd tier club SK Beveren. I’d expect a couple more players to transfer from this list, the most likely being Gaga Slonina, the most deserving being John Tolkin. It also sounds like Caden Clark is on his way out of New York RB and has a good amount of suitors in Europe for a season long loan. 

Trending Up

  • Ben Bender: added two more assists to his American U21 leading 8 goal contributions. 
  • Brian Gutierrez: scored his first career MLS goal. 
  • Serge Ngoma: scored his first career MLS goal (a game winner). 
  • Kayden Pierre: not yet in the top 25, but playing well and started the last two games for Sporting KC—at this rate he will be in the top 25 very soon. 

Trending Down

  • Noah Allen: dropped from the list after being away at the Concacaf U20 tournament and not being a big part of Inter Miami’s first team in quite some time. 

#1 | LB, John Tolkin, New York Red Bulls (2002)

Previous Ranking: 1

Minutes: 1589
G+: 0.27
G+A / 90: 0.06
Goals: 0
xGoals: 1.1
Assists: 1
xAssists: 1.0

John has been playing consistently well all season for NYRB. xG would say he is due for his first goal of the season. I think John is the most ready of any American U21 to make the jump to Europe, but I have not heard any rumors surrounding him thus far. 

#2 | RB, Nathan Harriel, Philadelphia Union (2001)

Previous Ranking: 2

Minutes: 1419
G+: 0.63
G+A / 90: 0.06
Goals: 0
xGoals: 0.9
Assists: 1
xAssists: 0.5

Nathan’s offensive production isn’t super impressive, but his G+ indicates he does a lot of things to help the Union win games. 

#3 | CM, Ben Bender, Charlotte FC (2001)

Previous Ranking: 3

Minutes: 1201
G+: -0.85
G+A / 90: 0.60
Goals: 3
xGoals: 2.4
Assists: 5
xAssists: 2.3

Ben extended his lead on goal contributions with a two assist performance last weekend, bringing his combined goals and assists to 8. The next closest U21 American is Cade Cowell with 4. Here is his first assist of the night: 

https://twitter.com/FOXSoccer/status/1545940837594447872?s=20&t=nOf7Hp7CzdiXvJeWAgWbSg

#4 | GK, Gaga Slonina, Chicago Fire (2004)

Previous Ranking: 4

Minutes: 1710
G+: -2.05
GA / 90: 1.42
PSxG +/-: -1.0

Gaga had some nice saves the last couple of weeks. Here is one:   

#5 | WING, Cade Cowell, San Jose Earthquakes (2003)

Previous Ranking: 5

Minutes: 919
G+: -1.00
G+A / 90: 0.39
Goals: 1
xGoals: 1.2
Assists: 3
xAssists: 1.2

Cade is back from the Concacaf U20 tournament and has been coming off of the bench. 

#6 | CB, George Campbell, Atlanta United FC (2001)

Previous Ranking: 7

Minutes: 1160
G+: -0.14
G+A / 90: 0.00
Goals: 0
xGoals: 0.4
Assists: 0
xAssists: 0.7

#7 | CM, Leon Flach, Philadelphia Union (2001)

Previous Ranking: 6

Minutes: 1563
G+: -1.28
G+A / 90: 0.12
Goals: 0
xGoals: 0.7
Assists: 2
xAssists: 1.0

Leon tallied his second assist of the season in a 7-0 stomping of DC United. 

#8 | WING, Brian Gutierrez, Chicago Fire (2003)

Previous Ranking: 11

Minutes: 785
G+: -0.34
G+A / 90: 0.34
Goals: 1
xGoals: 1.2
Assists: 2
xAssists: 1.6

Brian scored his first career MLS goal two weeks ago. It was a nice run and a composed finish in transition: 

https://streamin.me/v/383529eb

#9 | CM, Bryce Duke, Inter Miami (2001)

Previous Ranking: 8

Minutes: 776
G+: -0.80
G+A / 90: 0.35
Goals: 1
xGoals: 1.9
Assists: 2
xAssists: 1.4

#10 | CM, Cameron Duke, Sporting Kansas City (2001)

Previous Ranking: 9

Minutes: 997
G+: -0.33
G+A / 90: 0.18
Goals: 0
xGoals: 1.0
Assists: 2
xAssists: 1.6

#11 | RB, Tayvon Gray, New York City FC (2002)

Previous Ranking: 13

Minutes: 857
G+: -0.18
G+A / 90: 0.00
Goals: 0
xGoals: 0.1
Assists: 0
xAssists: 0.5

#12 | DM, Sebastian Berhalter, Vancouver Whitecaps (2001)

Previous Ranking: 10

Minutes: 805
G+: -0.31
G+A / 90: 0.00
Goals: 0
xGoals: 0.2
Assists: 0
xAssists: 0.2

Sebastian’s minutes are starting to dry up.

#13 | CM, Obed Vargas, Seattle Sounders (2005)

Previous Ranking: 12

Minutes: 851
G+: -0.78
G+A / 90: 0.00
Goals: 0
xGoals: 0.2
Assists: 0
xAssists: 0.4

Obed has been out since late June with a back injury and his timeline for return is unknown. 

#14 | CM, Aidan Morris, Columbus Crew (2001)

Previous Ranking: 14

Minutes: 802
G+: -1.20
G+A / 90: 0.00
Goals: 0
xGoals: 0.2
Assists: 0
xAssists: 0.1

Aidan’s G+ isn’t great, but I read somewhere that the Crew have not lost when he has started a match. Just a random coincidence? 

#15 | WING, Indiana Vassilev, Inter Miami (2001)

Previous Ranking: 15

Minutes: 489
G+: 0.74
G+A / 90: 0.37
Goals: 2
xGoals: 1.7
Assists: 0
xAssists: 0.5

#16 | WING, Cameron Harper, NYRB (2001)

Previous Ranking: 18

Minutes: 420
G+: 0.12
G+A / 90: 0.43
Goals: 1
xGoals: 0.4
Assists: 1
xAssists: 0.8

#17 | LB, Caleb Wiley, Atlanta United (2004)

Previous Ranking: 16

Minutes: 628
G+: -0.96
G+A / 90: 0.17
Goals: 1
xGoals: 1.3
Assists: 0
xAssists: 1.3

Caleb has looked like a very young player the last couple of games. He has flashed spectacular moments, but he has also made some costly errors. 

#18 | WING, Owen Wolff, Austin FC (2004)

Previous Ranking: 17

Minutes: 550
G+: -1.09
G+A / 90: 0.18
Goals: 0
xGoals: 0.4
Assists: 1
xAssists: 1.3

Owen started last game in central midfield, a role he is better suited for. I expect that trend to continue and it should lead to improved performance. 

#19 | WING, Matko Miljevic, CF Montreal (2001)

Previous Ranking: 22

Minutes: 480
G+: -0.34
G+A / 90: 0.00
Goals: 0
xGoals: 0.7
Assists: 0
xAssists: 0.6

Matko has continued to start in place of Djordje Mihailovic while he has been rehabbing his injury. 

#20 | CB, Jaziel Orozco, Real Salt Lake (2004)

Previous Ranking: 19

Minutes: 315
G+: -0.06
G+A / 90: 0.00
Goals: 0
xGoals: 0.1
Assists: 0
xAssists: 0.0

Jaziel has not played since mid April. 

#21 | CM, Caden Clark, NYRB (2003)

Previous Ranking: 20

Minutes: 156
G+: -0.16
G+A / 90: 0.58
Goals: 0
xGoals: 0.2
Assists: 1
xAssists: 0.9

#22 | WING, Damián Rivera, New England Revs (2002)

Previous Ranking: 21

Minutes: 273
G+: -0.14
G+A / 90: 0.33
Goals: 1
xGoals: 0.3
Assists: 0
xAssists: 0.2

#23 | RB, Andres Jasson, New York City FC (2002)

Previous Ranking: 23

Minutes: 245
G+: -0.11
G+A / 90: 0.38
Goals: 0
xGoals: 0.1
Assists: 1
xAssists: 0.2

#24 | DM, Danny Leyva, Seattle Sounders (2003)

Previous Ranking: 25

Minutes: 201

G+: -0.14
G+A / 90: 0.45
Goals: 0
xGoals: 0.0
Assists: 1
xAssists: 0.1

#25 | AM, Serge Ngoma, NYRB (2005)

Minutes: 70
G+: 0.17
G+A / 90: 1.29
Goals: 1
xGoals: 0.4
Assists: 0
xAssists: 0.0

Serge scores his first career goal at the age of 16 to give NYRB the lead late: 

Dropped from the list: Noah Allen

Version 8 Rankings >>>

Statistical sources:Football Reference, American Soccer Analysis