Overview

Version 11 of the American U21 impact rankings in MLS was one of the biggest movement weeks in recent memory with a lot of players that are solidifying roles with their clubs, most notably: Aidan Morris, Caleb Wiley, Kayden Pierre, Tayvon Gray, Jackson Hopkins and Jack McGlynn. The three Philadelphia attackers/midfielders are playing more, just as Jim Curtin said they would after the Concacaf U20 tournament. There are also quite a few players that have struggled to get on the field: Damian Rivera, Jaziel Orozco and Andress Jasson, all of which dropped out of the list. The last trend I’d like to call out is Gaga Slonina’s return to form. Over the last several weeks Gaga has looked like the player we saw at the beginning of the season. 

Trending Up

  • Gaga Slonina: continues his strong fun of form
  • Brian Gutierrez: has been starting consistently and recently added his third assist of the season
  • Aidan Morris: also starting consistently and has been performing pretty well defensively
  • Kayden Pierre: recently has been given a chance to start at RB and has been a nice two way FB
  • Jackson Hopkins: another young player who has been given the opportunity to start the last few games and added his first career assist
  • Jack McGlynn: started the last two games and has shown poise on the ball and some really nice passing ability 

Trending Down

  • Bryce Duke: Bryce has not been as effective as he was when he first returned from injury
  • Damian Rivera: has not had a role for the Revs in months
  • Jaziel Orozco: has not played since April
  • Andres Jasson: his opportunities have been few and far inbetween lately
  • Sebastian Berhalter: likely out for the year with an ankle injury
  • Obed Vargas: out with injury for at least another few weeks to a month
  • Rocco Rios Novo: has started 8 straight for Atlanta, but the shot stopping has been pretty poor and I can’t justify keeping him in the top 25 for distribution when he has been one of the worst shot stoppers in the league during his run of starts

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

Previous Ranking: 1

Minutes: 1754
G+: 0.49
G+A / 90: 0.10
xGA / 90: 0.13
Goals: 0
Assists: 2

John added his second assist of the season which you can see down below under Serge Ngoma. John continues to be an incredibly reliable and high performing LB for a good NYRB side. I thought John may have the chance to move to Europe this window, but it’s been quiet and it seems likely he will finish out the season and potentially look for a move in January.

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

Previous Ranking: 4

Minutes: 1970
G+: -1.54
GA / 90: 1.27
PSxG +/-: 0.3

Gaga continues his climb back up the ranks after securing his 8th and 9th clean sheet of the season along with another strong performance this past weekend against Vancouver. Here is one of his saves:

https://twitter.com/CJSmith91/status/1548664554649194496?s=20&t=8dFRLbFL2DfcDlfm3W1FRg

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

Previous Ranking: 2

Minutes: 1491
G+: 0.47
G+A / 90: 0.06
xGA / 90: 0.08
Goals: 0
Assists: 1

#4 | AM, Ben Bender, Charlotte FC (2001)

Previous Ranking: 3

Minutes: 1234
G+: -0.79
G+A / 90: 0.58
xGA / 90: 0.35
Goals: 3
Assists: 5

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

Previous Ranking: 6

Minutes: 1430
G+: -0.18
G+A / 90: 0.00
xGA / 90: 0.07
Goals: 0
Assists: 0

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

Previous Ranking: 7

Minutes: 1805
G+: -1.78
G+A / 90: 0.10
xGA / 90: 0.09
Goals: 0
Assists: 2

Leon has played a lot for Philly and is valued defensively, but he is playing the 8 and I am not sure he is the best option for Jim Curtin. I wonder if it is time to transition to Jack McGlynn. Leon’s G+ number is pretty poor, in fact, it’s the lowest on this list for all non goalkeepers. 

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

Previous Ranking: 8

Minutes: 970
G+: -0.26
G+A / 90: 0.37
xGA / 90: 0.37
Goals: 1
Assists: 3

Guti with the saucy assists: 

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

Previous Ranking: 5

Minutes: 981
G+: -1.13
G+A / 90: 0.37
xGA / 90: 0.24
Goals: 1
Assists: 3

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

Previous Ranking: 11

Minutes: 1127
G+: -0.12
G+A / 90: 0.00
xGA / 90: 0.06
Goals: 0
Assists: 0

Tayvon has started 4 of the last 5 matches and is playing very good defense. 

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

Previous Ranking: 9

Minutes: 897
G+: -1.09
G+A / 90: 0.30
xGA / 90: 0.36
Goals: 1
Assists: 2

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

Previous Ranking: 10

Minutes: 1129
G+: -0.63
G+A / 90: 0.16
xGA / 90: 0.25
Goals: 0
Assists: 2

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

Previous Ranking: 17

Minutes: 898
G+: -0.75
G+A / 90: 0.11
xGA / 90: 0.28
Goals: 1
Assists: 0

#13 | DM, Aidan Morris, Columbus Crew (2001)

Previous Ranking: 14

Minutes: 1050
G+: -1.30
G+A / 90: 0.00
xGA / 90: 0.03
Goals: 0
Assists: 0

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

Previous Ranking: 12

Minutes: 805
G+: -0.31
G+A / 90: 0.00
xGA / 90: 0.05
Goals: 0
Assists: 0

I missed this in the last version of the article, but it appears Sebastian broke his ankle and is likely out for the season. Unfortunate as he was getting the most game time of his young career. We’ll start to see him slide on this list as the season goes on. 

#15 | DM, Obed Vargas, Seattle Sounders (2005)

Previous Ranking: 13

Minutes: 851
G+: -0.78
G+A / 90: 0.00
xGA / 90: 0.06
Goals: 0
Assists: 0

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

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

Previous Ranking: 16

Minutes: 494
G+: 0.42
G+A / 90: 0.73
xGA / 90: 0.32
Goals: 2
Assists: 2

Cameron Harper came in in the 32nd last weekend in place of injured Serge Ngoma in what I am calling “the game they played the kids” and he scored a goal and added an assist. Cameron has been extremely productive when given time on the field with 2 goals and 2 assists in 494 minutes. Cameron is vastly outperforming his xGA/90, so I’d expect this pace of goals and assists to slow down. 

The goal: 

The assist: 

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

Previous Ranking: 15

Minutes: 630
G+: 0.56
G+A / 90: 0.29
xGA / 90: 0.37
Goals: 2
Assists: 0

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

Previous Ranking: 18

Minutes: 679
G+: -1.32
G+A / 90: 0.13
xGA / 90: 0.27
Goals: 0
Assists: 1

Owen is getting a lot of playing time, but is struggling to impact games as of late.

#19 | RB, Kayden Pierre, Sporting KC (2003)

Previous Ranking: NR

Minutes: 484
G+: -0.08
G+A / 90: 0.19
xGA / 90: 0.07
Goals: 0
Assists: 1

Version 10 of this article warned that Kayden was making a push towards the top 25 and he made me look good with his first career assist in the very next week. Noisy first career assist, but an assist nonetheless:

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

Previous Ranking: 19

Minutes: 557
G+: -0.47
G+A / 90: 0.00
xGA / 90: 0.32
Goals: 0
Assists: 0

Matko has been playing a lot recently while Djordje Mihailovic has been injured, but Djordje is back and that should result in a dip in playing time for Matko. Matko was serviceable while Djordje was out, but did not get his first goal contribution of the season. 

#21 | WING, Serge Ngoma, NYRB (2005)

Previous Rankings: 25

Minutes: 117
G+: 0.22
G+A / 90: 1.55
xGA / 90: 0.35
Goals: 2
Assists: 0

Serge got his first career start last weekend as NYRB went young ahead of their Super Cup quarterfinal. Serge was electric in the first 30 minutes of the game and scored his second goal of the season. He looked like the best player on the field until he hurt his hamstring and had to come out. This is the second lower body injury of the season for Serge — incredibly unfortunate and hopefully not a tear or anything too serious

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

Previous Ranking: 24

Minutes: 299
G+: 0.00
G+A / 90: 0.30
xGA / 90: 0.14
Goals: 0
Assists: 1

With Vargas out, Danny Leyva has seen more minutes as one of the two defensive midfielders in Seattle’s 4-2-3-1.

#23 | AM, Caden Clark, NYRB (2003)

Previous Ranking: 21

Minutes: 246
G+: -0.75
G+A / 90: 0.37
xGA / 90: 0.40
Goals: 0
Assists: 1

Word on the street is that Caden Clark’s time at NYRB is coming to close and he is looking for a loan reassignment somewhere in Europe because he isn’t thrilled with the amount of playing time he is getting in New York.

#24 | AM, Jackson Hopkins, DC United (2004)

Previous Rank: NR

Minutes: 392
G+: -1.14
G+A / 90: 0.23 
xGA / 90: 0.22
Goals: 0
Assists: 1

Jackson Hopkins recorded his first career assist on this very nice set piece delivery: 

#25 | CM, Jack McGlynn, Philadelphia Union (2003)

Previous Ranking: NR

Minutes: 336
G+: 0.47
G+A / 90: 0.00 
xGA / 90: 0.15
Goals: 0
Assists: 0

Jack got a spot start against New England and truly put on a passing clinic and he also had some really nice shots on goal from distance. I really think Philly would be better served with Jack starting instead of Leon Flach. We will see if Jim Curtin saw the same. Here is a comp of Jack’s performance: 

https://twitter.com/USMNTZ/status/1548484145696780296?s=20&t=8dFRLbFL2DfcDlfm3W1FRg

Dropped from the list: Damian Rivera, Jaziel Orozco

Version 10 Rankings >>>

Statistical sources:Football Reference, American Soccer Analysis