We are more than two-third through the MLS season and beyond the secondary transfer window, so for the most part, barring outbound transfers and free-agency moves, the MLS rosters are pretty set and we are heading down to the wire to make the playoffs. Many of the roles for these American U21s are pretty set, but I’d still expect some players to emerge and some players to get reduced roles after recent transfers get integrated into their new clubs. 

Trending Up

  • Jack McGlynn: Jack McGlynn is the story of the last month and he had a great performance a couple of weekends ago where he had his first goal and assist. 
  • Ben Bender: Ben Bender extended his lead on goal contributions with his 9th (3 goals, 6 assists)
  • Caleb Wiley: Caleb Wiley continues his very solid rookie campaign. He hasn’t been over the top outstanding, but he’s been very good for Atlanta as a LB/LWB/LW. 

Trending Down

  • Nathan Harriel: I am not exactly sure what is going on with Nathan but it appears that he might have lost his starting RB job in Philly. 
  • Caden Clark: Caden has stayed pretty quiet in New York and drops off this list for the first time. Is a transfer in the near future?

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

Previous Ranking: 1

Minutes: 1934
G+: 0.35
G+A / 90: 0.09
xGA / 90: 0.13
Goals: 0
Assists: 2

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

Previous Ranking: 2

Minutes: 2150
G+: -0.87
GA / 90: 1.25
PSxG +/-: 0.9

The big news for Gaga the last couple of weeks is that Chelsea has signed him to a long term deal and he has been loaned back to Chicago until the end of the year. This is the first major transfer for a player from this list this season. 

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

Previous Ranking: 4

Minutes: 1374
G+: -0.87
G+A / 90: 0.59
xGA / 90: 0.33
Goals: 3
Assists: 6

Bender recorded his sixth assist of the season, far and away the most of all U21 US players. You can see it here: 

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

Previous Ranking: 3

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

Not sure what is going on with Harriel but he hasn’t started the last couple of games. Did he lose his starting spot?

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

Previous Ranking: 5

Minutes: 1475
G+: -0.17
G+A / 90: 0.00
xGA / 90: 0.07
Goals: 0
Assists: 0

George will be out for a couple of weeks with an adductor injury. 

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

Previous Ranking: 6

Minutes: 1953
G+: -1.66
G+A / 90: 0.09
xGA / 90: 0.08
Goals: 0
Assists: 2

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

Previous Ranking: 9

Minutes: 1273
G+: -0.25
G+A / 90: 0.00
xGA / 90: 0.08
Goals: 0
Assists: 0

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

Previous Ranking: 7

Minutes: 996
G+: -0.29
G+A / 90: 0.36
xGA / 90: 0.36
Goals: 1
Assists: 3

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

Previous Ranking: 8

Minutes: 1028
G+: -1.20
G+A / 90: 0.35
xGA / 90: 0.24
Goals: 1
Assists: 3

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

Previous Ranking: 12

Minutes: 1068
G+: -0.59
G+A / 90: 0.08
xGA / 90: 0.24
Goals: 1
Assists: 0

A perfectly weighted through ball that starts the sequence that leads to a goal: 

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

Previous Ranking: 10

Minutes: 1010
G+: -1.12
G+A / 90: 0.27
xGA / 90: 0.32
Goals: 1
Assists: 2

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

Previous Ranking: 11

Minutes: 1171
G+: -0.69
G+A / 90: 0.15
xGA / 90: 0.24
Goals: 0
Assists: 2

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

Previous Ranking: 13

Minutes: 1173
G+: -1.54
G+A / 90: 0.00
xGA / 90: 0.04
Goals: 0
Assists: 0

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

Previous Ranking: 14

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

Sebastian is likely out for the season with a right foot injury.

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

Previous Ranking: 15

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

Obed is out for an indefinite amount of time due to a back injury. 

#16 | GK, Rocco Rios Novo, Atlanta United (2002)

Previous Ranking: NR

Minutes: 900
G+: -3.57
GA / 90: 1.40
PSxG +/-: -3.9

Rocco has not been great as a shot stopper, but he has been better lately and it’s hard not to make a big impact as a starting keeper. 

Here is a nice save from last weekend: 

https://twitter.com/MLS/status/1556008745200656384?s=20&t=pEP4shYaSf8VwEe1RE2Oxg

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

Previous Ranking: 16

Minutes: 589
G+: 0.40
G+A / 90: 0.61
xGA / 90: 0.31
Goals: 2
Assists: 2

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

Previous Ranking: 25

Minutes: 458
G+: 0.72
G+A / 90: 0.39
xGA / 90: 0.20
Goals: 1
Assists: 1

Jack McGlynn has a brilliant performance with a free kick goal and an assist to Quinn Sullivan. At this point, I am questioning Jim Curtin’s decision to start Leon Flach over McGlynn. 

Here is Jack’s comp from that performance: 

 

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

Previous Ranking: 17

Minutes: 725
G+: 0.43
G+A / 90: 0.25
xGA / 90: 0.31
Goals: 2
Assists: 0

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

Previous Ranking: 19

Minutes: 561
G+: -0.12
G+A / 90: 0.16
xGA / 90: 0.06
Goals: 0
Assists: 1

It makes no sense to me that a bottom table Sporting KC team is playing a late 30s Graham Zusi over an emerging young talent like Pierre. Why not build for the future? 

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

Previous Ranking: 18

Minutes: 729
G+: -1.32
G+A / 90: 0.12
xGA / 90: 0.27
Goals: 0
Assists: 1

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

Previous Ranking: 20

Minutes: 568
G+: -0.47
G+A / 90: 0.00
xGA / 90: 0.32
Goals: 0
Assists: 0

Matko is a consistently used sub for Montreal. 

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

Previous Rank: 24

Minutes: 612
G+: -1.69
G+A / 90: 0.15
xGA / 90: 0.23
Goals: 0
Assists: 1

Jackson has started the last five games for a struggling DC United team and he has struggled as well. It will be interesting to see how much room Rooney gives him to work through it or if we might see someone else like Ku-DiPietro get more of a chance. 

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

Previous Rankings: 21

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

Serge is out with a hamstring injury. 

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

Previous Ranking: 22

Minutes: 335
G+: 0.06
G+A / 90: 0.27
xGA / 90: 0.13
Goals: 0
Assists: 1

Danny has been getting spot minutes as a backup 6/8 type for Seattle. 

Dropped from the list: Caden Clark

Version 11 Rankings >>>

Statistical sources: Football Reference, American Soccer Analysis