The eight month long MLS season has come to a close. Since Dirty South Soccer and the Talent Train didn't exist back in March, we decided to rate each of the featured players on their performance throughout the season. Let us know your ratings in the comments below.
- Chris Duvall (New York Red Bulls): Duvall was limited to only half a season this year after suffering a severe leg injury in early July. In his 15 appearances, he kept 4 clean sheets and the right back scored one goal which was the winner against rivals New York City and recorded one assist against Vancouver Whitecaps. Defensively, Duvall was solid, averaging 3.4 tackles, 2.3 interceptions, and 1.4 clearances per game. Going forward, Duvall provided just under 1 cross a game, completed 74% of his passes and averaged 37 passes a game. With Duvall on the field, the eventual MLS Supporter's Shield winners won or tied 73% of their games and the right back played well enough to earn a 7/10.
- Chris Klute (Columbus Crew SC): Klute, who some consider to be potentially one of the best fullbacks in the United States has made 14 appearances and had 8 starts for Columbus this season. Klute struggled to become a mainstay in the Crew starting XI like he was at Colorado Rapids the past two seasons due to injuries and a slump in form. Klute did not score a goal or provide an assist but averaged 1.9 tackles, 1.6 clearances, and 0.9 interceptions a game. Klute completed 73% of his passes but only averaged 19 passes per game. The midseason addition of Ghanian defender Harrison Afful provided tough competition for Chris in the fullback positions and really struggled to impress in his appearances giving him a 5/10.
- Jack McInerney (Columbus Crew SC): McInerney spent most of the season in Montreal but was traded to Columbus in August for a second round draft pick. In Montreal, Jack Mac scored 4 goals in 17 appearances, including a goal that won the goal of the week back in week 4. For Columbus, McInerney netted twice in 5 appearances and earned an assist. Totaling 1,359 minutes for both clubs this season, McInerney averaged a goal ever 226 minutes. 6/10
- Joe Bendik (Toronto FC): Bendik made just 13 appearances as goalkeeper for Toronto FC this season taking on a secondary role to Chris Konopka. Bendik earned just 1 shutout and averaged 3.5 saves per game. With Bendik in the net Toronto had a 4-8-1 record. 5/10
- Kwadwo Poku (New York City FC): Poku made 27 appearances this season but only had 6 starts, in a crowded midfield of Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard, and Mix Diskerud. Poku's 27 appearances equate to just 983 minutes in which he was very effective, scoring 4 goals, getting 6 assists, and earning Man of the Match 3 times. Poku, completed 81% of his passes and also averaged 1 key pass per game. 8.5/10
- Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo): Clark made 30 appearances totaling 2574 minutes for Houston and scored 8 goals, including a brilliant strike against Dallas, and provided 1 assist. Ricardo was twice named MOTM and completed 77% of his passes. Averaging 1.7 tackles, 2 shots, and 2 long balls per game, Ricardo Clark earns an 8/10.
- Sam Cronin (Colorado Rapids): Cronin made 26 appearances for Colorado where he scored a golazo back in May. Cronin did not have any assists but was often played as the anchor, switching the ball from side to side and initializing the Rapids buildup. He averaged 40.6 passes and 3 long balls per game, completing 79% of his passes. Cronin was called into the MLS All-Star roster this season after a couple injuries, worthy of a 7.5/10.
- Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire): Johnson made 21 for the Fire this season where he managed to keep 4 shutouts and averaged 2.8 saves per match. In his appearances, Chicago held a 5-11-5 record. In August, Johnson made a pair of fantastic saves to keep put Philadelphia Union. Chicago were one of the worst teams in the MLS this season and though the blame does not fall at the feet, or hands in this case, of any one player, Johnson was far from his best. 5/10
- Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas): Zimmerman made 20 appearances for FC Dallas this season and played a part in 7 shutouts and was twice named MOTM. Despite suffering several injuries throughout the season Zimmerman has seen plenty of first team action. In April, Zimmerman was called into the U-23 United States squad in preparation for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio. In Week 11 of this season Walker was named into the team of the week after a shutout against New York Red Bulls. 8/10
- Warren Creavalle (Philadelphia Union): Creavalle spent part of this season in Toronto FC before he was traded to Philadelphia Union. He made a combined 19 appearances, including scoring a rocket earlier in the season and also had an assist. Creavalle was involved in 5 shutouts this season and averaged 1 tackle a game. 7/10
Two players I would like to see at Atlanta United:
Out of that list of players, if I could pick any two to join Atlanta United in 2017, it would have to be Kwadwo Poku and Walker Zimmerman. Poku has become a star at NYCFC and that's not such an easy task when you consider some of the DPs he lines up with especially being his first year in the MLS. He is just 23 years old and just a mere 2 years ago he was playing for Georgia Revolution, the NPSL team down in Conyers. Poku would have time to further develop between now and 2017 and his history with the Atlanta Silverbacks and Georgia Revolution would likely make him a huge hit.
The other, Walker Zimmerman would be a good addition to the side. Zimmerman is just 22 now but looks like one of the more experienced defenders in the league. In May, FC Dallas head coach Oscar Pareja said about Zimmerman, "His aerial game is amazing. He's learning to be more disciplined to the concepts we preach. I think his maturity is coming along also, (with) the way he reads the game." Joining Atlanta at age 24, he could anchor our defense for years to come.
Note: There have been no rumors linking Kwadwo Poku or Walker Zimmerman with Atlanta United. I am just suggesting that they might make a good fit in the team.