A couple of days ago Aaron took a look at the top 5 goalkeepers in MLS, so I will now look at (in my opinion) the top 5 MLS forwards.
A top striker is somebody who can not only win games for his team by scoring, but by doing everything else. They are able to impact the game in almost every fashion, and make a bad team decent or a good team a great team. I will start with a couple of honorable mentions.
Honorable Mention- Thierry Henry, New York Red Bulls
Henry is 36 years old, and while he can still play at a high level, he is not in his prime. The former Arsenal captain has won at the world’s biggest stage. He won a World Cup in 1998 with France, a UEFA Euro title in 2000, and the EPL in 2003 with Arsenal. Henry scored 10 goals and added 9 assists last season. While these are good numbers, he doesn’t have the impact on his team that others currently do. His leadership is unquestioned, but New York have other players that can step up in his place.
Honorable Mention- Eddie Johnson, DC United
Johnson is one of the best aerial threats in the league, that is undeniable. However, the former Fulham man had 11 goals for Seattle last season, notching only one assist. The 29 year old has a well-rounded game, but he’s not the type that can take over the game creating chances for himself, and others. Johnson is better when he’s being set up to score, which is not a bad thing. He is a terrific player, but doesn’t necessarily make the other 10 on the pitch better.
#5- Federico Higuain, Columbus Crew
The brother of Gonzalo Higuain, the 29 year old has been with the Crew for since 2012. He has notched 16 goals, and 15 assists for Columbus. That is an amazing ratio for a striker. Without Higuain, Columbus are not the same team. He immediately made them better by doing almost everything to win. Although Columbus finished 8 points from 5th in the Eastern Conference, this was not without the efforts of Higuain. Without him Columbus could have finished a far cry from playoff contention.
#4- Marco Di Vaio, Montreal Impact
Since joining the Impact in 2012, Di Vaio has scored 25 goals in 50 appearances. Although he is on the other side of his prime (the Italian is 37), his play is consistently at the highest possible level. He had the third most goals in MLS last season with 20, and also had 2 assists. He also finished 3rd in MVP voting. His presence made Montreal a playoff team in the East. His 20 goals made a 7th place team a 5th place team.
#3 Landon Donovan, LA Galaxy
Landon Donovan is a striker, his versatility is great — he’s very capable of controlling either wing — but he is a true forward. The 31-year-old had 10 goals and 7 assists for LA last season. His speed, versatility, and play-making ability make him a top class striker in MLS. He can take over games and score for himself or create chances for his strike partner Robbie Keane and others. In 8 full seasons with LA, Donovan has 102 goals in 214 appearances. His career goal total of 134 is tied for the most all-time in MLS. There’s no doubt he is one of the best now or ever.
#2- Mike Magee, Chicago Fire
The 2013 MLS MVP scored a total of 21 goals with LA and Chicago last season. After his move to his hometown Chicago Fire, Magee set the MLS alight. He helped the Fire make a push towards the MLS playoffs finishing tied for 5th in the East, missing the playoffs on goal difference. Mike Magee almost single-handedly led Chicago to the playoffs. Magee has time to become the best striker in MLS, as he is only 29 years old.
#1- Robbie Keane, LA Galaxy
The second Galaxy striker in the top 5, Keane finished second in MVP voting last season. Keane, 33, had 16 goals and 11 assists last season, good for 4th and 3rd in the league, respectively. Once again an amazing goal-to-assist ratio for a forward. The Ireland international has been with LA since 2011, and has 34 goals in 55 appearances. Without Keane LA are only a good team. He takes them far and away to the next level of the elite in MLS. He played a large role in their MLS Cup victories in 2011 and 2012, and captained LA last season.
It was very difficult to pick out the best 5 strikers in the league (Jermain Defoe was not on the list since he hasn’t played in the league yet), and you may feel differently. That’s wonderful if you do, as we want to encourage the reader to give their opinion as well. If your top 5 is different, or you have any suggestions please comment below.