I just had a hot sports thought that deserves to be shared. It was inspired the way most deep thinky thoughts are these days – by something I read on Twitter.
So much for Walden’s Pond and the like, I suppose.
Anyway, respected colleague Richard Farley just Tweeted about Patrice Bernier being voted MLS Player of the Month for August. Richard hopes or reckons (or somewhere in between, perhaps) that this will nudge some MLS Best XI discussion Bernier’s way.
The man has indeed been an out-of-nowhere revelation in Montreal’s midfield. (Bernier, that is, not Richard – although I’m sure he had some moves back in the day.) The Canadian international is a two-way influential figure around Stade Saputo and a key component in the Impact’s summer rise. As I said in the weekly rankings posted earlier today, Montreal has quietly become one of Major League Soccer’s top teams at the moment.
Here’s the problem with Bernier (pictured, left in the image) and his ability to land on the Best XI:
Right off the top of my head, I can think of six central midfielders that I would rank ahead of, or at very least right alongside Bernier. In no particular order they are:
- Osvaldo Alonso
- Kyle Beckerman
- Dax McCarty
- David Beckham
- Roger Espinoza
Now, that’s without even talking about Federico Higuain, who probably doesn’t have a big enough sample just yet to qualify, even unofficially. But he will (arguably, I suppose) by season’s end. So, toss his Argentine fedora into the big ring,too. (And, yes, I know he’s playing for now as a second forward, though I suspect you could classify him as an attacking midfielder for Best XI purposes, a la “De Ro” or Guillermo Barros Schelotto, etc.)
Then there are guys like Eddie Gaven and Brad Davis, who are really central men who happen to play (sometimes nominally) out wide.
And don’t forget, you can always call Dwayne De Rosario a central midfielder – assuming you adjudge his season Best XI worthy.
Back to Bernier and his long odds: Best XI types tend to tumble out of the playoff teams. Montreal’s chances look somewhere between “slim” and “not gonna happen.”