Let’s say this straight away: there are some seriously talented and trusty central midfielders who will not be on this list.
How many holding mids or central midfielders could put up a compelling argument for Top Ten consideration? Somewhere north of 15, perhaps?
Imagine if we had attempted to cram attacking midfielders into this ranking, too! (We rank those tomorrow.)
Our ranking of the Top Ten holding midfielders/ central midfielders in Major League Soccer:
1. Seattle’s Osvaldo Alonso
2. Real Salt Lake’s Kyle Beckerman
3. Montreal Impact’s Patrice Bernier >
The Canadian international came out of nowhere last year to provide one of the real stabilizing forces around the expansion club – never mind all those names attached to greater decoration. He’s 33, a little old for a central mid, but still manages to wear it well around Stade Saputo.
4. New York Red Bull’s Dax McCarty
5. Chicago Fire’s Jeff Larentowicz >
Perhaps he didn’t quite fit Oscar Pareja’s image of a midfield conduit in Colorado’s possession-oriented, short-passing game. Chicago was glad to take him in a trade, bringing that blend of rough-and-tough ball winning and reliable two-way play to Toyota Park.
6. LA Galaxy’s Juninho >
David Beckham’s busy central midfield mate at the Home Depot Center had been generally known around MLS circles as “the underrated Juninho.” We can all officially give that stuff a rest. Skillful, industrious and still quite young (24), he gets the work done on both sides of the midfield stripe.
7. D.C. United’s Perry Kitchen
8. Vancouver Whitecaps’ Nigel Reo-Coker >
Talent-wise, the England veteran may deserve higher ranking here. But we’re not 100 percent sure the center of the park is where Reo-Coker will land for Martin Rennie’s Whitecaps. And as we’ve said before, it’s hard to tell which Reo-Coker arrives, the well-liked leader or the occasional troublemaker?
9. Seattle Sounders’ Brad Evans
10. Vancouver Whitecaps’ Gershon Koffie
(MORE: full roster of ProSoccerTalk’s Major League Soccer previews and predictions)