Over the course of our rankings we’re editorialized about lists that were thin or difficult to decide. The striker list was neither. A position primarily judged by goals makes it easy to do an initial sort.
After that, you look for mitigating factors – things which transcend the goals: What’s the player doing to create for others? Were there factors that make the goal total deceiving? In the games that mattered most, did the player perform beyond his numbers? Given a sane general manager, which player’s more likely to be picked to join a team?
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If you keep those questions in mind, this order makes more sense. Not that everybody’s going to agree with our Top 10 Strikers in Major League Soccer:
1. New York Red Bulls’ Thierry Henry (pictured) >
2. LA Galaxy’s Robbie Keane >
3. San Jose Earthquakes’ Chris Wondolowski >
Any of these top three are “right”. Just depends what you want from a striker. Wondo’s Mr. Reliable. Henry’s got all the talent. Keane delivers when it counts. Ask around the league and Henry’s still the man, but No. 2 on this list? He has two rings and is coming off 22 all-competition goals last season. Oh, and the other guy is an MVP who just tied a record for goals in a season … so there’s that.
4. Seattle Sounders’ Eddie Johnson
5. Real Salt Lake’s Alvaro Saborio
6. Vancouver Whitecaps’ Darren Mattocks
7. Montreal Impact’s Marco Di Vaio >
How can this guy be this low (some will ask)? Five goals in 17 games last season, 10 goals in 37 during his final year in Italy, and the guy turns 37 in July. You tell me which direction this line’s heading.
8. FC Dallas’ Kenny Cooper >
Eighteen goals argues Cooper should be higher, but there’s also an argument to leave him off the list entirely. On a list that’s claiming Thierry Henry’s the best in the league, it’s reasonable to assume Cooper’s totals were significantly bolstered by the talent around him. How much were they helped? After his Henry-less year in Portland, Cooper wouldn’t have been on this list, and his time overseas wasn’t much more impressive.
9. Houston Dynamo’s Will Bruin >
Bruin proved in the playoffs that his abilities already transcend his numbers. He hasn’t put up a big goal total yet, but which of Dom Kinnear’s target men ever has?
10. New England Revolution’s Saer Sene