After 10 game weeks in the regular season of Major League Soccer, there have been standout performers. We analyze a potential 2023 MLS Team of the Season with the early indicators. We’ve picked a simple attacking 4-3-3 formation with wingers and a sole striker.
2023 MLS Team of the Season
Goalkeeper: Stefan Frei
Starting off the 2023 MLS Team of the Season is the man between the sticks. We’ve selected Stefan Frei, the Swiss shot-stopper at Seattle Sounders.
He’s a fairly obvious choice having accumulated six clean sheets this year, the most of any keeper in the entire competition.
Defenders: Yerson Mosquera, Andres Reyes, Brooks Lennon, Kai Wagner
In true modern style, we’d expect this MLS Dream Team to defend but have the full-backs pro-actively support forward play when and where possible.
Yerson Mosquera might not be involved in the Wolverhampton Wanderers setup but on loan at FC Cincinnati, he’s one best players in MLS this season. The Colombian center-back has been prolific in winning the ball back from interceptions which have proved critical to the success of the team. In addition, he even cropped up with a goal against New England Revolution.
His partner in the middle is the very capable Andres Reyes from the New York Red Bulls. He’s been one of the few consistent performers for the team this season, having intercepted opposition moves and stopped flowing attacks.
Joining the defensive unit are two of the best defenders in MLS, as Brooks Lennon plays as the RB, while Kai Wagner takes the LB spot. In our system, the full-backs will press on in the mold of successful super-clubs. Think of Trent Alexander-Arnold as the template. Lennon has displayed pinpoint accuracy to play the ball at the feet of his teammates with ease and frequency for Atlanta United.
His German colleague on the left, Wagner, has shown similar skills with Philadelphia Union this year. He has the added attribute of being incredible at retaining possession. Furthermore, the art of defending isn’t lost on him as he’s chipped in with multiple key blocks to win the ball back and recycle the play.
Midfielders: Lucas Zelarayan, Gaston Brugman, Aidan Morris
Our midfield has a triangular system with two primary center midfielders who can collect and pass the ball, while Lucas Zelarayan can sit slightly above them and go to a shadow striker when needed.
The engine room of our 2023 MLS Team of the Season will require the best midfielders in MLS right now. The Los Angeles Galaxy might not be having the best season, yet Gaston Brugman in the midfield has been good in his duties. His 89% passing accuracy is one of the highest in the league and at this point, plus he has the most amount of completed passes.
It takes grit and determination to win games. Aidan Morris, the Columbus Crew #8, never gives up. With this central midfielder on the pitch, there’s always the opportunity to win the ball back as he’s consistently won aerial duels, made crunching tackles, and intercepted the ball. Add in that he gets forward and he isn’t shy to get involved with the goals, having scored a brace against Real Salt Lake.
He’s joined by his franchise teammate Zelerayan as it’s impossible to write such an article and not have this man mentioned. The Armenian international has been essential to the Columbus Crew’s ascendency (along with Morris) and played a major part in almost all of their victories. He’s also shown the aptitude to score from the penalty spot having scored the opener against D.C. United. He’s the full package as he makes insightful plays to get the team moving up the pitch.
Forwards: Jordan Morris, Cristian Espinoza, Alvaro Barreal
Have you ever played football manager without wingers? Of course not! We’ve picked a sole striker and two wider men to help Jordan Morris get the ball into the back of the net more often.
There was a time when Morris might not have become one of the best strikers in MLS. However, all such doubts have been cast by the wayside as the USMNT player has bagged eight goals already this year for Seattle Sounders – more than his total tally in 2022.
Our formation favors a winger system almost exclusively to take advantage of Cristian Espinoza, the Argentinian plying his trade at San Jose Earthquakes. The 28-year-old has been nothing short of explosive from the right side. This had led to him making numerous goal-creating passes and even scored six himself. On the left flank, he’s joined by a fellow son of Buenos Aires, Alvaro Barreal. The FC Cincinnati man is also a very creative outlet for his franchise having made four assists already in the opening 10 games.
Every team needs a decent bench. Now, some of which might be contentious to not start. Yet, there are more than 11 good players in Major League Soccer. Of course, a dream team could just consist of LAFC’s entire roster. Denis Bouanga could be an exceptional man to bring on. He’s got eight goals in MLS so far this year.
Facilitating our need for wide-attacking play, Michael Barrios offers a lot of options. The Colorado Rapids winger has played on both flanks. Subsequently, he has looked comfortable when being asked to be the difference in a game. This includes goals off the bench against Charlotte FC and St. Louis City.