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An MLS Best XI of emerging stars (under-24, that is)

Aug 21, 2013, 7:06 PM EDT

Philadelphia Union v Toronto FC Getty Images

I’m not sure if this little exercise says what I think it says … but it’s worth talking about.

The young stars of Major League Soccer are shining quite brightly at the moment. Perhaps more than ever before, which makes me pretty optimistic about the collective league quality continuing to trend blissfully upward.

I think it says pretty good things about MLS going forward, and how domestic soccer in general is progressing in its sundry development initiatives.

Major League Soccer is in the middle of assembling its latest 24 Under 24 list. It’s an annual assessment of the league’s top talent under 24 years old.  I am on the panel of voters.

To be honest, this was a tough exercise, selecting just 24 to spotlight (based on technical ability, tactical awareness, physical talent, personality and potential).

But I dug in, did my best and, well, you’ll have to wait until the smarties at MLS get all the totals totaled to peruse the big list.

Meanwhile, here is my best effort at an MLS Best 11 among the under-24 set. I look at the lineup below and think, “Well, I’d take this bunch into an MLS match against … pretty much anyone.”

(Yes, Andrew Farrell is a right back for New England, but I still have a feeling that center back is his best spot, even if the current  personnel around Gillette Stadium necessitates that he plays along the outside.)

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  1. danielofthedale - Aug 21, 2013 at 7:29 PM

    Why Hamid over Johnson?

    • Steve Davis - Aug 21, 2013 at 7:52 PM

      Great question. I probably would have chosen Johnson, in all honesty, but he just missed the cut-off having recently turned 24.

  2. Steve Davis - Aug 21, 2013 at 8:02 PM

    Still really not seeing it with Rosell this year. Gives the ball away still a bit too much for me as a #6. And I think I’d take Teibert, Fagundez or Osorio (god please give him a better team before he gets too frustrated) over Mattocks at this point based on consistency. But goodness, look at that defense! Could be at least 2 future USMNT starters in there. 12 months ago, Chris Klute was playing for my hometown ATL Silverbacks. My, my.

  3. Steve Davis - Aug 21, 2013 at 8:04 PM

    And broadly speaking, there is a ridiculous level of talent that’s 24 or younger in MLS right now. Better than it ever has been surely. Think of who is not showing up on this XI above! Wow.

  4. wfjackson3 - Aug 21, 2013 at 8:12 PM

    I expect to see Soony Saad show up in this list in a year or two.

  5. overtherepermanently - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:34 PM

    And all but 3 are Americans, making it even sweeter.

    • soccerjohn - Aug 22, 2013 at 8:45 AM

      Nice point. Steve, it’d be great in the future if you could indicate nationality and age along with lineups like this one.

  6. creek0512 - Aug 21, 2013 at 9:40 PM

    Just send anyone that argues against expansion because of talent dilution here.

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