MLS Fantasy 2019: A Graphical History of Major League Soccer
The 2019 MLS season is just under a month away and in the spirit of building hype towards the new campaign, we have somewhat taken a trip down memory lane, providing a series of graphics that highlight some aspects of Major League Soccer. We look at some overall records in the league, and also provide a history of the top MLS Fantasy players from the past two years. Interested in MLS but don't want to do the work to find out some of the basics? We've got you covered. All aboard.
Looking ahead to the future, sometimes a sense of history can help you better understand the patterns of a football league, but MLS is not one of them leagues, much to the sarcastic joy of journalists. With expansion teams popping up overnight to change the fabric of the league.
Below, if you're viewing off of a laptop of tablet device, you can view our Wishlist for the upcoming MLS Fantasy season.
Major League Soccer: The Record Books
For MLS Fantasy, the meat of their season is the 34-game regular season, with the league winners crowned as the Supporters' Shield champions. New York Red Bulls have won 3 o the last 6 shields, though they've never won the MLS Cup final (5 times the bridesmaid).
2018 was a record-breaking season for Atlanta's Josef Martinez, with the Venezuelan international scoring 31 goals in the regular season, with Martinez the first ever player to reach 30+ goals. Martinez was also voted MLS MVP, and as well as winning the golden boot, he took home the Eastern Conference crown by beating New York Red Bulls in the Eastern play-off final, before winning a home final against Portland Timbers to win MLS Cup.
Landon Donovan is quite the player in MLS, holing both the records for goals and assists, though with Chris Wondolowski just a single goal behind the former LA Galaxy player, 2019 is likely to break the all-time scoring record for a single player, with Wondo just needing two goals to make history.
Nick Rimando holds the record for appearances, clean sheets, saves and wins for an MLS player. One record that will take an eternity to beat is 144 clean sheets to his name. Seattle Stefan Frei is the next active keeper on the list with 66 clean sheets, so it's a record that will stand the test of time, most likely.
MLS Fantasy: The Top Players from 2017 & 2018
MLS's own Fantasy game highlights the positive and attacking elements of the action on the pitch, and that is well highlighted here with key players rewarded on the Fantasy board.
Diego Valeri and Nicolas Lodeiro have become staples of selection over the past few years, with both featuring in the Top 10 list from both 2017 and 2018.
Miguel Almiron's second and final season in MLS with Atlanta saw the influential attacking midfielder become the top points scorer, and he did so as an attacking midfielder. CAM's are points-magnets in the game due to the bonus points system, which provides additional points for a variety of actions (passes, crosses, shots, tackles, interceptions, tackles, etc), which means a CAM that is all over the place is worth his weight in gold.
Almiron, Moralez, Lodeiro, Piatti, Vela, Valeri and Acosta, all player behind a central Forward last season, with 7 of the top 10 top players from last season playing in CAM roles (and occasionally on the left of attack in the cases of Piatti, Almiron and Lodeiro).
The only two defenders to grace the 20 spots at Atlanta's Leandro Gonzalez Pirez and Sporting KC's influential right-back, Graham Zusi. No Goalkeeper's made the cut, with SKC's Tim Melia the best Goalkeeper from the 2018 season with 190 points.
MLS Fantasy: 2018 History
We end by rounding up the 2018 season, with graphics which highlights the final Eastern and Western Conference tables, the top goal scorers, the assist kings, those who loved a clean sheet, and the top MLS Fantasy player by position.
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