MLS Top 21 Under 21

Wil Trapp, Columbus Crew - L W Johnson

Major League Soccer released their annual 24 under 24 last week. Most over there seem to think a 24 year old player is a 'youngster'. It's not. Here's a look at the best MLS players 21 years old and under.

24 years old is more a player entering into their prime. To drive the point home here in town for Crew fans, it wasn't that many weeks ago that Adam Jardy of the Columbus Dispatch caught Federico Higuain commenting on Wil Trapp's age:

"I don’t necessarily consider him to be that young," Higuain said last week through an interpreter. "Young in other countries means 16, 17 years old. I consider him to be a mature kid at this stage. As far as his qualities go, he’s very talented and he brings a lot to this team."

What a great quote from Higuain. Nothing wrong with a list like MLSsoccer.com put together, but call a spade a spade. It's basically a list of foreign transfer target players. Whether or not the editors of MLSsoccer.com know that or not is irrelevant.

With Stats, Inc's publicly available information I show 90 (or so) active MLS players that are 21 years of age or younger.

Since I track such things, I decided a good way to determine the better young players by using three different player rating systems. Mine (Helltown Beer), WhoScored.com and the Castrol Index.

HERE WE GO

First up are the players that fall in the 80th percentile (in the top 100 of the 520+ players currently listed on a MLS roster).

Rank Percentile Name Hometown Team Position Height Weight Mine Who Scored Castrol
1 91% Oriol Rosell Puig-Reig, Spain (KC) DM(C) 1.83 m 76 kg 95% 92% 86%
2 90% Diego Fagundez Montevideo, Uruguay (NE) M(LR) 1.73 m 57 kg 92% 81% 98%
3 89% DeAndre Yedlin Seattle, Washington (SEA) D(R) 1.73 m 68 kg 93% 94% 78%
4 88% Kelyn Rowe Federal Way, Washington (NE) AM(C) 1.73 m 68 kg 92% 90% 82%
5 86% Jack McInerney Alpharetta, Georgia (PHI) FW 1.73 m 70 kg 85% 76% 98%
6 84% Andrew Farrell Louisville, Kentucky (NE) D(R) 1.80 m 75 kg 87% 92% 73%
7 84% Andrew Jean-Baptiste Brooklyn, New York (PDX) D(C) 1.88 m 93 kg 86% 90% 76%

Oriol Rosell is a graduate of Barcelona's La Masia youth academy. He goes by Uri on the back of his jersey but his surname is Argerich (which you should look up).

Oriol_rosell_2013_for_hb_medium

Something else to note with these top seven guys is three New England Revolution players. Fagundez is a standout here as a forward player. He's got 11 goals (no penalties) and 6 assists in a little less than 2000 minutes. That puts his Goal+Assist per 90 rate at 0.77 (9th overall in MLS for players over 900 minutes).

Fagundez is a special MLS player.

Jack McInerney is another promising MLS forward but his brief call up to the US Men's National Team seems to have set his MLS season off balance. In fact, the Philadelphia Union haven't been the same since he was called up.

Moving down the list, next up are the guys in the 79-70th percentile...

Rank Percentile Name Hometown Team Position Height Weight Mine Who Scored Castrol
8 79% Soony Saad Dearborn, Michigan (KC) AM(L) 1.78 m 75 kg 66% 77% 95%
9 75% Shane O'Neill Midleton, Ireland (COL) D(C) 1.88 m 86 kg 74% 79% 73%
10 75% Russell Teibert Niagara Falls, Canada (VAN) AM(R) 1.70 m 66 kg 72% 77% 75%
11 74% Matias Laba Buenos Aires, Argentina (TOR) M(C) 1.74 m 70 kg 55% 85% 83%
12 72% Luis Gil Garden Grove, California (RSL) AM(CR) 1.73 m 70 kg 78% 61% 77%
13 72% Joao Plata Guayaquil, Ecuador (RSL) FW 1.60 m 64 kg 77% 63% 77%
14 70% Olmes Garcia Barranquilla, Colombia (RSL) FW 1.83 m 79 kg 61% 71% 78%

Matias Laba and Joao Plata might be the two more known players here but Soony Saad is really starting to steal the show.

Even outside of Plata, Real Salt Lake has a couple more gems here in Luis Gil and Olmes Garcia.

You'll note that Saad is rated very highly by Castrol (a outlying point). You sort of see that with McInerney as well. MLS loves these guys. Upcoming you'll see a couple more that Castrol loves in Jose Villarreal and Erick Torres (standout).

Rank Percentile Name Hometown Team Position Height Weight Mine Who Scored Castrol
15 69% Perry Kitchen Indianapolis, Indiana (DC) DM(C) 1.83 m 73 kg 71% 72% 65%
16 69% Doneil Henry Brampton, Canada (TOR) D(C) 1.88 m 82 kg 51% 82% 74%
17 69% Jose Villarreal Inglewood, California (LA) FW 1.70 m 75 kg 60% 58% 89%
18 66% Fabian Castillo Cali, Colombia (DAL) AM(L),FW 1.73 m 68 kg 74% 61% 64%
19 66% Jonathan Osorio Toronto, Canada (TOR) M(CR) 1.75 m 72.57 kg 59% 63% 75%
20 64% Erick Torres Guadalajara, Mexico (GOATS) FW 1.83 m 72 kg 47% 48% 96%
21 59% Juan Agudelo Manizales, Colombia (NE) FW 1.83 m 82 kg 52% 49% 77%

(Keep in mind that this percentile is overall in MLS (not just the 90 or so players under 21)

TRAPP JUST MISSED THE CUT

The young star here in Columbus is Wil Trapp. Between the three ratings I looked at we see him at 24th overall. Pretty impressive, all things considered. He's really only just started playing in the last couple months. Fans of the Crew expect him to be a mainstay in the starting lineup for the foreseeable future.

A couple others just missing out are Marco Delgado (Chivas), Carlos Salcedo (RSL), Cordell Cato (SJE) and Kekuta Manneh (VAN).

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