Goal.com announced their "Best XI" and Top 10 MLS players at each position this week and there is considerable respect and acknowledgement for the team's 2015 performances.
Three Crew SC players make the Best XI, Waylon Francis, Ethan Finlay, and Kei Kamara. None of them have flown under the radar as all were (eventually) selected for the All-Star Game this past July.
Francis made 28 starts and tallied seven assists, the most for left backs in the league. After a breakout 2014, Finlay improved with 12 goals and 13 assists, one of four players to record double digits in both columns during the 2015 season. Kamara was rightly recognized for his 22 goal season where he also grabbed eight assists.
The positional top-ten also recognized the strong play from nearly all positions in the Crew SC first 11. Only two spots didn't have a player ranked in the top 10 in MLS, speaking to the roster balance that Gregg Berhalter and his staff have been able to strike.
The ranking appear to rate season long performance highly. Impact players like Harrison Afful and Wil Trapp likely played better than their rankings by the end of the season, but were dinged for missing time. It's clear that both are upper tier MLS players and will rise if they play 30 games next season.
The two positions that weren't ranked, goalkeeper and left center back, were sore spots in 2015. The defense struggled as Emanuel Pogatetz started the year as the starter and then lost it to Tyson Wahl in July. Gaston Sauro was brought in to lock down the spot and looked better as the year came to a close. Steve Clark regressed after an excellent 2014. He gave up several soft goals while compiling some highlight reel saves.
Where each Crew SC player fell.
Goalkeeper: Steve Clark (Not Ranked)
Right Back: Harrison Afful (10th), Hector Jimenez (Not Ranked)
Right Center Back: Michael Parkhurst (7th)
Left Center Back: Emanuel Pogatetz (Not Ranked), Tyson Wahl (Not Ranked), Gaston Sauro (Not Ranked)
Left Back: Waylon Francis (2nd)
Defensive Midfielder: Wil Trapp (9th), Mohammed Saeid (Not Ranked)
Central Midfielder: Tony Tchani (5th)
Right Winger: Ethan Finlay (1st)
Left Winger: Justin Meram (8th), Cedrick Mabwati (Not Ranked)
Playmaker: Federico Higuain (6th)
Striker: Kei Kamara (1st)