There are still six weeks to go before the start of the Major League Soccer season, but already we are sticking our necks out by unveiling the inaugural Yahoo! Sports 20 – our list of who we believe to be the best 20 players in North America's top league.
Certain factors have been used to determine the list, which is partly a prediction of who we feel is most likely to shine in 2008 and partly a work in progress – one to be amended and reshuffled throughout the season to reflect who's hot and who's not. Criteria such as age, fitness, motivation and offseason improvement have all been taken into account.
So far, no newcomers to the league have been included, as it remains to be seen how they will adapt to MLS. But expect to see new faces such as Marcelo Gallardo, D.C. United's Argentinean designated player signing, entering the rankings during the campaign.
Obviously, everyone will have their own views on who should and should not make the cut. Share your opinions with us.
TOP 20 PLAYERS IN MLS
2. Brad Guzan, goalkeeper, Chivas USA – Premiership quality, Guzan would have moved to Aston Villa if not for his work permit refusal.
3. Luciano Emilio, forward, D.C. United – His speed and clinical finishing are too much for most MLS defenders.
5. Michael Parkhurst, defender, New England Revolution – The best defender in MLS makes up for his lack of height with perfect timing.
6. Dwayne De Rosario, midfielder/forward, Houston Dynamo – A match winner who saves his best for the big occasion.
8. Jozy Altidore, forward, New York Red Bulls – Could be the future of U.S. soccer. The 18-year-old boasts strength, intelligence and maturity.
10. Juan Pablo Angel, forward, New York Red Bulls – A proven finisher who added an edge to the Red Bulls franchise.
11. Landon Donovan, midfielder/forward, Los Angeles Galaxy – He has his critics but continues to produce quality performances for the Galaxy.
12. Juan Toja, midfielder, FC Dallas – Made an immediate impact last year to hold together the Dallas midfield.
13. Sacha Kljestan, midfielder, Chivas USA – Emerging into a big talent and should evolve into a U.S. national team regular.
14. Maurice Edu, midfielder, Toronto FC – He deserved the MLS Rookie of the Year award. He's now looking for further progress.
15. Kyle Beckerman, midfielder, Real Salt Lake – This super-fit midfielder could spark an RSL revival this season.
16. Ben Olsen, midfielder, D.C. United – A crucial figure for United, Olsen gets the job done with no fuss.
18. Maykel Galindo, forward, Chivas USA – A key man if Chivas is to enjoy another successful season.
20. Wade Barrett, defender, Houston Dynamo – The no-nonsense, hardened defender is a great organizer of the backline.