The 10 Greatest Ever Soccer Players in Mls History

Walter Zenga (New England Revolution)

The man they nicknamed Uomo Ragno (Spider-Man), was an ever present in the Inter Milan goal through the 1980’s, making no less than 328 appearances and appearing for his country 58 times.

Even more impressively, in Italia 90 set a record of keeping 5 consecutive clean sheets, totalling 518 minutes without conceding a goal, a record that still stands today.

He is now the manager of Serie A side Catania.

Richard Gough (Kansas City Wizards/San Jose Clash)

A no-nonsense centre half and one of Glasgow Rangers most successful ever players, winning 9 titles as part of the infamous ‘9 in a row’ team. Gough also amassed 61 appearances for the Scottish national side. His spell at Rangers was interrupted by a brief stint with Tottenham Hotspur, only to return to Rangers, becoming the first ever Scottish player to be sold for over £1,000,000.

He spent 2 years in the MLS with Kansas City Wizards and San Jose Cash, being named in the MLS XI of the Year whilst with the Wizards.

Lothar Matthaus (Metrostars)

Perhaps not just one of the greatest players in the history of the MLS, but in the history of soccer. Winning World Soccer Player of the Year, European Footballer of the year and Fifa World Player of the Year, Matthaus could play in defence or midfield, with a rocket right foot that earned him the status of Germany’s most capped player.

His managerial career, however, has not been as successful as his playing days, with short spells in Brazil, Austria and Serbia, and as of now in Israel as the manager of Maccabi Netanya.

Roberto Donadoni (Metrostars)

A vital key in AC Milan’s success through the 80s and 90s, when very few could argue against them being the best club side in the world (other than Barcelona’s dream team). Notorious for effortlessly running past players on the right flank, Donadoni collected 5 Serie A titles, 3 European Cups, 3 European Super Cups and 2 Intercontinental cups before moving on to the Metrostars, where he was named in the Best XI in the 1996 Season.

Now boss of the Italian national side, Italy are left with a mountain to climb in order to progress to the quarter finals after disastrous results against Holland and Romania.

Maurice ‘Mo’ Johnston (Kansas City Wizards)

Mo Johnston was a Scottish centre forward starting his career with Partick Thistle, and then spending a couple of seasons at Watford before his move to Celtic that would later earn him hatred across Glasgow.

Leaving Celtic for Nantes, vowing to never return to Scotland, Johnston reconsidered and done a U-Turn, claiming to sign for Celtic again at the end of the season. As the summer approached, Johnston changed his mind once more, this time signing for arch rivals Rangers. This infuriated Rangers fans as Johnston is an ex Celtic player and supporter, but worse still, he was Roman Catholic. Celtic fans turned on him, opting for the nickname of Judas, replacing his former moniker of MoJo, Rangers fans disliked him from the start.

Nevertheless, he scored 46 goals in 100 games, before moving back to England with Everton. This unsuccessful spell was followed by brief stints with Falkirk and Hearts, before joining the Kansas City Wizards, spending 5 seasons there.

Hw was more recently head coach of Metrostars, before being given his marching orders, taking over the helm of Toronto FC.

Mo Johnston’s last minute winner for Rangers vs Celtic, 1989

Denilson (FC Dallas)

At 21, Denilson became the most expensive player in the world when Spanish outfit Real Betis paid approximately $32,000,000 to Sao Paulo for his services. Renowned for his dazzling stepovers and skinning opponents on the left flank, he was regarded as one of the most promising players the game had seen.

Sadly, the promise he showed never really developed, mostly down to his selfish play by holding on the ball for too long, or as the UK would say, ‘ball-hogging’.

He only played 7 games for Dallas before returning to his native Brazil.

Carlos Valderrama (Tampa Bay Mutiny, Miami Fusion, Colorado Rapids)

Considered the greatest Colombian player of all time, his creativity and flare was only surpassed by his hair – a curly orange electrified afro. Elegant and intelligent with the ball at his feet, El Pibe (The Kid) never actually ran anywhere on the pitch, but with his level of skill, why bother? His status of legend was confirmed in 2006, when a 22 foot bronze statue of him was erected in his home town of Santa Marta. Brilliant.

Spending 6 years in the US, Valderrama still holds the record for the most assists.

Youri Djorkaeff (Metrostars)

Aptly nicknamed ‘Snake’, Djorkaeff was a cultivated attacking midfielder and formed a crucial partnership with Zinedine Zidane, resulting in France winning the 98 World Cup and Euro 2000.

Banging the goals in for Monaco, he spent one season at Paris St Germain before signing for Italian giants Inter Milan and Kaiserslautern, when somehow Bolton Wanderers persuaded him to sign.

He became Metrostars ‘MVP’ during his brief spell in the US, before an ankle injury forced him to retire.

Hristo Stoichkov (Chicago Fire, DC United)

Unpredictable and quite possibly insane, this tricky Bulgarian had everything: pace, mesmerizing dribbling and a devastating shot. Barcelona snapped him up from CSKA Sofia, where his temperament, passion and goal scoring record immortalized him as a Barcelona great.

He was also instrumental in Bulgaria’s unexpected run in the 94 World Cup, during which time they made it to the semi final, losing to Italy. Stoichkov also earned the Golden Boot, finishing joint-top with Russia’s Oleg Solenko.

David Beckham (LA Galaxy)

The man who needs no introduction, ‘Goldenballs’ is the most famous soccer player on the planet, who’s brand is more renowned than his free kicks and defence-splitting passes.

A style icon for every male in Britain whilst playing for Manchester Utd, Beckham’s commitments to his life away from soccer meant that his relationship with Sir Alex Ferguson was likely to deteriorate, as it did to the extent that Ferguson managed to kick a soccer boot at Beckham’s eye, requiring stitches.

Fast forward a couple of years, Beckham joins ‘Los Galacticos’, winning the Supercup in his first season. He had to wait until 2007 for a major honour though, when Real won the Primera league.

Whilst at Galaxy, his career has seen a couple of milestones, a 100th cap for the England national team, and a stunning 70 yard goal against Kansas City Wizards, almost mirroring his efforts for Man Utd against Wimbledon in 1996.



. by Greg Power