MLS: “Most overrated” Giovani dos Santos shows league progress

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - March 11: Giovani dos Santos
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - March 11: Giovani dos Santos /

MLS has come a long way in a very little time. And Giovani dos Santos recent “honor” shows just how far, in terms of individual talent.

Major League Soccer used to be a league of elderly superstars. It was treated as a retirement home. Some clubs used that star power to help bolster their appeal, but found little success building around it. It was a clear goal of MLS to get away from that distinction.

ESPN ran a poll recently where they anonymously asked players to vote for the most overrated player in the league. The results were, refreshingly, very balanced. The winner of the “honor,” Giovani dos Santos, won with only 11%, with second place achieving 10% and a close race all the way through the vote-getters.

One player noted that it was a lot easier in the past, because players like Pirlo and Lampard made it easy to pick out who wasn’t deserving of the mantle they carried. They were here based on their appeal on name value alone.

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You look at the people in the poll now, and you have to be pleased with how far the league has come. There are no more “shoe-ins” in the overrated department. Take dos Santos, for instance, the winner by a whole 1%.

Dos Santos first full year in MLS yielded 20 goal contributions (15 goals and five assists). That ranked among the best in all of MLS and proved that the LA Galaxy had used their DP slot well.

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The reason why dos Santos appears on this list is because of the stinker he unleashed last year. In the midst of the Galaxy collapse, dos Santos was only able to scrounge up six goals and three assists. You expect more from a league superstar, but again, the entire team tanked around him too.

I actually think it’s a bit harsh that he has to wear this distinction. It’s more than likely just the promise his name is tagged with that makes other players thing of him as forever incapable of reaching the heights he should.

Naturally, when the poll was ran at the start of last year, he was nowhere to be seen. He had delivered on his name.

Whatever the case, the overarching message is the same. MLS is settling in. They are moving beyond the realm of poor, superstar investments based on name value.

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So much so that the quest to find the “most overrated” player is not small feat. The race is tight and, frankly, inconclusive.