As the decade comes to an end, I ranked the top Canadian Players in MLS between 2010 and 2019. Here is the best starting XI of the decade.
As the 2010s come to an end, it marks one of the top decades of growth for MLS and Canadian soccer. The decade marked the beginning of Canadians getting classified as non-internationals (in Canada) and one of the most promising young Canadians, Alphonso Davies, made his debut in MLS. But who are the best Canadian players to have played in Major League Soccer during the 2010s? Well, here is a starting XI comprised of only Canadian footballers.
Before I start this list, this is what a player needs to have accomplished to be qualified for this list. To be eligible for this team, they must have played for the Canadian Men’s National Team between January 2010 and December 2019. The players also must have played in at least 25 MLS games.
So, here we go.
The options in goal were pretty limited. Under the current eligibility, I chose Maxime Crepeau as Canada’s top goalkeeper in MLS. Unfortunately, there were only two options for Canada’s goalie, and even that required me to stretch the rules. I viewed Crepeau as the better option because he has played more games in the 2010s in MLS than his backup and properly fit the criteria. He hasn’t had the biggest impact on the national team, but he fit the requirements, so he got in.
Canada doesn’t have many defenders, especially good ones, and unfortunately, even fewer have played in MLS. So, we’re going with a back three.
Doneil Henry is arguably the biggest player of note in our backline. So, you can probably see how few options there were, especially considering that Vancouver just sold him to a club in Korea. However, we can’t negate how good he is. He was a solid option for Vancouver in his time at the club and has been a staple in the Canadian National Teams squad for most of the decade.
Next up in the back three is, Andre Hainault. Hainault played for Houston and Canada in the early part of the decade. Another solid option in the backline, he is another of the few quality Canadian defenders in MLS. That’s all I have on him because I had no idea who he was until I was putting this article together.
The final member of the back-three is Marcel De Jong. Now a member of the Canadian Premier League, De Jong played for Sporting KC and the Vancouver Whitecaps during his time in MLS. During the fullbacks international career, he got over fifty caps and counting. Picking between De Jong and Ashtone Morgan was tough. De Jong had more international caps and played, on average, more games per season, which put him slightly above Morgan in my eyes.
I didn’t realize how many good Canadian midfielders had played in MLS over the years.
Let’s start with a true MLS legend. Patrice Bernier was a staple in Montreal Impact’s roster and played 56 caps for Canada. A dynamo defensive midfielder, he was a must to include for this list.
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From one side of the 401 derby to the other, Jonathon Osorio continues to have a huge impact on the Canadian national team and Toronto FCs roster. Breaking out with Toronto FC two years ago, his growth has been continual. He has made a serious name for himself in MLS and on the national team. He was a must for this list with what he has done in the second half of the decade.
Now, we’re heading back to Montreal to add Samuel Piette to the team of the decade. Another defensive midfielder, he’s been a useful piece to Montreal and Canada with his reliability and work ethic. Growing his name in both MLS and the Canadian international squad, he is an ever-rising regular and is become a household name in MLS.
Will Johnson is a true MLS lifer. Over 200 matches in MLS since his debut in 2008, he’s made a name for himself as a reliable defensive midfielder. He’s not exactly the go-to player when you think of the national team, but he’s been a reliable member for both Canada and MLS.
The last midfielder in our starting eleven is Russel Teibert. Teibert has made multiple appearances for the Canadian national team and played a tonne of games in MLS this decade. Not exactly a household name, he’s a similar player to Will Johnson, just a little bit younger.
First off, how could I not include Alphonso Davies on a list about Canadian players in MLS? He was the first big-name player developed by a Canadian club in MLS. As a teenager, he tore up MLS and the national team. He was the young up and coming star that got people excited about MLS and the Canadian national team. To not include him would be criminal.
Our final member of the starting eleven is the legend, Dewayne De Rosario. Few Canadian players have had such an impact on MLS. The 2010s were the end of his career, but he still played in both MLS and for the national team until 2015. He is a true legend in MLS and Canada soccer.
We had to stretch the rules for this one a little. Pat Onstad was much more prominent in the 2000s instead of the 2010s, but he kind of fit the parameters. He only played three games in the 2010/2011 season, so he didn’t fit the 25 goal minimum, but he played a lot of soccer in MLS during the previous decade.
The teams’ defensive substitute, as mentioned earlier, is Ashtone Morgan. Morgan was very close to being the starting defender on this list, but he was edged out via national team appearances. He’s not a star in MLS, but he’s been a reliable fullback throughout his career for both Canada and Toronto FC. He’s been loyal to both sides, and it felt wrong not to include him.
The midfield option was a tough decision to make. The final two options were Kyle Bekker and Jay Chapman. I’ve gone with Bekker because Chapman has never been a regular starter. Chapman may get that opportunity in the next decade with Orlando, but up until now he hasn’t produced or had a big enough impact on the league and national team. Bekker played more minutes in MLS, and I think that pushed him even further ahead of Chapman. Chapman has been a career bench player, Bekker consistently started.
Finally, our attacking option is Cyle Larin. Larin was disappointing in MLS, and I don’t think anybody can deny that. He was paged to be much better than he is and turned into a bit of a bust, but he still had a pretty major impact on MLS. It was tough not going with Tesho Akindele and Tosaint Ricketts, but Larin just had a bit more of a star factor in MLS.
So, that’s my Canadian MLS team of the decade. Who’s yours? Let me know in the comments and give some reasoning behind your picks. Do you want to see me do any more of these? If you do, let me know in the comments, or on Twitter, and I’ll try to do them as soon as possible.