Top five players in Major League Soccer in 2024

List includes the competition's top scorers and only one goalkeeper among the highlights
Messi is one of the highlights at the start of the competition
Messi is one of the highlights at the start of the competition / Minas Panagiotakis/GettyImages

The Major League Soccer (MLS) is in the early stages of the season, and it's filled with emotions, whether positive or negative. In this rollercoaster ride, FC Dallas is facing a sequence of four defeats, while on the flip side, Real Salt Lake is leaving its fans excited as they witness the team's undefeated streak of eight games, the longest sequence in the league so far. Amidst this excitement, stars shine brightly, captivating audiences worldwide, such as the eight-time winner of the world's best player award, Lionel Messi. 

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With 12 rounds already played, it's time to highlight the talents that are shining on the American pitches. Let's analyze the top five players so far, who have stood out in this early stage of the competition.

1. Christian Benteke

Christian Benteke
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Christian Benteke is a striker with a knack for scoring goals. Leading the attack for DC United, he has scored 11 goals in 12 matches, making him the second top scorer in the league, just behind Cristian Arango, who is also on the list. The Belgian naturalized Congolese has an average of one goal per game. Additionally, Benteke shows versatility in scoring and has good physical condition, with all his goals scored inside the box, seven with his head and the others with his right foot.

2. Lionel Messi

Lionel Messi
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Lionel Messi is a living football legend. His brilliance mesmerizes sports fans, and those who follow MLS can see the world champion, from the Argentine national team, up close. Playing for Inter Miami, Messi has not only scored 11 goals, including one header despite his short stature, but he has also stood out with an impressive nine assists in just 10 games, averaging 2.78. His absolute ball control and unparalleled vision make him a force to be feared by any defense, and his presence on the field elevates the entire team, especially with his high pass completion rate of 81%.

3. Thiago Almada

Thiago Almada
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Thiago Almada has caught the attention of football giants in Brazil, such as Botafogo. Considered a promising talent from Argentina, the midfielder left Vélez Sarsfield in Argentina to shine wearing the Atlanta United jersey. At 23 years old, he has a good ability to create goal-scoring opportunities and excels in ball recovery. Almada also stands out for his passing quality, even surpassing Messi, with an 84% accuracy rate. Versatile, he can lead The Five Stripes as an attacking midfielder or on either wing.

4. Brad Stuver

Brad Stuver
Bill Barrett/ISI Photos/GettyImages

The only goalkeeper on the list, Brad Stuver is one of the pivotal players for Austin FC. The wearer of the number 1 jersey boasts an impressive average of 79% saves per game. While the Texas team strives to find balance in the competition, with 19 goals scored and 17 conceded, Stuver is one of the reasons the team's performance isn't worse, having made 63 saves, with 34 inside the box and 28 outside of it.

5. Cristian Arango

Cristian Arango
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Capable of playing as a second striker or even as a target player, Cristian Arango is in his second MLS club - he previously played for Los Angeles FC for two years. The Colombian is a standout player in the Western Conference: Real Salt Lake. In addition to leading the scoring chart with 13 goals, Arango has also provided four assists and has contributed to 63% of the 27 goals scored by RSL.

We all know that football is dynamic. There's a lot of action yet to unfold in the MLS of 2024, which has been catching the world's attention, especially with well-known players contributing to raising the standard of the game, thus attracting more visibility to the competition.