Matías Laba | Midfielder | Vancouver Whitecaps | Age: 23
Last Year in 24 Under 24: #15
2015 Stats: Matches played: 25 - Goals: 1 - Assists: 0
They are the unsung heroes, the ones who protect the back line, who break up play through the middle, who hit the un-glamorous passes that move play around the field, rather than the flashy, spectacular plays that crack defenses wide open.
It's a dirty job, but someone's got to do it. Arguably, nobody in MLS has done it as well as Matías Laba this season.
The 'Caps d-mid provides field coverage and steel in the middle of the park, and his ability to pick passes continues to improve. The casual fan likely doesn't notice him much, but every opposing coach certainly does.
What the technical staffers say: "Love him. He’s just good, man – positionally he’s good; he loves his job. He loves breaking up passing lanes, challenging for balls, distributing attacks. Distribution right now is sufficient – it’s going to get beter. Laba’s distribution is just going to continue to improve as he sits in the center channel and learns his craft more and more, and I think we're already seeing that, really, this year."
"What a courageous young player in this league. I wish we had him."
What Opta Sports says: Matías Laba has registered 129 tackles this season, first in all of MLS this year by 17 tackles.
- READ: Young d-mid the key to the 'Caps from beginning to end
- WATCH: Laba rockets one home from distance
What do you think of Matias Laba? Tell us in the comments below.