PURCHASE, N.Y. – To be mentioned in the same breath as Andrea Pirlo, Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard is a point of pride for New York City FC midfielder Mix Diskerud, even if the mention comes in an ESPNFC list of players deemed overrated by their peers.
“If you look at that list, it’s almost an honor to be with those guys,” Diskerud said after training Thursday. “It’s just quality players, and every day of the week I’d like to be on a list with them.”
That list, compiled by ESPNFC in an anonymous survey of 123 Major League Soccer players, has Diskerud at the top. But the US international brushed off the criticism, making light of the survey.
“If I’m going to answer that, I’d like to answer it anonymously as well,” he jokingly said.
The Norwegian-born Diskerud scored the first goal in NYCFC history in his MLS debut last March, and the 25-year-old went on to score twice more and registered one assist in 27 regular-season appearances, including 23 starts. Diskerud is aware how that production is weighed against published salary lists.
“Yeah, I am overrated, but the top 10 percent of the guys on the income list in MLS you can say are [overrated] if you compare it to the average player,” said Diskerud, who was one of 38 players named.
Diskerud felt he played out of position wide on the wing last season and he was also adjusting to a new league. This season he’s back to central midfield and already has one goal and two assists in three starts.
“I think there’s a comfort level, because that’s where he really wants to play [in central midfield], I think it complements a lot of his skills well, and also I think it takes a little while to get used to the league,” NYCFC forward Patrick Mullins said. “I thought he did well last year to fight through some of the tough times when you do get used to the league. I think he’s really hitting his stride now.”
NYCFC head coach Patrick Vieira has also been impressed with Diskerud’s consistency in Year 2.
“What I like about him is his cleverness,” Vieira said. “I think he’s a really smart player and he gets things quite really quickly, and technically he’s really good, really comfortable on the ball. He’s smart, he can score goals, he’s a team player and that’s good.”