15. Matias Laba
Pos: M | Vancouver Whitecaps | Age: 22
The young Designated Player had a tumultuous offseason, what with his hastily arranged trade from the remade Toronto FC, but his jump up the 24 Under 24 rankings (He was No. 21 last year) is indicative of his steady improvement on the field. Laba's a classic No. 6, an eraser in central midfield who cancels out the mistakes of others on the regular. No flash, all production, which allows the creative types in front of him -- Pedro Morales and Mauro Rosales -- to do their thing.
What the technical staffers say: "Based on what he did last year and the fact that he's a DP, I think expectations for this year were higher than a lot of young players. So for me his performances have been inconsistent relative to those expectations. But he's always got a good work rate, he's a decent passer, wins balls, and reads the game really well. He definitely adds something to the team he's on."
What Opta Sports says: Leads all players in MLS with 127 tackles. His 4.93 tackles per 90 minutes is tops among all players with at least 1,000 minutes played.
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