This year's 24 Under 24 presented by EA SPORTS ranking is out and you now know who the top 24 young players in MLS are, according to a panel of media members and MLSsoccer.com staff.
Of course, these players come from many different teams throughout the league and aren’t able to take the field together with the same crest on their jerseys.
But what if they had a chance to?
There is a wealth of talent in this year's rankings and you can easily construct a lineup that could succeed in MLS. That is the objective of this exercise.
With only one goalkeeper on the roster, the selection of FC Dallas goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez is easy.
Across the backline, you can start with rookie sensation Keegan Rosenberry at right back. The No. 3 selection in the 2016 SuperDraft has been one of the best players at his position all year and is one of the top 1-v-1 defenders in MLS.
The left back spot is taken by New York City FC’s Ronald Matarrita. He provides a lot of attacking potential from the outside back spot. If they took the field, the rest of the backline would have to slide to the left a bit as Matarrita makes his bombing runs forward.
Wil Trapp is currently injured and hasn’t appeared for Columbus Crew SC since August 27. For this reason we are going a different way in the defensive midfield position. Trapp’s exclusion allows us to pick the two-man midfield from the Supporters’ Shield leaders.
Carlos Gruezo and Kellyn Acosta have manned the central midfield for FC Dallas all season and would do the same for the 24 Under 24 team. Gruezo provides a powerful presence in the defensive midfield role, as he is one of the top tacklers in MLS, while Acosta has the range and technical ability that any coach would want in the No. 8 role.
On the wings we have two inverted wingers who have both the speed and technical ability to cause any defense trouble. On the left, Kekuta Manneh is maybe the fastest player in MLS and is the key cog in a Vancouver Whitecaps defense that has struggled without him. On the right is Jack Harrison, who has sparked New York City FC’s season thanks to his pace and 1-v-1 ability against opposing defenders. With both cutting in on their stronger foot, it should allow the two fullbacks to get forward.
Up top is a bit of an unorthodox pairing as Cyle Larin and Jordan Morris will have to figure out a way to work together despite both being more comfortable as lone strikers. Larin will have use his big body to come back and pick up the ball from the two central midfielders, allowing Morris to spring forward and run the channels in between the defense.
How do you think they should line up? Let us know in the comments below.