Our lives are governed by a certain set of immutable laws; one of these laws is that noteworthy people, events and ideas naturally coalesce into groups of 10.
David Letterman turned his acceptance of this reality into a lucrative career. Nowadays, it’s fashionably iconoclastic to go against the grain (oh look, the top 9 or top 12 of something, how quirky!), but there’s a certain cosmic harmony to be found in a traditional top-10 listing.
Thus, your mind should be at ease while surveying the following countdown of the top Canadian players in MLS this season, knowing that it has been arranged in the precise manner that nature intended.
10. Alphonso Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps)
It’s no secret that the Canadian soccer community perpetually over-hypes young players in a desperate attempt to find the national team’s savior. That being said, Davies made his MLS debut this year at just 15 years old and didn’t look out of place among men—whatever happens from here on out, that’s still pretty neat.
9. Jordan Hamilton (Toronto FC)
Speaking of youngsters, 20-year-old Hamilton, who’s been in TFC’s system since 2011, made a long-awaited breakthrough in 2016, scoring five goals and racking up more than 1,000 minutes between league and Canadian Championship play.
8. David Edgar (Vancouver Whitecaps)
The versatile big man arrived in the summer, bringing loads of European and national-team experience with him. The Whitecaps will be looking to reload after a disappointing 2016, and Edgar could have a big role to play in next season’s push.
7. Fraser Aird (Vancouver Whitecaps)
The 21-year-old was loaned to the ’Caps from Glasgow Rangers to earn some more playing time. It appears to have paid off, as the converted fullback logged nearly 1,500 MLS minutes and continued making a case for his inclusion on a rebuilding Canadian national team.
6. Will Johnson (Toronto FC)
The midfielder got his own Bobby Baun moment in his one season with Toronto, breaking his leg while scoring the goal that won the 2016 Voyageurs Cup. That injury probably knocked him down a few pegs on this list, but he still put together a highly creditable homecoming campaign.
5. Tosaint Ricketts (Toronto FC)
After a lengthy repatriation process over the summer, the Edmonton native dove right in at TFC, quickly becoming a beloved super-sub with big late-game goals during the team’s end-of-season push and its lengthy playoff run.
4. Patrice Bernier (Montreal Impact)
The 37-year-old wasn’t always front and center for his hometown club in 2016, nor did he make a single appearance for the Canadian national team. But is he getting this spot as an homage to a career spent as one of the country’s classiest footballers? He sure is. Deal with it.
3. Tesho Akindele (FC Dallas)
Playing down in Texas may have left the 24-year-old out of sight and out of mind for fans up north. But the third-year attacker had yet another solid year for FC Dallas, making 31 league appearances (with six goals and four assists) for the Supporters’ Shield winners.
2. Jonathan Osorio (Toronto FC)
He was basically a walk-on with his hometown team in 2013; three years later, he was starting in MLS Cup at BMO Field—quite the ride for the crafty midfielder. In 2016, he proved himself to be an indispensable part of a high-powered TFC side with championship ambitions.
1. Cyle Larin (Orlando City SC)
Sophomore slump? No such thing. The 2015 MLS Rookie of the Year followed up with 14 league goals in 2016, once again putting him among the league’s top scorers. He’s started to attract some interest from overseas, but for as long as he’s on these shores, it’s safe to assume he’ll remain one of the top Canadians in MLS.