Alexander Ring - New York City FC - passes the ball in the pouring rain
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The top 10 revelations of the MLS season halfway through 2017

In every season in every league around the world, there's inevitably a group of players that exceed all expectations to become key cogs for their clubs. 

Some are under-heralded rookies, some make huge comebacks, some take big developmental leaps, and others simply use previous experience as bit players to reach new levels of performance.

With that in mind, we offer up a list of the top 10 revelations of the MLS season to date:

#10 - Luis Solignac, Chicago Fire

In his first two seasons, the wily Argentine forward failed to produce like a headliner, notching but five goals and three assists in over 3,400 minutes of play. In just under 1,200 minutes played this season with the Chicago Fire, Solignac is only one goal shy of matching those totals. He has suddenly found his MLS feet, growing into a capable running mate for David Accam and Nemanja Nikolic in one of the league's most potent offenses.   

#9 - Raheem Edwards, Toronto FC

The Toronto FC left-sider had just one MLS appearance to his credit prior to the season, so nobody bothered listing him among the team's strengths in their 2017 previews. Oops. Edwards filled in admirably as an attacking left back for several games, and stands tied for second on the squad with five assists. He also helped the Reds repeat as Canadian champs, setting up a goal in both legs of the final, including Sebastian Giovinco's "180th minute" title-winner.

#8 - Scott Sutter, Orlando City

The winter signing is one of the main reasons Orlando City are on a pace to make their first MLS postseason. The 31-year-old Swiss fullback has immediately staked a claim as one of the top two-way right backs in the league. Sutter has contributed a goal and three assists going forward, while averaging 11 total defensive stops per game. 

#7 - Jack Elliott

Right now, there is a league full of teams wishing they were smarter than Philadelphia, who grabbed the center back with the 77th overall pick in this year's SuperDraft. The lanky Englishman entered the Union lineup on April 15 and hasn't left it. In that 13-game span, Elliott has racked up 196 total defensive stops and looked solid on the ball, helping the team resurrect their season with a 6-4-3 run that includes six clean sheets. He's now a major Rookie of the Year contender. 

#6 - Oguchi Onyewu 

Is it odd to call a 35-year-old with 69 US caps and five World Cup starts a revelation? In this case, it certainly is. Before joining Philadelphia, the oft-injured Onyewu hadn't played a competitive match in over two years. It was a shrewd piece of business by Earnie Stewart, as Gooch has turned back the clock to log 201 total defensive stops in 15 games to form a happy surprise central defense partnership with Elliott.

#5 - Ilie Sanchez 

The Sporting Kansas City gate-keeper does things much more quietly than some of the league's top defensive midfielders, but he's been as effective as any in his team's framework. The Spaniard is less a tackler and more of a positional wizard, and his passing game is all 'keep it simple'. Sanchez, who has played every minute thus far this season, stands fifth among all midfielders with 143 recoveries. He's another big reason why the Missouri Azzurri are the stingiest team in the league.

#4 - Yamil Asad 

As Atlanta United built toward their expansion season, the loan move for this 22-year-old winger flew right under the radar. Now, he's busy flying past defenders. All Asad has done since arriving from Velez Sarsfield is notch two goals and a team-high nine assists (just one off the current league lead). And he's consistently productive, making the score sheet in 11 of his last 14 games.

#3 - Julian Gressel

The 23-year-old German was selected eighth overall in the 2017 SuperDraft by Atlanta. It's fair to say that the handyman has thus far contributed more than the rest of the entire first round combined. Splitting time between central midfield and right wing, Gressel has chalked up three goals and six assists while starting 15 of his 19 games. He's cool, mature and cultured, and on course to be a Rookie of the Year finalist.

#2 - Christian Ramirez 

Don't get us wrong; there were plenty of prognosticators who figured the Minnesota United striker could score some goals in his first MLS foray. Did any of them predict he'd bag 10 of them in his first 19 games for an occasionally overmatched expansion team? Probably not. Ramirez has quickly proven he's much more than an NASL hit man, striking in a variety of ways and even from half-chances. 

#1 - Alexander Ring 

The Finland international was not considered one of the league's marquee signings during the busy offseason market period. Hindsight being 20/20, he is now surely considered a real coup. Ring has teamed with Yangel Herrera to transform the New York City FC midfield, if not the entire team. In addition to becoming a fast Best XI candidate as a hard-nosed defensive midfielder (he leads the league in tackles per 90 minutes and is third in recoveries per 90), the 26-year-old has provided effective possession support for his team's loaded attack.

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