Diego Valeri, Nicolas Lodeiro - Portland Timbers vs. Seattle Sounders
Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

Season Countdown: 10 days until #MLSisBack, ranking top five No. 10's

The wait is almost over: We are just 10 days from #MLSisBack, so let's take a run through some of the league's top No. 10's.

The No. 10 kit is soccer is sacred.

Some of the world's greatest players have donned the shirt, which is typically marked for a creative player, one who produces beautiful moments of cerebral playmaking and timely goal scoring. Modern No. 10's come in all forms, though, as Miguel Almiron typified in 2018. They can be electric dribblers with vicious pace just as well as a traditional No. 10 like Federico Higuain

Just 10 days out from the 2019 MLS season, let's take a quick check of the top five No. 10's at this moment in time. The list is fluid and not definitive; It changes often.

Preface: To pick just five of all the quality playmakers in MLS is a perilous task. Shoutouts are due to Kaku, Albert Rusnak and Maxi Moralez for missing the list, but still being can't-miss ballers. 

5. Darwin Quintero

When Darwin Quintero is in form, he's unstoppable. 

The Minnesota United talisman had 11 goals and 15 assists in his first season with the Loons, including a stretch over the summer in which he had seven goals and seven assists in eight games. To boot: his goal contributions are delivered with panache, making him one of the league's most exciting players.

4. Lucho Acosta

D.C. United's Lucho Acosta was so close to becoming PSG's Lucho Acosta this January, but the Argentine is back in MLS for 2019.

Last season he had 10 goals and a league-leading 17 assists en route to a Best XI season. His connection with Wayne Rooney should only grow with more time between the pair this season.

3. Diego Valeri

As long as the Portland Timbers can call on 2017 MLS MVP Diego Valeri, they have a chance. Last season, he followed up his MVP campaign with yet another stellar season, with 10 goals and 12 assists before tacking on four goals and two assists through the playoffs, leading his side to the MLS Cup Final.

Valeri turns 33 at the beginning of May, so savor every match of his genius while he's at the backend of his prime. 

2. Nicolas Lodeiro

Nicolas Lodeiro was instrumental in the Seattle Sounders' historic winning streak in the second half of 2018, as the Uruguayan had eight goals and 16 assists in 27 matches last year. With a full season behind Raul Ruidiaz and Jordan Morris back from injury, Lodeiro's assist tally may well increase once again. 

1. Pity Martinez

Due to his move being long reported and expected before being officially announced, Pity Martinez's transfer to Atlanta United was a bit anti-climatic. But is an unprecedented move in MLS.

Martinez is the reigning South American Footballer of the Year, an award won routinely by the likes of Neymar, Carlos Tevez, Ronaldinho and Juan Sebastian Veron since the turn of the century. Martinez is entering his prime at 25 years old; He's further along in his development than Almiron was when he arrived in Atlanta.

It might be a leap of faith to drop Pity at the top spot without yet playing a game in MLS, but expectations are huge for a player with this kind of pedigree.


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