Diego Rossi and Marc Rzatkowski - New York Red Bulls LAFC
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Which MLS club has the most effective press in 2019?

When watching LAFC in 2019, there are a number of observations that seem to come up every match: Carlos Vela is really good at this game and, when they turn the press on, they are suffocating.

Bobby Warshaw explained why the midfield trio of Mark-Anthony Kaye, Eduard Atuesta and Latif Blessing are so great at pressing, and how they do it. If you missed it and haven't read it yet, stop what you're doing right now* and check it out.

*Well, by "right now" we mean finish this first then do that, of course.

It's one of many things the Supporters' Shield winners have excelled at this season. But are they the best in the league? That mantle has long been held by the New York Red Bulls, but has the absence of Tyler Adams taken their press down a notch? Let's see what the numbers have to say. 

The sign of an effective press is how often a team is able to win possession in the attacking third, requiring fewer passes before reaching the goal. Jurgen Klopp, the face of Gegenpressing in Europe, famously said “no playmaker in the world can be as good as a good counter-pressing situation." Here are the MLS clubs in 2019 who have had the most possession start in the attacking third per game (statistics per Opta):

So, LAFC haven't quite caught the Red Bulls yet.

The Philadelphia Union, who overwent a change of philosophy this offseason as sporting director Ernst Tanner sought to instill a high-pressing system, are third. The Chicago Fire and Orlando City SC round out the top five. 

On an individual front, who are the best ball-winners in the final third? Find out below.

Min.: 500 minutes played

Player Team Possessions won in attacking third per 90 minutes Minutes played
Carles Gil NE 1.94 1440
Aleksandar Katai CHI 1.76 1175
Kaku RBNY 1.58 741
Alex Muyl RBNY 1.52 827
Jamiro Monteiro PHI 1.42 1011

Revs midfielder Carles Gil leads all players in possessions recovered in the final third per 90 minutes, with 1.94. New England are sixth in possessions started in the final third. 

Blessing and Kaye each make the top 10 as well. 


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