Who are some of the best passers in MLS?
That question is bound to prompt different answers from all corners of the league, though data from Second Spectrum starts to tell a story – at least when it comes to completion percentage.
Taking together completion percentage and completion % above expectation, it’s clear that Toronto FC midfielder Jonathan Osorio and Seattle Sounders midfielder Joao Paulo are among the best passers in MLS. Osorio passed 200 regular-season appearances for Toronto this year, while Joao Paulo has seamlessly stepped into the defending MLS Cup champion's lineup upon his offseason arrival from Brazilian side Botafogo.
The below players are ranked after analyzing 25 players who have attempted at least 60 passes (on the ground) that bypass 3-5 defenders during progression phases this season. In other words, the data helps tell which players made line-breaking passes that put their team in an advantageous position.
Others included are Seattle maestro Nicolas Lodeiro, Colorado Rapids midfielder Jack Price and two outside backs: NYCFC’s Anton Tinnerholm and Minnesota United’s Chase Gasper. The Lodeiro inclusion should come as no surprise, since his 10 assists were among the best during the 2020 regular season.
The full breakdown is below:
- Jonathan Osorio (TOR) – 92.06%
- Joao Paulo (SEA) – 90.91%
- Jack Price (COL) – 88.89%
Completion % above expectation
- Nicolas Lodeiro (SEA) – 8.87%
- Joao Paulo (SEA) – 7.17%
- Jonathan Osorio (TOR) – 6.79%
- Anton Tinnerholm – 6.01%
- Chase Gasper – 5.83%