This question was submitted by Brenden R.
Hey, thanks for the question, Brenden!
There are a number of pretty electric dribblers in MLS, so I’m going to lean on the numbers to help me figure out who the league’s best has been so far in 2022.
All statistics are accurate as of Friday, May 13th.
According to FBref, the most active dribbler in MLS is Minnesota United’s Emanuel Reynoso. He leads the league in total successful dribbles and total attempted dribbles. Adrian Heath’s No. 10 is majestic on the ball, regularly weaving through opposing defenders to spark attacks. You can see that in this clip.
Reynoso is MLS’s biggest volume dribbler this year, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s the best dribbler in the league. His 57.7% dribble success rate is solid, but it’s not spectacular.
When you look at the most efficient dribblers in MLS, Columbus’ Darlington Nagbe and Austin’s Alex Ring are both sitting on a cool 90% dribble success rate, while New York City’s Keaton Parks is at 91%. Among players with at least 10 attempted dribbles this season, those three are MLS’s most efficient dribblers. It’s interesting to me that those three players are all central midfielders – and that the next ten or so players behind them on the efficiency list are almost all players who sit in the middle of the field.
I have long believed that central players who can progress the ball on the dribble add a ton of value to their teams. If you can destabilize an opponent’s defensive shape, why not destabilize it by poking through the middle? Players like Parks, Nagbe, and Ring along with center backs Sega Coulibaly and Mamadou Fall are helping to lead that destabilizing charge in MLS this year.
I know that’s a long and winding (half) answer to your question, but hey, that’s the way it goes. To be clear, Reynoso is the guy to watch if you’re looking for highlight reel moments, but if you want steady, value-adding dribbling, you should look towards the middle of the field.