MLS Top 10 Villains

Every good story needs an antagonist and protagonist. This has been the case since the days of Shakespeare and continues to ring true today. This is even the case in the world of professional sports. We all have players that we love to hate. Though, if the hated player found their way to your favorite team, would you then support them? I guess that depends just on how intense ones level of disdain is. Today, we are going to shine the spotlight on Major League Soccer's biggest and baddest villains. The players you love to hate but would do anything to have on your team. 

10. Robbie Keane (F) - The guy scores goals, wins, scores goals, constantly complains to teammates, scores goals, and oh yeah, he scores goals. He puts so many goals in the back of the net, if you aren't an LA Galaxy fan, it is bound that one or more of those goals will come against your favorite club. Keane is living the life many of us dudes can only dream of. He is living the life of luxury in the city of luxury, his wife is gorgeous, he has money, fame, is an internationally admired player, and he wins, baby! Jealousy is often times the precursor to loathing. We can loathe Mr. Keane all we want but in all honesty, we'd all LOVE to have him on our team.  

9. Kyle Beckerman (M) – The dread head wonder, Kyle Beckerman is an absolute nightmare to battle against. He scraps for every loose ball, he is never one to turn down a shoving match, and is quick to step in for a downed teammate. How could you not want a guy like that on your team? A few years ago, Beckerman likely would have found himself higher on this list but his recent success on the US Men’s National Team has led to non-RSL fans tolerating his play. 

8. Aurélien Collin (D) - Collin is the prototypical machismo center back. He is big, strong, tackles early and often, is aggressive, and his bald head helps too. Imagine him with a Graham Zusi head of hair… Yea, the intimidation factor would be minimal. He is a royal pain in the keister to  play against, and rival fans despise his play. League forwards must loathe getting a beating each and every time they match up against him. He accumulates cards and gives bruises, that is bound to make a few enemies. 

7. Dom Dwyer (F) – Dom Dwyer sure does annoy a lot of MLS fans (or at least that is what Twitter has told me). I am not sure if it is due to his accent or the fact that he made a super soccer baby with Sydney Leroux. Perhaps it is in-part due to him being a handsome young fellow that tallies lot of goals. He is a thorn in the side of defenders and opposing fans. But let's be honest, if your team picked him up, you'd buy a Dwyer jersey tomorrow. 

6. Clint Dempsey (M) – Mr. America, Clint Dempsey is an enigma. He is supremely talented, yet many of his detractors will tell you he picks and chooses when to maximize that talent. He is often called "lazy" or "uninterested" when the ball isn’t at his feet. Some even say he fails to show up for a full 90 minutes. Not maximizing the God given talents can be enraging for fans but then he wow's us with a GOLAZO or mesmerizes us with a flash of technical brilliance that reels us all back in. Fans love to hate Dempsey. Personally, I am hot and cold with him. He drives me bonkers a lot of times but I thoroughly enjoy the spectacle when he is banging on all cylinders.

5. Will Johnson (M) – Johnson is the prototypical “hate to play against him, love to have him on my team” player. He is hard-nosed, has the ability to score game changing goals, and is a field general in every sense of the phrase. The very same reasons RSL, Portland, and TFC fans have loved him over the years are why every other MLS fan base can’t stand him. 

4. Fabian Espindola (F) - Espindola is a talented player, no doubt about it but his theatrics negatively detract from his game. Hating to play against a guy but loving to have him on your team, is kind of a badge of honor to many players on this list. Espindola on the other hand, I’d hate to play against, but in all honesty I'd never want him on my team. No way, no how! I find his flopping, whining, and hot-head mentality to be a detriment.  How about you?  

3. Blas Perez (F) – If we conducted a poll where we asked defenders to list the forwards they despise the most, Blas Perez would have to be at the top of the list. I personally am repulsed by his play so I can only imagine how opposing defenders feel. His constant flopping, incessant complaining about no-calls when he flops, his dirty antics, and the fact that he scores big goals has to drive defenders mad. Often times, I will turn games off that he is playing in because I can't take his shenanigans. Anyone else feel this way or am I flying solo on that one?

2. Nigel de Jong (M) – Wherever Mr. de Jong goes, his unruly and dangerous reputation is sure to follow. Prior to signing with LA Galaxy, he was best known in the U.S. of A. for fracturing the leg of American international, Stuart Holden. He is synonymous for bone-crushing tackles, persistent fouls, and overall buzzsaw type of play. He was nicknamed "The Lawnmower" at one point in his career, if that surmises anything for you. His first 4 months of MLS action certainly haven’t minimized his sullied reputation. De Jong has been red carded once due to a dirty tackle on Blas Perez (oh shucks!), and was also suspended 3 games by the league for a heinous tackle on Timbers star, Darlighton Nagbe. His preceding reputation and actions thus far in season one in MLS have rightfully earned him a top spot on this list.

1. Steven Lenhart (F) – When you take into consideration MLS players, fans, and pundits the consensus number one villainous player in MLS at the moment has to be none other than, Steven Lenhart. I preface this next statement by stating that I am sure the majority of soccer fans would not prefer to see an athletes career cut short due to injuries, but I get the feeling their aren’t too many folks in the MLS sphere that are heartbroken that Lenhart has been MIA the last season and a half. Whether it is bull in a china shop type of forward play, his ability to get in opposing players heads, his diving, or his horrendous goal dances, he isn’t a loved man outside of the Bay Area. To me, he has earned the designation as Major League Soccer’s Most Villainous Player! Congrats, Stevie!

Who is the MLS All-Time Villain?
Carlos Ruiz – Without a doubt the most abominable and least likable player in the history of our wonderful MLS has got to be, Carlos Ruiz. I can’t imagine anyone being able to argue otherwise. His antics and play speak for itself. He scored Cup winning goals, he flopped incessantly, he would roll around the field in pain (but not really be in pain), he would scream at refs, the guy is a God among crybabies. With all that in mind, if you do not think Ruiz is worthy of the all-time numero uno designation, I would love to hear why.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to bash me on Twitter: @mikecrosky