MLSsoccer.com released their annual 24 Under 24 list today recognizing the top young players in Major League Soccer. The Portland Timbers were well represented in the group with two players: forward Lucas Melano at No. 19 and defender Alvas Powell at No. 22.
Melano, 22-years old, has quickly made an impact after arriving earlier this summer from Argentina's Lánus. According to Opta Stats, the young attacker's 4.6 shots per 90 minutes rank first among eligible players to have attempted more than 10 shots this season. This also ranks fifth among all MLS players who have taken more than 10 shots in 2015. As MLSsoccer.com's write up puts it in describing the speedy player, "Any soccer player can run. Fewer can run fast. Fewer still can run fast and smart."
Powell, 21-years old, is in his third season with the Timbers and become a mainstay at outside back. His ability to contribute both to the attack and defense. As one of the MLSsoccer.com technical staffers says, "The thing that attracts your eye is that he’s unbelievably athletic. He gets forward with speed and power, he can recover in defending, he can cause you problems on both sides of the ball just physically." His stats via Opta back this up. as the defender ranks second in MLS tackles (112) and fourth in successful dribbles (57) in MLS.
It is the first time for either player to be included on the MLSsoccer.com list. Timbers teammate Darlington Nagbe was a three-time member on the list (2011, 2012, 2013) and was ranked No. 1 on the list in 2013.
To learn more about the criteria of how MLSsoccer.com created the list, visit the full 24 Under 24 section.