Top Stories

SBI MLS Midseason MVP: Benny Feilhaber


Photo by Gary Rohman/USA Today Sports


At age 30, Benny Feilhaber is playing the best soccer of his career this season for Sporting KC.

For years, Feilhaber has been regarded as a top-level attacking player, a fact that has been apparent in a major way in 2015. With nine assists in 17 games, Feilhaber’s play-making ability has been among the best in the lead, while his five goals, two of which were game-winners, present an impressive tally for a midfielder.

However, where Feilhaber has been particularly spectacular is on the defensive end, an area of weakness that the midfielder’s critics have targeted for years. This season, things are vastly different for the Sporting KC star, as Feilhaber has displayed the ability and desire to track back and continue his impact deeper doen the field.

Riding Feilhaber’s offensive and defensive contributions, Sporting KC sit sixth in the West with the league’s highest points per game total.

With Feilhaber leading the charge, Sporting KC is now established as a contender, earning the midfielder honors as the SBI MLS Mid-Season MVP , beating out candidates like TFC’s Sebastian Giovinco and the Columbus Crew’s Kei Kamara. Here is a look at the top five Mid-Season MVP finalists, as chosen by the SBI editorial staff:


Benny Feilhaber has evolved into a complete player. Always an offensive threat, Feilhaber has become a two-way midfielder, tracking back and breaking up plays just as well as creating them. With Feilhaber showing that type of commitment, Sporting KC has overcome injuries and international absences to become one of the league’s best and, with it, establishing Feilhaber as one of the league’s most dangerous and valuable players.


Sebastian Giovinco was one of the more high-profile signings that MLS has ever seen, and the diminutive Italian’s play has more than justified the hype. Giovinco is the only player in the league’s top five in both goals (11) and assists (8). Involved in 19 of his team’s 28 goals, Giovinco has asserted himself as the league’s premier creative star.


Kei Kamara has returned to MLS a much better player than the one who left. The Columbus Crew forward leads the league in goals with 13 finishes, while his 89 shots are second in the league. As things stand, there are no forwards making the same impact as Kamara, a player that has proven to be the missing piece for the Crew attack.


Signed as NYCFC’s first ever player last year, David Villa is also NYCFC’s first option. Scorer of 10 of NYCFC’s 24 goals, Villa has carried NYCFC out of a frustrating start and back into playoff contention. With Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo arriving soon2q11, the service to Villa will soon get even better, leaving the Spaniard with the potential to be even more dangerous in front of goal


Unlike those listed above him, Juninho doesn’t provide pure numbers in the form of goals and assists ( four and three, respectively), but that doesn’t make the Galaxy midfielder any less vital. Charged with bossing the midfield, Juninho is among the league leaders in both passing and ball recovery statistics. While not the flashiest, Juninho has proven vital to the Galaxy’s success while proving to be one of the must sturdy and reliable midfielders in the league.


Who is your Mid-Season MVP? Who do you think should have made the list of finalists but didn’t?

Share your thoughts below.


    • ‘being MLS MVP’ is not a prerequisite for being called up. and when you’re a 30 year old midfielder who had his chance for the NT already it’s not that crazy that he’s not called up. personally i wouldn’t hate him getting a call up but its not a travesty if he isn’t.

      • Whybdies his age continue to be a deterrent for a call up when the likes of Brad Evans, Brad Davis, Wondolowski and Beckerman aren’t??? How about we just call a spade a spade and say that JK doesn’t like BF for whatever reason thus the continued snubs, and thats fine I guess because Jurgen is the manager but let’s stop making excuses with this him being 30 crap

      • “How about we just call a spade a spade and say that JK doesn’t like BF for whatever reason thus the continued snubs…”

        see I actually agree with you. JK doesn’t rate him highly and ADDED TO that is the fact that he’s 30 and had a rep for not working on defense. So him being 30 isn’t the reason he’s not getting called up but it is the reason that, personally, I’m not upset at the no-call. If he was a 24-27 year old that had played early in his career but then was not called up after that then perhaps you could say “well maybe the kid has improved his all around game like we liked”. But being that Benny is 30 (33 by next WC) its perhaps less likely that he would have a positive contribution (without a negative one, as well).

        To put it another way, ‘being 30’ is just one thing on the checklist as to why JK doesn’t want to call him up; much as ‘playing well for you MLS club currently’ is just one thing on the checklist as to why JK could call him up. neither is the deciding factor though…

        overall i agree he’s worthy of a call up and i believe in this very moment could help the team, but that could stop sooner rather than later thus it’s a lower ceiling for the future.

      • I’d still give him another look. I’d also bring in Lleget.

        Bedoya and Mix are pretty much it for quality as far as outside middies go right now. Zusi isn’t quite good enough, Morales isn’t quite ready, Julian Green isn’t nearly ready, and Gyau is recovering from a big injury. I think Darlington Nagbe could be an answer but he doesn’t have his citizenship yet.

        If we’re truly serious about a 4-3-3 – and I think Jurgen is, even if we’re not there yet – we need to keep adding technical, two-way players to the midfield, and Benny now qualifies as such. Personally I think given a long run-out, Benny is a starter at RW or LW, especially since in a 4-3-3 these guys are basically tucked-in shuttlers anyhow.

        Lleget I think is an upgrade as well.

        I personally love the 4-3-3 and that’s where the USA is headed. We could very much use both guys to help build that.

  1. Benny has had a good year, but KC is just the sixth-place team in the West. I’d argue that BWP (8 goals, 6 assists) has been at least as valuable to NYRB (3d in the East) than Benny has been to KC, especially given the low expectations after losing Henry. Giovinco is my MVP at this point as the only player in the top 5 for goals and assists, especially since he’s had to carry Toronto without Altidore or Bradley at times. Kamara has been solid, and I don’t see how you leave Kaka out of the discussion given that he’s the rock holding Orlando in playoff position (whereas NYCFC is not despite Villa’s moments of magic). Its a pretty wide open race for now, but I suspect its Giovinco’s to lose going into the second half.

    • SKC is leading in points per game, they’ve just played fewer games. They are second in the league with only 18% of their games failing to score a goal. They are tops in goals per games. Then, this isn’t as much a factor of BF, they also lead MLS in keeping a clean sheet 53% of the games. SKC has been the most impressive team thus far, though obviously LA will be a force moving forward.


Leave a Comment