The Biggest Stars in MLS


A new season of Major League Soccer got underway at the end of February, and a number of new title protagonists are emerging. The best finish Inter Miami has managed so far in their first three seasons as a franchise is 12th place, which they achieved last season. This term, however, they currently sit top of the pile after winning their opening two games without conceding a goal. They are level on points with the New England Revolution, who followed up their Supporter's Shield triumph in 2021 with a lowly 20th-place finish last season.

Neither of those teams is the favorite for the title, however. That is an honor that OddsChecker, which compares soccer odds and free bets, has given to the reigning champion Los Angeles FC. The California outfit won the MLS Cup in dramatic circumstances last season. Firstly, Welsh superstar Gareth Bale scored an equalizer seven minutes into injury time in extra time. Following that, his side managed to secure victory via a nerve-racking penalty shootout, claiming their maiden MLS Cup in the process.

The aforementioned Bale isn't the only global footballing sensation who has plied his trade in the United States. Over the years, household names such as David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Kaka, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Andre Pirlo, David Villa, Steven Gerrard, and Frank Lampard have all featured stateside for one team or another. And there are plenty of stars that will feature throughout the 2023 campaign.

Established Stars

Three of the Italian team that romped to European Championship glory back in 2021 are all signed to MLS franchises. The captain of that team, Giorgio Chiellini, turns out for LAFC and he was one of the key reasons why they picked up their first-ever MLS Cup last season. His Azzurri teammates Lorenzo Insigne and Federico Bernardeschi are still aged just 31 and 29, respectively, and, as such, it was surprising that they chose to head to North America rather than stay in Europe. They both play for 2017 champions Toronto FC.


The regular destination for heavyweight players in recent years has been the Los Angeles Galaxy. The aforementioned Beckham, Gerrard, and Ibrahimovic all played for the team, as did Irish striker Robbie Keane and Landon Donovan, perhaps the greatest American soccer player of all-time. This season is no different as former Bayern Munich and Juventus winger Douglas Costa, as well as Uruguay defender Martín Cáceres and former Manchester United player Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez, all play for the club.

Across Los Angeles, Carlos Vela is a teammate of Chiellini's at LAFC, while 2019 UEFA Champions League winner Xherdan Shaqiri features for the Chicago Fire.

Wayne Rooney played for DC United during his latter years, and now he finds himself thrust into the role of head coach. He has brought over former English Premier League stars Christian Benteke and Mateusz Klich.

Another former star across the pond, Victor Wanyama, now plays for CF Montréal.

Héctor Herrera and Roman Bürki have both joined the league from Atletico Madrid and Borussia Dortmund this season. They now play for the Houston Dynamo and new boys St. Louis City SC, respectively.

New Talent

But it isn't just established veterans that head to the MLS. A number of younger players have joined the league in recent years. South American playmakers Thiago Almada and Facundo Torres were both tipped to move to Europe; however, they both chose North America instead. They now play for Atlanta United and Orlando City, respectively.

Former Barcelona star Riqui Puig is still just 23-years-old and he is looking to follow in the footsteps of the greats at LA Galaxy. He has been joined by former Watford striker Juan Cucho Hernández, who is looking to fire the California outfit back to MLS Cup glory. The Brazilian attacking midfielder was the best player for Danish side FC Midtjylland; however, he has traded Scandinavia for the Portland Timbers.

Finally, Argentinian duo Sebastián Driussi and Emiliano Rigoni were teammates for four years between 2017 and 2021 with Zenit Saint-Petersburg. They are now teammates once again as they have both headed to Austin FC.

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