Earlier this week, we counted down the top 5 goals of the 2016 season and now we’re going to give a nod to the men who set it all up. Here are my top 5 assists of 2016 *Note* I did not include the Castillo Rabona pass or Mauro’s bicycle kick assist since we already noted those in the top 5 goals. Let’s spread the love around a little bit, eh!
#5 Atiba Harris vs Vancouver – Sunday, July 31
This is a pretty ridiculous pass from Atiba Harris. He makes it look pretty simple curling the ball in on a perfectly timed run from Maxi Urruti, but this is a ball that neutralizes three defenders while still allowing Urruti the chance to even get a shot off that he finishes brilliantly. It looks easy, but come on you couldn’t play this pass.
#4 Maxi Urruti vs Portland – Wednesday, April 13
In Maxi’s first year in Dallas, we saw just what he brings to the table. Obviously you want goals from your forwards first and foremost, but the work Urruti does off the ball hassling opposing defenders does so much. As Oscar Pareja puts it, Urruti is the first defender on the team and this assist is a perfect example of his hard work. He ghosts in behind Jack Jewsbury and tackles the ball off of him straight to Fabian Castillo who gorgeously flicks it over Adam Kwarasey for the goal. Timberrrrrr
#3 Mauro Diaz vs Seattle Sounders FC – Sunday, October 16
We’ve seen the little magician create some amazing goals over the last few years, but this one is right up there. Again, it’s something that looks simple but you’re talking about a one touch pass perfectly put on a platter for Pescadito to flick home. I think my favorite thing about this assist is the casualness of it all. Mauro looks almost disinterested as he plays in the perfect ball straight to Ruiz…plus any opportunity to listen to Carlos Alvarado’s brilliant goal call is a good one.
#2 Kellyn Acosta vs New England Revolution – Saturday, May 21
We know Kellyn Acosta is already one of the best two-way midfielders in MLS with the way he gets forward but still reads the game and breaks up opposition attacks, but perhaps an underrated aspect of his game is his technical ability. Kellyn has shown before he is a two-footed player and has an above-average first touch, but this assist is on another level. The crazy thing is, it’s not the first time he’s done this little one-two flick.
#1 Mauro Rosales vs Seattle Sounders FC – May 14, 2016
Mauro Rosales was truly a joy to watch in 2016. Into the twilight of his storied career, the Argentine only played a little over 500 minutes in MLS this season but was hyper-productive with two goals and three assists in that limited time. You may have forgotten about this one, but there are few assists that you can watch and say “Wow I’ve never seen that before” and this is one of them. The double flick by Rosales to go from thigh to boot and then play it perfectly over the top to Barrios who finished past Stefan Frei. This is truly a thing of beauty from a brilliant player.