Major League Soccer

The best players of MLS Decision Day - ranked

Chris Smith
Chicharito scored twice on Sunday to take his season total to 17 goals.
Chicharito scored twice on Sunday to take his season total to 17 goals. / Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports
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Decision Day is done and the MLS Cup Playoffs are right around the corner.

With so much on the line on the final day of the regular season, big players need to come up with big moments. And on Sunday, we saw just that.

The focus is understandably going to be on MLS Cup glory from here on out. But first, let's take a look at the top five players from Decision Day.


5. Damir Kreilach (Real Salt Lake)

A true agent of chaos, Damir Kreilach scored in the last 15 minutes of an MLS game for the fifth time this season on Sunday - only Adam Buksa has managed more (7). This strike in the 95th minute was the most important he's ever scored for RSL, without a doubt, firing them into the Playoffs right at the expense of LA Galaxy when it all seemed done and dusted.

It was the just reward for a great individual performance from Kreilach, who won a match-high six aerial duels, and attempted the joint-most shots (3) of any RSL player. He never let the SKC backline rest and put in the hard yards for his team.

No defender will relish playing against Kreilach in the Playoffs - the Croatian will not lie down until the final whistle blows.

4. Jonathan Lewis (Colorado Rapids)

The Rapids topped the West and crushed LAFC, and Bob Bradley's time in charge of the Black and Gold appears to be at an end. It was all going on in Colorado on Sunday!

Much of the drama was brought courtesy of Jonathan Lewis, who scored twice inside 53 minutes to put the Rapids into a 3-0 lead, which they eventually extended to 5-2.

Lewis terrorized the LAFC defense throughout, attempting three shots, completing three dribbles, and creating one chance. Bradley's side simply couldn't deal with him.

3. Chicharito (LA Galaxy)

As he has done so many times this season, Chicharito put the LA Galaxy on his back and dragged them forward on Decision Day. The Mexican was watched closely by the Minnesota center-backs, but still managed to hold the ball up brilliantly. Most importantly, he scored with his only two serious looks at goal all night. The best example of an instinctive goalscorer.

Unfortunately, the rest of his teak didn't raise their level with him and could only manage a 3-3 draw with the Loons. Kreilach's late winner for RSL sent LA crashing out of Playoff contention.

Had Chicharito been fully fit for the entire season, there's absolutely no doubt the Galaxy would be in the post-season. That's a damning indictment on LA and a huge credit to Hernandez in equal measure. But this was, at the very least, a damn fine way to end his individual season.

2. Lucas Zelarayan (Columbus Crew)

Like Chicharito, Lucas Zelarayan has been a magician in a pretty poor side this season. The newly-capped Armenia international said goodbye to the 2021 campaign with a mesmeric goal as the Crew beat Chicago Fire 2-0 on Sunday, though it was ultimately futile in their attempts to make the Playoffs.

By the time the final whistle blew, Zelarayan had completed five dribbles, created five chances, and attempted eight shots - all match-highs.

The Fire simply couldn't live with him. Caleb Porter simply must figure out the pieces around him to give Zelarayan the success he deserves.

1. Ola Kamara (DC United)

Ola Kamara just barely missed out on the MLS Golden Boot, sitting level on 19 goals with Taty Castellanos but giving up the award due to having fewer assists.

But it wasn't for the want of trying, with the Norwegian netting twice in the first half to fire DC United to a 3-1 win away at Toronto - like the Crew, it still wasn't enough to get DCU into the post-season.

On the ground, in the air, with the ball, and without it, Kamara was a terror on Sunday. After this performance - and the 2021 season as a whole - there will be a few defenders breathing a real sigh of relief at Kamara and DC missing out on the Playoffs.

Honorable mentions: Julian Gressel, Taty Castellanos, Brian Rodriguez, Kellyn Acosta, Sebastian Blanco, Yimmi Chara, Chris Wondolowski.

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