Mix Diskerud most overrated in MLS, ahead of high-priced stars - player poll

Major League Soccer players consider United States international Mix Diskerud the most overrated player in MLS, according to a survey conducted by ESPN FC.

On the condition of anonymity, 123 current players were asked for their picks of the league's most overrated and underrated players, as well as which coach for whom they most wanted to play, among a series of other questions on the state of the league.

The respondents named 38 different players as most overrated, led by New York City FC's Diskerud, slightly ahead of Toronto FC's Jozy Altidore.

Diskerud, 25, scored four goals in his first season with New York City FC last season. He has earned 37 caps for the U.S., but was an unused substitute at the most recent World Cup qualifiers in November.

He made $750,000 in 2015 and was the only one of the top eight players named to make less than $2 million, according to salary data last released by the players' union in September.

Three of the top four players named play for NYCFC. After Diskerud, players took aim at his teammates Frank Lampard and Andrea Pirlo.

The next four names were all among the league's top 10 highest-paid players. Steven Gerrard of the LA Galaxy was fifth, followed by his teammate Giovani Dos Santos and Toronto FC's Michael Bradley in a tie for sixth, with Seattle's Clint Dempsey eighth.

Orlando City defender Aurelien Collin and Sporting Kansas City midfielder Benny Feilhaber rounded out the top 10.

Some players cited the discrepancy in salary for designated players and the rest of the league as the reason behind their choice.

"I'm not saying Michael Bradley isn't a good player, but not for what he's getting paid," one player said.

But another player defended the salaries, saying: "You can't blame guys for making a lot of money. They didn't overpay themselves."

U.S. internationals accounted for 18 of the 38 players named as most overrated.

Most underrated player

The New York Red Bulls' Dax McCarty and Darlington Nagbe of the Portland Timbers tied for the most votes as the league's most underrated player, though both players also received one vote each as the most overrated.

McCarty was named an MLS All-Star last season for the first time in his 10-year career, but he last earned a cap for the U.S. in 2010.

Nagbe has made four appearances for the U.S. since gaining citizenship in September.

Next among the most underrated players were FC Dallas' Fabian Castillo and Portland's Diego Chara, followed by Dallas' Kellyn Acosta, Seattle's Osvaldo Alonso, the Red Bulls' Sacha Kljestan, Vancouver's Matias Laba, and New England's Lee Nguyen and Chris Tierney.

One player said of Colombia international Castillo: "I think he's going to be incredible. I think he's going to get sold to a top league in the next year or two for $10 million."

Favored coach

The Galaxy's Bruce Arena was far and away the most popular coach named in the survey, with 22 percent of players polled saying they would most like to play for him.

Vancouver Whitecaps boss Carl Robinson was second on the list, followed by Gregg Berhalter of Columbus Crew SC and Jesse Marsch of the New York Red Bulls in a tie for third. Sporting Kansas City's Peter Vermes was fifth, and Portland's Caleb Porter sixth.

Of the 20 current MLS coaches, only four were not named at all, most notably D.C. United's Ben Olsen, the 2014 MLS coach of the year. Also not named were three coaches who all landed their first head coaching jobs in 2014: Toronto FC's Greg Vanney, Real Salt Lake's Jeff Cassar and Colorado's Pablo Mastroeni.

Three players named new NYCFC manager Patrick Vieira, though he received only one more vote than the man he replaced, Jason Kreis, who was fired after last season.