Only two field players in MLS started all 34 regular season matches for their respective clubs in 2015: Columbus Crew winger Ethan Finlay and Red Bulls midfielder Felipe. Starting every game in an MLS season is more challenging than one might think. Because MLS often does not recognize FIFA dates, international call-ups frequently pull some of the league's top talent away from their clubs. Additionally there is always the risk of injury or suspension which certainly take their toll. Here's a quick sneak pick at this year's ironmen:
Finlay - After two quiet seasons as a reserve for Columbus, Finlay exploded onto the scene in 2014 with 11 goals and seven assists as he seized a starting role midway through the season. Finlay continued to be a force for the Crew in 2015 scoring 12 goals and finishing fifth in the league with 13 assists as he helped the Crew to the two seed in the Eastern Conference. Finlay has never appeared for the United States, and is also eligible to play internationally for Canada.
Felipe - Felipe spent his first three seasons playing for Montreal before being traded to New York this past January. The trade paid immediate dividends for the Red Bulls as Felipe became a staple in the Red Bulls midfield teaming with Sacha Kljestan, Dax McCarty, Lloyd Sam and Mike Grella to provide continuity and consistency throughout the season; a HUGE reason the Red Bulls are your 2015 Supporter's Shield winners. Felipe scored three goals and had five assists on the year. Born in Brazil, Felipe has never been in the international soccer picture.
Here's a rundown of the other players who have started 34 games in a season since the regular season schedule grew to 34 games following the 2010 season:
2014 - Giles Barnes (Houston), Bobby Boswell (DC United), Raymon Gaddis (Philadelphia)
2013 - Darlington Nagbe (Portland), Dominic Oduro (Montreal), Sam Cronin (Colorado), Jalil Anibaba (Sporting Kansas City), Austin Berry (Philadelphia), José Gonçalves (New England)
2012 - Eddie Gaven (Columbus), Drew Moor (Colorado)
2011 - Brad Davis (Houston), Kosuke Kimura (Colorado), Sebastián Miranda (Columbus), Joel Lindpere (NYRB), Jeff Larentowicz (Chicago), Nick LaBrocca (Colorado), Sébastien Le Toux (Philadelphia)