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The 10 players with the most goals and assists in MLS in 2024: Can anyone catch Lionel Messi?

Lionel Messi unsurprisingly features in the players with the most goal contributions (goals plus assists) in the 2024 MLS season, but which other familiar faces make the list alongside the former Barcelona icon?

There are a couple of old Premier League stars among some lesser-known players when it comes to those who’ve made the most telling contributions in the final third in Major League Soccer this year.

Without further ado, here are the top 10 players for combined goals and assists in the current 2024 MLS season.

Note: if two players are tied on goal contributions, we’ve ordered them by their ratio of goals and assists per minute.

10. Cristian Espinoza – 8 (1 goal, 7 assists)

The Argentinian winger has only scored one MLS goal for San Jose Earthquakes this season, but only a certain Inter Miami star has more assists.

Espinoza has picked up where he left off last season, in which he notched a career-best tally of 13 goals and 13 assists – a return that earned him a place in the MLS All-Star XI earlier this year.

Settled in San Jose, the 29-year-old is revelling in testing himself against the very best.

“For me, as an Argentinean, it was one of the greatest joys to be able to see Messi lifting the World Cup,” Espinoza told AS USA Latino.

“It was the only thing he needed to crown himself as the best player of all time in front of millions of people. For me and a lot of other people, his status was never in any doubt – it was already undisputed. The World Cup put him in a place where it could never be erased.

“Having Messi in Major League Soccer is spectacular. His arrival brings both him and MLS a lot of exposure worldwide.”

9. Joseph Paintsil – 8 (4 goals, 4 assists)

Scouted from his time at Ghanaian side Tema Youth, Paintsil has spent the last eight years turning out in European football with Ferencvaros, Genk and Ankaragucu.

Earlier this year he signed with LA Galaxy and is enjoying a promising debut campaign in the United States, notching four goals and four assists for Greg Vanney’s side, who currently sit third in the Western Conference table.

8. Denis Bouanga – 8 (6 goals, 2 assists)

Born and raised in Le Mans prior to developing his skills in Lorient’s academy, Gabon international Bouanga flitted between the top two tiers of French football before moving to LAFC in 2022.

Last season he really came into his own, ending up MLS’ top scorer with 20 goals, including a late consolation effort in LAFC’s MLS Cup final defeat to Columbus Crew.

This season he’s picked up where he left off, notching six goals and two assists in his first 11 MLS appearances of 2024.

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7. Dante Venzeir – 8 (2 goals, 6 assists)

Venzeir, who received once cap for Belgium back in 2021, has started off the 2024 campaign in fine fettle.

Last season he notched just two goals and one assist for New York Red Bulls, having played a peripheral squad role, but in 2024 he’s thriving with the responsibility of more regular starts.

So far this campaign the forward averages a direct goal contribution every 78 minutes. That’s a ratio only bettered by the two star names at the top of this list.

6. Robin Lod – 9 (3 goals, 6 assists)

Finland won’t be at Euro 2024 this summer, allowing long-serving stalwart Lod to focus on his club matters with Minnesota United.

The 31-year-old midfielder is one appearance short of a century in MLS for Minnesota. He’s been a consistently solid performer for the club, and is now into his sixth campaign.

Lod’s notched five assists in his last five MLS appearances and recently caught the eye by scoring one and setting up the other two in Minnesota’s 3-0 victory over Charlotte FC.

5. Christian Benteke – 9 (8 goals, 1 assist)

Once a regular in the Premier League, nowadays Benteke is enjoying himself up top for D.C. United.

He notched 14 goals in his first full season with the club, in which he was coached by Wayne Rooney, but looks likely to better that return in 2024 with eight goals in nine appearances under new boss Troy Lesesne.

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4. Luciano Acosta – 10 (5 goals, 5 assists)

Like Espinoza, Acosta is an experienced Argentinian that is yet to get a call-up for the national team.

A product of the Boca Juniors academy, the attacking midfielder’s career has taken him from D.C. United to Liga MX side Atlas and back to Major League Soccer with FC Cincinnati, where he’s found a settled home since 2021.

Last season, Acosta was named MLS’ Most Valuable Player after his starring role in Cincinnati’s Supporters Shield victory, and the 2024 campaign is shaping up to be another strong one for the 29-year-old.

There are whispers that he’s begun a citizenship process and is aiming to represent the USMNT on home soil in the 2026 World Cup. Watch this space.

3. Cristian Arango – 12 (9 goals, 3 assists)

“Chicho” Arango was named the MLS Newcomer of the Year in 2021, won both the MLS Cup and Supporters Shield with LAFC the following year, and is now in the form of his life for Real Salt Lake.

Seven of his nine goals and two of his assists this season have come in his last six MLS appearances. There’s no stopping him at the moment.

He hasn’t been capped by Colombia since 2021, but keep up this kind of form and he might just make their Copa America squad this summer.

Los Angeles Galaxy, players including Landon Donovan holding the trophy, and David Beckham, front left, celebrate after defeating the the Houston Dynamo 3-1 in the MLS Cup championship soccer game, Saturday, Dec. 1, 2012, in Carson, Calif.

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2. Luis Suarez – 15 (10 goals, 5 assists)

Since being let go by Barcelona four years ago, Suarez has been on a mission to enjoy the twilight years of his career, lifting silverware with Atletico Madrid, Gremio and boyhood Uruguayan club Nacional before reuniting with old pal Messi at Inter Miami.

He might be 37 and considerably less mobile, but he hasn’t lost that eye for goal. The veteran has either scored or assisted in seven of his last eight MLS starts for Inter Miami, while his second-half hat-trick against New York Red Bulls – each goal assisted by Messi, of course – underlined his game-changing ability at this level.

1. Lionel Messi – 19 (10 goals, 9 assists)

The eight-time Ballon d’Or winner is making mincemeat of MLS defences as everyone expected he might.

The most ridiculous thing is that Messi tops this list having played fewer minutes than anyone else, with injuries limiting him to starting just seven of Inter Miami’s 12 MLS outings so far.

Messi is both the top scorer and top assister in the 2024 MLS season so far, averaging a direct goal contribution every 35 minutes. We are not worthy.

Lionel Messi leads MLS for goals and assists in 2024