Major League Soccer

SBI All-American MLS Best XI

ReamBuddle (ISIPhotos.com)

In a year when foreign players took him many of Major League Soccer's top awards, and grabbed more than half the spots on MLS Best XI, it's easy to forget that several American players enjoyed strong seasons.

From Chris Wondolowski's Golden Boot-winning 18 goals, to Landon Donovan's latest stellar season, American players led the way for many of the top teams in the league this year, and while you could argue that foreign players are taking on a more prominent role in the league than ever thanks to the increased number of Designated Player slots, American players continue to play key roles.

So who were the best American players in MLS this season? Here are SBI's choices for the MLS All-American Best XI:

SBI All-American MLS Best XI

1st Team

GK-Kevin Hartman

D- Heath Pearce

D- Omar Gonzalez

D- Tim Ream

D- Nat Borchers

M- Landon Donovan

M- Bobby Convey

M- Daniel Hernandez

M- Jeff Larentowicz

F- Chris Wondolowski

F- Edson Buddle

2nd Team

GK- Nick Rimando

D- Chad Marshall

D- Drew Moor

D- George John

D- Sean Franklin

M- Brad Davis

M- Eddie Gaven

M- Kyle Beckerman

M- Pablo Mastroeni

F- Conor Casey

F- Justin Braun


Some thoughts,

The criteria for the All-American Best XI is simple. If you're eligible to play for the U.S. national team right now then you're eligible.

No, there is no natural left back on either the first or second team, but if you can find a quality American left back in MLS let me (and Bob Bradley) know. Yes, you can make a case for Jonathan Bornstein, but I felt these other defenders had better seasons.

We tapped into the deep pool of American defensive midfielders, selecting two each for both first and second teams. Good cases can be made for all four being first-team worthy.

Similar can be said for centerbacks. There wasn't much separating Tim Ream, Chad Marshall, George John, Nat Borchers or Marvell Wynne, who just missed the cut for us.

Yes, I went with Hartman over Rimando on this squad. That isn't a change brought on by playoff performances. Hartman had my Goalkeeper of the Year vote since the regular season ended. You can't go wrong with either though.

I do reserve the right to make a change if there's a player who I just plain forgot who I feel should be on one of these teams. I'm also willing to listen to arguments for people.


What do you think of the selections? Who didn't make first team that you thought should have? What player is missing from both teams that you felt deserved mention?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Timmy B

    Glad to see Larentowicz getting the nod here. His value sometimes goes under the radar due to the nature of his position. Nothing flashy, just solid, consistent, and dependable.


  • kpugs

    Daniel Hernandez jacking a midfield spot is rough. He did his job very well this season. Having said that give me Eddie Gaven any day of the week. Hernandez’s role is so deep in the midfield that he might as well be a defender. He has almost no responsibility holding the ball, and since he’s not an attacker or a winger to me that makes him a defender, or call him a stopper. Good for him for making such a low-key job stand out…but he shouldn’t be considered for a best XI ahead of true midfielders who do much more for their clubs.

    (SBI-Kev, if you can’t appreciate the work Hernandez does then I really don’t know what to tell you. And he’s hardly just a defender disguised as a midfielder. He’s also a sharp passer from deep in midfield. To suggest he meant any less to Dallas than Gaven meant to Columbus is way off base.)


  • Hood Rich

    Justin Braun over Steven Lenhart ??? Braun is a winger or out-and-out striker who uses brute force and speed to beat players. Braun has average technical ability.

    Lenhart is good technically and much better tactically when in the box. Lenhart is also better than Braun with his touch, shooting, and vision.


  • kpugs

    How about a best XI for every single playoff game? Don’t forget a CCL best XI and a U.S. Open Cup best XI. And what about the offseason best XI, soon to be followed by the preseason best XI? How about the best XI made up of players who played less than 90 total minutes?


  • fischy


    I’m a long-time Brad Davis fan, but I’d take McCarty over him, based on this year’s performances.


  • Marcus


    You mean a “striker” who only scored 6 goals this season and only started 17 games?

    This isn’t the “Who I think has better skill Best XI”, this is the American Best XI for the 2010 season. I don’t know how one could say Steven Lenhart had a great season with a straight face.


  • icez

    Although he played right back this season, you could consider Harrington as a left back who had a good year and a very good second half of the season.

    (SBI-As you stated, he played right back this season, and I’m not sure he had a better year than a Kevin Alston or Sean Franklin, or a Chris Albright for that matter.)


  • bob

    Jeff Larentowicz but no Dax??????????

    I know he was hurt for a time but really? Jeff Hackenwackz!!!!!

    (SBI-I’m getting a sense of some revisionist history here. No way did Dax McCarty have a Best XI season. He finished strongly, but no way a Best XI. And yes, Larentowicz, he was a rock for Colorado this season, and arguably their best player in the final.)


  • J

    Technically, Pearce is a natural left back…he just played right back for Dallas.

    (SBI-We all know he’s a natural left back, but as you said, he didn’t play there this year, so for the purposes of trying to put a left back on the team, we had none to really choose from.)


  • away goals

    So which of these guys will have their solid season capped with an invite to the january camp? Does donovan report if he doesn’t repeat his english loan?


  • bob

    Alright Ives, I’ll give you that Dax didn’t have his best year (being injured), and can’t say that I can base an entire season on Larentowicz play in the cup. If he was rock solid during the season, he threw all his rocks during the final fouling FCD players


  • The Hammer

    Ives,I dont disagree with your comment about there being no left back on either team and that the others had better seasons. But the fact that others had better seasons then our starting left back. What does it say about the senior squad? Furthermore what does taht say about our prospects for left back as well. YIKES!

    How do you counteract a weakness in the leftback position with others strengths on your team? Would a 4-5-1 help?


  • Revenge of the Ginger

    You’re just jealous because FC Dallas doesn’t have a Ginger anymore. Larentowicz is absolutely one of the best deals that Colorado made.

    I expect the Sanna Nyassi deal to pay off just as well.

    You DO remember that the Ginger Ninja was the guy who scored the brace on FC Dallas at PHP back in the regular season… or did you (like all the other people in Dallas) miss that match?


  • Dink

    Sick of this Ream love, he is a good player but he is no where the top centre back in this league. He is a starter in the league sure, but lets get off his jock a bit. Chad Marshall is a 2 time defender of the year, and he had a fine year to boot.

    Remember who got turned inside out and had redbulls out of the cup?

    (SBI-Ream got beat on one goal out of three scored by San Jose and he knocked them out? Get a grip Dink. The hate on Ream is pretty misguided. Fact is he’s a very good player who also just did well in his national team debut. As for Marshall, he had a good year as well, but Ream got the edge for leading a weaker group of defenders. I picked based on this year, not on reputations.)


  • Rapids are the Champions

    You have to be nuts for not picking Marvell Wynne. Absolutely nuts. I’d take him over Sean Franklin. Maybe even over Drew Moor even though I think Moor’s got the better leadership… Wynne is just a machine out there.

    (SBI-It was a close call. To be fair, Wynne probably had a slightly better season than Franklin, but in the interest of trying to have more than just one fullback honored, I went with Franklin. That’s why I mentioned Wynne in the write-up.)


  • Rapids are the Champions

    A lot of people just say he’s a defensive mid. Crazy. The guy sprays passes forward to the right people at the right times. Great at getting into space and has a deadly shot from range. He’s a complete player and I only expect him to get better as he grows with the Rapids.


  • Michael F. SBI Mafia Original

    Question for Ives, how do you think your first team here would compete as a team against the rest of MLS?


  • Dink

    Never said hate, just sick of people telling me that he is an mls allstar. He is a good mls defender, putting him ahead of Marshall just screams homer.

    He’s basically the same story as Barnes from last year. Good defender, but its all about his late draft pick status.


  • Adam

    Im a Crew fan, and I do not agree with any part of your statement. Lenhart is good with his head, and decent at receiving long balls, but to say he has great touch, shooting, ability, or vision is just false. The goals he scores are primarily hustle plays. He rarely takes on a player 1 on 1, and at the end of the year he was far more likely to get red carded than score.


  • Brian

    Heath Pearce isn’t a natural left back? I know he plays right back for Dallas but isn’t he left footed?


  • boosted335

    I think FCD’s starting lineup could match this first team…albeit in a 0-0 draw 🙂



  • fromage

    Those are the picks I’d make for my MLS Best XI.

    Oh, and Ives, you really should proof-read your posts before you hit the publish button.


  • mark

    Bobby Convey should definately get a look to help at left back. he can make runs in the final third and can also help out with left footed set pieces. i expect bob to give him a look against chile to see if he has a shot to help out in the gold cup


  • Dank

    How is it that we started Carrol and Pause for the nats in SA, but they couldn’t even make this list?

    (SBI-Pretty simple. Three of the four were still playing and the fourth (Beckerman) was apparently injured).


  • Alex

    Availiability for the most part. Most of the CDMs listed were in the playoffs. The only one who wasn’t was Kyle Beckerman. And I just think Bobo was offended by his hair or something.


  • Nathan

    No Sounders huh? Maybe you could throw in ‘Best MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMCCCXXXVI’ for the amount of supporters we bring to matches.

    We’ll win the MLS cup eventually, but really, that number outweighs everything else right now for me. Winning is terribly important but all of yall would say the same thing in my position. But you’re not in my posistion. You have half assed support compared to my club. Our beloved Seattle Sounders FC.

    In the middle of a rescission, sorry, ‘the great rescission’, we are embarrassing other clubs with club pride, rabid emotion, and of course the almighty dollar.

    Honestly, all of this is best viewed through the lens of being a Red Bulls blog. (albeit a good one and one that I check on too consistent a basis.) Keep up the good work and I’ll see all of your sorry asses when you are forced to travel up to the Pacific NW, THE HOME OF SOCCER IN AMERICA.

    (SBI-I appreciate your readership, but you really should pay attention. We’re not a “Red Bulls blog”. We’re an American soccer website. If you really followed the blog closely you might notice we write as much, if not more, about Seattle as we do about the Red Bulls.)


  • boosted335

    Every soccer board in this nation complains about Sounders fans…being a 206 native I have refused to acknowledge, until now, what others have already concluded about yall.


  • geoffersen

    I like the best XI, but I don’t like having 3 center backs and only 1 full back. Sean Franklin should replace Nat Borchers or Tim Ream (gasp, from a huge RBNY supporter).

    On a tangentially related note, Ream doubters / haters just didn’t watch him play. If you don’t have MLS Direct Kick be honest about your ignorance.


  • Ostertag

    Le Toux absolutely has to be there

    (SBI-Are you just trying to be funny or do you really not get the point of this team?)


  • Eric

    Kyle Beckerman over Jeff Larentowicz and it aint even close. Beckerman is the premier lock down defensive midfielder in this league and was critical to RSL setting all sorts of records this year. I have no idea how you had Jeff over him.


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