SBI Mid-Season MLS Best XI

WondolowskiPOM (Getty)

As we hit the mid-way point of the MLS season, it is time to look at the players who have enjoyed the best seasons in the league.

There are plenty of worthy candidates for the Mid-Season MLS Best XI, including some no-brainer selections like Chris Wondolowski and Dwayne DeRosario. Some positions are very tough to choose from, like defensive midfield, where Kyle Beckerman and Osvaldo Alonso are both worthy selections.

The SBI Mid-Season MLS Best XI was voted on by SBI's editorial staff and comprises of our picks for players at all 11 positions in a 4-4-2 formation. So no, our midfield doesn't have two playmakers and zero defensive midfielders like the fan-voted MLS All-Star First XI.

Eight teams are represented in the Mid-Season Best XI, and it shouldn't come as a surprise that San Jose, D.C. United and Real Salt Lake are the only squads with multiple selections in the first team.

Here are SBI's selections for the Mid-Season MLS Best XI: 



———-Chris Wondolowski——Thierry Henry————-

———————–Dwayne DeRosario———————–

Chris Pontius———————————-Landon Donovan

————————Kyle Beckerman————————-

Gonzalo Segares—————————–Steven Beitashour

—————Aurelien Collin—Jamison Olave—————-

—————————Dan Kennedy————————– 


——————Will Bruin——–Kenny Cooper————–

————————–Graham Zusi————————–

Brad Davis—————————————Marvin Chavez

————————-Osvaldo Alonso————————-

Daniel Woolard———————————-Lee Young-Pyo

——————Carlos Valdes—-Jay DeMerit—————–

————————Andy Gruenebaum———————–


What did you think of our selections? Who is missing that you think should have made the team? What player are you happy to see honored?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Lio

    I think you have that backwards. Chavez dictates the play of the quakes and strives due to his pace and ability to take on defenders whereas wondo relies on the service of those around him, mainly Chavez and Beitashour. As far as him needing the SJ system, first of all he has 0 goals and 7 assists with one second assist so its not as if he is being served goals on a platter to succeed… Instead he does that for wondo. San Jose went from the second worst team in the west last season to the team currently in first in the league, and their biggest acquisition was Marvin Chavez…


  • Advocate

    All analysis and salary considerations aside, does anyone think that their favorite MLS team would not take Donovan in an even trade for anyone — ANYONE — on its current roster if it had a chance to do so?


  • Michael Stypulkoski

    Saying that Cooper’s positioning hasn’t been good is odd. How else has he ended up with all of those goals? You don’t score eleven goals in eighteen games by accident. You either score them by skill (which you seem to think is not the case here), or you poach them by being the right place at the right time. If you’re arguing that Cooper lacks the skill to create so many goals, that must mean his positioning has been exemplary.


  • Jim

    Woolard 2nd team? Wouldn’t be in my top 7 left backs

    (SBI-Say what you want but this year Woolard has been vital for DC, whether playing at CB or LB. Talk about six more talented left backs if you want, but there haven’t been six left backs who have had better first halves of 2012. Some are comparable, like Justin Morrow and Alain Rochat, but not clearly better the first half of this season.)


  • joemybro

    How many DCU Games have you watched this year? Woolard has been the most consistent thing about the DCU back line this season. He doesn’t bring much offense, so I get him not being 1st team, but he’s been a stud for them all year on D. His play allows whoever is playing in front of him to attack at will.


  • Dennis

    I am not a Cooper fan, but he has done what forwards are supposed to do, score goals. For that, he belongs i this mix.


  • JRP

    Yes. RSL. San Jose. Both teams don’t want his attitude. How many times has he cried about one of his teammates being the reason the team isn’t doing well. San Jose and RSL don’t want the prima donna.


  • Metro

    Meara, McCarty and Barklage should all be on the second team or honorable mention.

    (SBI-Someone should probably watch more teams play. Kidding aside, Meara isn’t close to being Best XI. Great rookie story, has had some outstanding games, but Best XI? Nope. McCarty has had an outstanding season, a very underrated player, but he’s not beating out Beckerman or Alonso. And Barklage? A great Most Improved Player candidate, but he hasn’t been better than Beitashour or Y P Lee.)


  • Juan

    What, no Golden balls? how can it be? Didnt you see that 30 yard kick he made to hit the official with the ball? Surely he deserves at least a second team spot?

    I dont agree with many here but too much work to argue. I would like to point out that Cooper was totally invisible in the Revs game on Sunday and an All Star shouldn’t have been nullified that easily.

    Also would take Benny over either Beckerman or Zusi but Benny doesnt have the stats to make an argument.

    Oh well, opinions varry

    (SBI-The Best XI picks were based on the season UP to the week before last, so Cooper being frozen out by the Revs doesn’t really matter. As for Feilhaber over Beckerman or Zusi, not sure anybody outside of New England or Feilhaber’s family could honestly say Feilhaber has had a better season than either of those two players. That’s pretty absurd, but we all know how fandom can be blinding sometimes.)


  • Lil' Zeke

    Why, what’s your count? I have it somewhere between zero and one.

    And by the way, he doesn’t “cry” — he blubbers like a hysterical child… a timid, trembling little fetus. I don’t know that I would call that an attitude exactly though.

    What are you talking about?


  • JMR

    Donovan is not in the top ten goal scorers at this time.

    (SBI-He is the top goal-scoring right midfielder though.)


  • divers suck

    You’re laughable J-Ro. I’d even say the 2nd team would beat the 1st team in a match. Henry and Donovan have both missed a slew of games. The other positions are pretty much a wash, including Beckerman and Alonso. Personally I’d give it to Alonso but will regress on that.


  • Brian

    Interesting to see Gruenebaum on your 2nd team when he was SBI’s pick for the best Goalie in the first half of the season.

    (SBI-Different voting for both things. It isn’t unheard of. It actually happened in MLS one year, with Joe Cannon being goalkeeper of the year and Tim Howard being named to Best XI.)


  • Northzax

    DeRo is of East Indian descent, no? Not Hispanic? There isn’t much of a Hispanic population in Guyana. Heck, they don’t even speak Spanish much.

    Cooper belongs here because he’s a striker who’s scored 11 goals in half a season. Strikers have the cleanest statistical job description in soccer: score. Would you rather have a striker who makes all the right runs, or one that scores goals? 2007 Luciano Emilio or 2012 Juan Agudelo?


  • The Imperative Voice

    Let’s just say that the fact he could even be considered for an all-league team makes Vancouver’s “soccer reasons” chuckle-inducing.


  • Eric

    True, Zusi isn’t a prototypical #10 strings-puller or anything, but he also doesn’t need to be. The wingers in SKC’s system–Kei Kamara and Bobby Convey/Jacob Peterson are fully capable of creating chances on their own. This frees Zusi to roam much more, and he covers more ground than probably any other SKC player except Espinoza. In effect, SKC plays two box-to-box midfielders side-by-side.

    Maybe that means that Zusi is out of place here, in a 4-4-2 that SBI is using for their best XI teams, but that doesn’t mean he’s unworthy of a spot. He fulfills his role extremely well and has emerged as one of the top dead-ball specialists in the league. That’s worthy of a second team placing.


  • Eric

    Yeah, there are four keepers in MLS who are having outstanding seasons so far (the three you mentioned plus I would add Ryan Meara). Any of those four would merit inclusion on these teams.


  • Kris

    How can you rank Koevermans over Bruin? They’re pretty even if you ask me. Bruin is actually more consistent over the season in scoring. Koeverman’s is the one heating up and Bruin is scoring less after the Dynamo switched to the
    4-3-3. (Check the stats)


  • Chodilicus

    Ives, How close was Saborio to consideration for the second team? I know that you probably did not take into account his recent hat trick. However, even before that he has been playing really well. He has had at least 5 goals called back this year on terrible officiating calls, mostly missed off-sides. I know that all strikes have a little bad luck but he has had an incredible amount.

    I would argue that Saborio has had a much better first half of the season than Bruin and for a better team. So just curious how close he got to making the cut.


  • soccerhorn

    Hey Metro-I think you forgot Balouchi and Lindpere. Hell, why don’t we just make the entire Red Bulls the Bext XI? I’m guessing you agree.


  • Genius

    Koev should be there over Bruin, typical Ives anti-Canadian bias. Nothing hilarious about it Ives, sorry your boy Mo had to go but it was the right move, about time you get over it.


  • BHall

    Kind of like Olave and Borchers. When Olave first arrived Borchers was the the better of the two, very dependable. It wasnt until Olave stopped giving penalty kicks and getting red carded for stupid takles every other game that he became the better of the two.


  • beachbum

    Chavez absolutely dominated the right side of the field vs. the Galaxy recently. Saw that game live and he was very impressive

    I know he’s done more, but seeing him in person convinced me


  • beachbum

    I love them both smarty pants. Does not have to be mutually exclusive. That Beckerman can make that salary in MLS is aided by all the $$$ and recognition overpaid Beckham drives to the league



  • beachbum

    and both RSL and SJ are driven by their anti-Donovan/Beckham attitudes. It’s helped them, they should be grateful that Donovan/Beckham’s presence has helped them find higher levels to their games


  • beachbum

    great that there is so much debate! lots of good players in MLS, more and more all the time, and many good players not making the list. DeRo, LeToux, Montero, Rosales, Morales, Espindola, Saborio, Ferreira, on and on. Not saying those folks earned it this time and some are just back from injury, etc., just saying that the league’s talent pool continues to grow

    good for us


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