TimCahillNewYorkRedBulls1-SeattleSounders2013 (BrandonBleek)


As the final match of the 2013 MLS season approaches on Saturday, it is time to look back at the players who enjoyed the best seasons during a 2013 that will go down as a season to remember.

The SBI MLS Best XI has its share of familiar faces, but also has several players who donned new uniforms in 2013. Three MLS veterans made the list after being traded, while two newcomers to the league made Best XI in their first season in the league.

The group has a distinct international feel to it, with eight countries represented in the Best XI. A total of four Americans made the cut, including MLS MVP candidate Mike Magee.

Picking the Best XI is no easy task, and with so many quality players turning in strong years, SBI has put together not only a Best XI, but four more honorable mention squads to show the players who impressed us the most in 2013.

Here is the SBI MLS  Best XI (as voted on by SBI staff):


Mike Magee———–Marco DiVaio———Robbie Keane

—————————–Diego Valeri—————————-

————–Will Johnson———-Tim Cahill——————

Chris Klute——————————————-Matt Besler

————-Jamison Olave—-Jose Goncalves—————–

————————–Nick Rimando—————————-


Landon Donovan——Camilo Sanvezzo———Diego Fagundez

—————————–Javier Morales—————————-

—————Kyle Beckerman—-Osvaldo Alonso——————

Drew Moor—————————————Sheanon Williams

—————Aurelien Collin——Pa Modou Kah——————

————————–Donovan Ricketts————————–


Federico Higuain——Thierry Henry————–Dominic Oduro

—————————Graham Zusi———————————

—————–Diego Chara————-Uri Rosell——————–

Seth Sinovic———————————————Kofi Sarkodie

————–Omar Gonzalez———–Nat Borchers—————-

——————————Clint Irwin——————————–


Eddie Johnson———-Conor Casey————-Darlington Nagbe

—————————-Kelyn Rowe———————————-

——————Juninho————–Ricardo Clark——————

Corey Ashe———————————————–Tony Beltran

————–Bobby Boswell—————Amobi Okugo————-

——————————-Luis Robles——————————


Rodney Wallace——Chris Wondolowski———-Deshorn Brown

—————–Brad Davis—————Dillon Powers—————

——————————Dax McCarty——————————-

Michael Harrington———————————-DeAndre Yedlin

——————–George John——–Marvell Wynne—————

—————————-Jimmy Nielsen——————————-


What do you think of our selections? Who do you feel deserved more credit? Who are you surprised to see on the list? What player is missing from all five lists that you feel should have been included?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Iggy

    Think you went a tad overboard with 5 teams! First team seems good, though is very top heavy. Though guys way out of position (Besler at RB) is a little awkward.


    • Josh D

      Agreed. Five teams gives you 55 players – two full teams worth. Dilutes the recognition a bit.


      • Joamiq

        It’s funny, but I don’t blame them for doing that. Besler is clearly worthy of Best XI, but Olave and Goncalves were too good this season. I’m OK with Besler at RB. It’s not an exact science.


  • Marcelo Balboa's Mustache

    If Goodson can get credit for a partal season (a la Landon) I think he should be in the top five teams. He was consistently very good in the back for San Jose, who had a very stingy defense after he was acquired.

    It’s striking to me how few true wing players are in these lineups. I think Ives put together a good reflection of the best performers in the league and these spots are totally dominated by central players. Who’s the best true winger named above? Oduro (if he even is one)? No wonder the USMNT has so much trouble filling the flank spots.


    • Hogatroge

      Goodson has been superb for club and country since the GC (minus the silly YC in the dying moments of CCL qualification).

      His ranking was definitely hurt by the fact that he only play about 1/3 of a season.


  • Werner

    No Jaime Penedo? I know he wasn’t there the whole season, but he was a game changer for the G’s. Carlo Cudicini or Brian Rowe could not handle the pressure.


    • Marcelo Balboa's Mustache

      +1. Jaime was a stud for LA. I think his partial season tops this year’s Nielsen.


    • Ian

      I think third is high enough. He under-performed this year compared to the last two; probably due to USMNT commitments.


      • bottlcaps

        I guess being last year MLS Cup MVP, runner up to the MLS defender of the year and USMNT starter in every match he was at was a severe under-performance for him this year.

        But getting a DP slot from the Galaxy means he’s laughing all the way to the bank.


      • Hogatroge

        Just because you listed some facts doesn’t mean they support your argument.

        Gonzo had some pretty big and notable goofs for the USMNT this year. I can’t speak to his Galaxy games.


    • Tony in Quakeland

      I’m with you. He’s become fashionable to down grade for some reason. He’s better than Colin or Kah. He’s a better distributor and better with the ball at his feet than Colin, and he doesn’t have the Kah temper. Both are terrifc players, but Gonzales is better.

      And Yedlin is better than fifth team.


    • Joamiq

      I think that’s just about where he belongs. Don’t think he was better than any of the guys ahead of him; think he was better than the guys behind him.


    • Brett Bates

      As a Sporting fan and friend of Benny’s, he didn’t put together even near a full season so i’m ok with him being omitted. Benny will make up for it by being on the MLS Playoffs first team.


  • krolpolski

    So Ives recognizes that Magee is an Amiercan forward above all in MLS. But US National Team coach didn’t call him into camp for the most recent friendies. How’d that decision work out, Klinsi?


    • Joamiq

      I thought Magee should have gotten a shot, but let’s not pretend he was going to be the difference maker in those games. I don’t think Klinsi is losing sleep over that one.


    • Gary Page

      He probably deserved a look, but the chances of him ever going to Brazil were slim and none. Right now we have a lot of better options in the front six. Now if he were a good defensive back, it would be another story.


  • CubesCompanion

    I think Grabavoy deserves to be in the 4th team at least. He played just as well as Beckerman and Morales for a large chunk of the season and has proven to be one of the best passers in the league plus he scored a bunch for a midfielder. Replace Juninho with him. Also Saborio deserves to be on here. He missed a lot of games but when he played he was Golden Boot quality. Replace Casey with Sabo.

    Besides my RSL biased snubs, I mostly agree with the tiers, with a couple exceptions: I would switch Omar with Kah and bump Dax McCarty up a bit.


  • Travis

    I get that you are trying to get the best players in Team 1 but has Besler played at RB for KC at all this year? Seems a bit odd to put someone out of position on this.


  • Quit whining about soccer in the US

    I realize that the best XI is based on 2013.

    I take the second team to beat the first.


    • Jacknut

      I think every DCU player did. I find it hard to believe that a trophy-winning side would get ignored, while teams that won nothing (LAG, I’m looking at you) have multiple honorees.


      • Really dude?

        US OPEN CUP? All of the players on DCU are god awful, you won the cup on 1 shot attempt, 1 goal, you followed the team all year, no one on that team should get on any BEST 11 for 2013.


      • Jacknut

        I knew I should have gone a little more over the top with my post. Kind of like Pontius’ shot ths year.


      • Nate Dollars

        i thought rb/metros is the worst team in mls history?

        oh, you’re just talking about one year. never mind. 🙂


    • Gary Page

      Good point. Whenever I saw him play I thought he was the best defender on the field. I thought he looked better than Gonzalez when the Galaxy played his team.


      • Joe+G

        He’ll get to US citizen status at some point, even if he goes to Europe. With his family here and his life pretty much here, he’ll make sure he gets it. If he gets it at a point to play for the USMNT… that’s another story.


  • Cairo

    My one quibble is with Zusi not being higher. He missed quite a few games this year, but he seems to be able to make space and whip in good crosses when it matters most. I’d have him playing on the right wing ahead of Cahill on the Best XI. As a midfielder I definitely rate him higher than Cahill and probably Will Johnson as well (I know they don’t play quite the same position, but since the positions seemed a bit mixed up here, I’ll play along…)


    • Brett Bates

      Agreed. I know Zusi missed a few games for USMNT duties but he is the best Midfielder currently in the MLS.


  • Mark

    Farrell and Yedlin are better players than Sarkodie or Beltran. My only two gripes with the list.


    • Chris

      They maybe better attacking players but they don’t defend nearly as well. Yedlin’s positioning is always questionable defensively. Go back and see how many goals he was it in a poor position, granted he is young.

      Same thing with Farrell. Loves to get wide and be on the touchline which is great when you’re attacking but causes issues when you need to get back and defend. Fortunately for Farrell he can get wide because he has solid centerbacks covering for him, unlike Yedlin.

      Sarkodie and Beltran seem to be better “defenders.” They are okay in attack but much more solid in defending and positioning. People overrate offensive numbers especially for defenders, for instance look at the Da Silva twins.


      • Mark

        Go see how many goals he prevented from proper positioning.

        This notion that he was the cause of any more goals than any other defender on the Sounders is just insane. It’s basically all predicated on one goal against the Timbers in the second game of the season and a horrendous performance against Colorado.

        Sigi is a coach notorious for selecting defense over offense and veterans over youth, yet somehow Yedlin got the call. I wonder if maybe, just maybe, he’s a better defender than the general public gives him credit for.


  • Wonderloaf

    This list is a joke and this website is a complete joke. Wondolowski is clearly 1st team 1st choice. He has more talent in his pinky toe than the rest of the list combined. Who else on the list once wrestled a grizzly bear?


  • Joe

    Sean Johnson doesnt even get on any of the teams? He was a stud for this whole season. Magee was our best player but Sean kept us in a lot of games and earned us a few points when we didnt deserve them. He should be on one of these teams.


  • beachbum

    there’s always room for debate but your lists seem pretty good to me SBI

    I would put Sarvas over Juninho, and Nagbe no lower than 3rd team, and Alonso instead of Will Johnson on the 1st team


    • TomG

      Alonso had an off year. Will had a career year. It’s about who had a better season, not about who you would pick for a national team. You’d have to be blind not to realize WJ had a better year IMO.


  • Bobb


    Juan Agudelo (look at his goals / minute ratio compared to some of these other forwards… putting him behind guys like Wondo is a joke)
    Clarence Goodson (Quakes turned their season around when he solidified the defense)
    Jaime Penedo (saved the Galaxy)


    • dude

      Dude, Portland runs on Will Johnson. He’s scored important goals all season, is the undisputed captain of the team, and makes the possession system of Portland hum. He’s the central midfielder straddling the line between fluid offense and stable defense.

      Yeah, he’s absolutely in the XI.


  • chris_thebassplayer

    I’ll still take Wondo with a broken foot over about 8 forwards listed ahead of him. His numbers were down due to the overall dynamic of the team, but he played well. 75% of his goals were game winners on an injury riddled team. Pains me to see him lower than Casey.


  • calpauly

    I’m putting in a vote for Todd Dunivant at LB. He was an MLS Best XI in 2011 and I’d argue he’s still playing at that level. The guy quietly does his job week in and week out, better than most anyone else in the league.


  • chodilicus

    So Saborio scored 12 goals in 16 games for the best team in the Western Conference and he cannot make the top 5 best teams or top 15 forwards in the league? I know he was injured towards the end, but there were stretches where he carried RSL. There are only a handful of truly world class finishers in MLS: DiVaio, Henry, Keane, and Saborio are about it for true world class international quality finishers. That is one of the biggest snubs I can remember in a while.


  • Boyd

    Five teams?
    This reminds me of my kid’s U9 team. EVERYBODY GETS A TROPHY!!!!!!!
    It’s a good way to keep them excited about the game and keeps them coming back next season.


  • Daniel

    I would argue Nagbe was better (and had a better year) than Oduro, Fagundez, Higuain & Henry for, perhaps, a 2nd team nomination…


  • Brett Bates

    Only complaint – Collin should have been ahead of Olave (Collin was the #2 Center back this year behind Goncalves)


  • prizby

    what a joke…22 goals in 32 games is not good enough for best XI…add 6 assists, which is as many as magee and di vaio combined.


    • MisterJC

      Agreed. What best 11 list doesn’t include the Golden Boot winner? MLS list is the same. Makes no sense to me…


  • MisterJC

    Please explain, Ives, how the player with the most goals is not in the best 11. Either here or on the show would be great, I need to read/hear the rationale behind that decision. 2nd Team is no slouch, however, it’s just the principle of the thing…


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