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I have to apologize to Javier Morales.
His omission from the MLS Best XI was such a glaring one, such an improbable miscue by voters, that I didn't even realize he was missing when I first posted the MLS Best XI. When you think of impact midfielders in MLS this year, two players come to mind as leading the way this year: MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Morales.
Didn't matter, voters ignored Morales and included Robbie Rogers and Cuauhtemoc Blanco, two quality players but two players who couldn't match the complete body of work that Morales provided for RSL this year.
Morales wasn't alone. Steve Ralston spent large chunks of the 2008 season carrying the New England attack, and seemed like a lock for Best XI. Alas, it wasn't meant to be and he was ignored like Morales.
There were some other choices I may not have agreed with, but the rest of the Best XI consists of quality candidates who enjoyed some of the best seasons in MLS this year, but voters absolutely should have found room for Morales and Ralston.
Blanco and Joseph are really good players, but did either have a standout season? I thought awards like this are to recognize a players efforts across a single season.
Blanco took two and a half months off this summer where he seemed pretty disinterested in making plays and working. Tell me how that warrants league MVP votes?
Joseph was his solid self, but to me these awards are about being exceptional. He has set the bar high for himself, but I agree with Ives: Morales and Raulston over any combination of Blanco, Joseph, and Rogers.
Testudo is correct. The MLS will not under any circumstances take anybody with a mullet, even though Morales and Beckerman had a good laugh about it in one the Javi and Kyle shows this year. We are all business, not a “business in the front, party in back” kind of league.
Why is Blanco getting so much recognition this year? He started great, ended ok, but where was he in the middle of the year? I thought he might have already been on loan to Santos because of his lack in making anything happen during the middle of the year.
It irritates me when Morales has been just behind GBS (and maybe Donovan) in how important he has been for his team. What a joke he is left off both the best XI and MVP lists behind a mediocre Blanco this year.
it’s discrimination against the mullet …
Joamiq: Agree to disagree. Kljestan had 5 goals and 7 assists in 22 games played. Remember unlike the rest of leagues around the world, MLS also counts secondary assists as regular assists. If you just count primary (a.k.a. true) assists, Sacha only had four assists for the 2008 season. But that engine didn’t have the best parts around him? Same thing happened in 2007 to Chavis USA but he made the team better, i.e. better record and finished first in the Western Conference. Kljestan scored his last MLS regular season goal in the middle of June. His last true assist came at the end of August. When Chavis was fighting for the playoff lives, Sacha disappeared but his teammates did not. On to Robbie Rogers, he scored 6 goals and had 3 (2 true assists) in 27 games played. Outside mids are not supposed to score 6 goals in 27 games (can’t count VDB or Steve Ralston since they didn’t just play on the wing all year like Rogers). Just ask Steve Coppell, the manager of Reading FC and former Man U winger. He once said if an outside mid scores a goal every six games that would be considered a great strike ratio. Robbie scored a goal for every 4.5 games. Once teams realized what a threat he was (about a third of the way through the season), they resorted to fouling him since they could not keep up with him. The only person in MLS that suffered more fouls than Robbie Rogers was Blanco. While Rogers didn’t have the best stats in the end, GBS did. He got a lot of his assists off of set pieces that were created by among others Robbie Rogers.
perusucks: Unfortunately, Blanco’s 2007 season, which was better than his 2008, does not factor into 2008 Best XI considerations. Morales over every midfielder not named Schelotto is a no-brainer, period.
dr dcr vcr: Incorrect. If you’ve watched any Chivas games this year, then you know what a huge impact Kljestan had on the team this year. Rogers, call it going missing or getting hacked, doesn’t matter – he was not the engine for the Crew the way Kljestan was for Chivas (when he played, of course). I like them both and I’m a fan of neither team. Kljestan was just better this year. Rogers made big strides too though. They should both continue to get better and play big roles for their teams, and hopefully for the nats as well.
Hey TomR, what do you say about kljestian being in it then. RSL knocked chivass out.
Wow you’re f-ing kidding me Ives. Morales over Blanco? Blanco single handedly turned the fire around in 2007 from a mid-table team to a top 4 team. Blanco Morales over Kljestian any day.
Morales is fantastic but his team is not in the final. Rogers has been consistent all year and the balance of the scales tip his way.
Tell me who had a bigger impact this season Sacha or Robbie Rogers? If you said Sacha, you are A) a total USMNT/ Olympic team fanboy B) don’t watch MLS games C) have no idea about the game in the first place since you have never played it.
We often have debates about what a team “would have been like without” an MVP candidate. Much to Rev fans’ chagrin, we actually saw what they were like without Ralston, which is that they basically fell apart.
I don’t think hes Best XI versus the other candidates, but let me defend Rogers for a bit. He didn’t “go missing” so much as defenses started hacking the hell out of him. And while that hurt his individual productivity, the attention paid to him opened up space for everyone else, which is why the Crew kept chugging along.
From what I’ve hear about Ralston I doubt he cares if he was selected or not—-which is just one more reason why he should have been. The man is pure class, on and off the field and as close to a lock for selection to the Soccer HOF.
Ralston deserved it much more than Shalrie in my opinion. Shalrie, for the first time in as far as I can remember, would have bad games. Ralston was flawless, and lead the team in both offensive categories up until his injury. When he wasn’t on the field, it showed. Twellman couldn’t carry the offense on his own. Oh well…
Wow… incredible. First Morales gets snubbed from the all-star game, then he gets left off the MVP candidate list, and now this….how can anyone take the league seriously when it fails to recognize talent such as his?
Morales is a no-brainer. Rogers started out like lightning and then went missing for a large chunk of the season. He doesn’t belong on the list.
Ralston was very good when he was on the field. His case would be similar to Kljestan’s. But that one is debatable. I do, however, think Blanco had more of an impact this year than either of them.
Not only was Morales slighted, but so was Brian Carroll. The Crew midfielder was the lynchpin of the club’s midfield defense. Without him, GBS likely would not have had an MVP-caliber season.
Blanco on the Best XI? Please.
I agree with you all the way Ives. As a MLS fan, i would like to apologize for the stupidity that these voters possessed. Morales should have taken Blanco’s place