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SBI’s 2011 MLS Best XI

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The 2011 Major League Soccer season was arguably the best in league history, from both a competition and entertainment standpoint, and as a result, it made for some tough calls when deciding on the league's Best XI.

MLS commissioner Don Garber will announce the league's official Best XI later today, but based on the voting of the SBI editorial staff (Ives Galarcep, Avi Creditor, Adam Serrano, Mike Nastri, Jose Romero, Thomas Floyd, Joey Samuel), we came up with a first, second and third team to honor those who put forth standout performances this season.

Four players were unanimous selections to SBI's Best XI, and three players were repeat selections from our 2010 SBI MLS Best XI.

Now, without further ado, here is SBI's 2011 MLS Best XI:  


FIRST TEAM (*=2010 Best XI)

GK- Kasey Keller, Seattle Sounders 

*D- Omar Gonzalez, Los Angeles Galaxy (Unanimous)

D- Todd Dunivant, Los Angeles Galaxy

D- George John, FC Dallas

M- Brad Davis, Houston Dynamo (Unanimous)

M- Brek Shea, FC Dallas (Unanimous)

M- Mauro Rosales, Seattle Sounders

M- Osvaldo Alonso, Seattle Sounders

M- David Beckham, Los Angeles Galaxy

*F – Dwayne De Rosario, D.C. United (Unanimous)

*F – Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthquakes


GK- Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake

D- Jamison Olave, Real Salt Lake

D- Nat Borchers, Real Salt Lake

D- Chad Marshall, Columbus Crew

M- Landon Donovan, Los Angeles Galaxy

M- Sebastien Le Toux, Philadelphia Union

M- Kyle Beckerman, Real Salt Lake

M- Joel Lindpere, New York Red Bulls

M- Graham Zusi, Sporting Kansas City

F- Thierry Henry, New York Red Bulls

F- Fredy Montero, Seattle Sounders


GK- Faryd Mondragon, Philadelphia Union

D- Sheanon Williams, Philadelphia Union

D- Carlos Valdes, Philadelphia Union

D- Matt Besler, Sporting Kansas City

M- Jack Jewsbury, Portland Timbers

M- Nick LaBrocca, Chivas USA

M- Marco Pappa, Chicago Fire

M- Jeff Larentowicz, Colorado Rapids

M- Geoff Cameron, Houston Dynamo

F- Dominic Oduro, Chicago Fire

F- Andres Mendoza, Columbus Crew


What do you think of SBI's Best XI? Who didn't make the cut that you would have included? Is there someone missing from the first team that you feel should have been on it?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I’m a Montero supporter. However, where his finish to the year was very strong, he certainly had a long spell at the start of the season where he was nearly invisible. So, is the best XI designation a reflection of where they finished or how they performed throughout?

    To me, nobody seems to do more with nothing than Wondo and I like seeing that recognized.

  2. I know you have to make the cut somewhere so I hope the conversation about keepers involved Tally Hall – for his first year in the net he showed a lot. Corey Ashe and Andre Hainault were worthy of consideration as well.

  3. Its likely that Seattle would have been scraping for a playoff spot but for Keller’s best season ( of his 3) this year. He also led the team as a vocal captain from the back. Even if you concede, which I don’t, that others may be better shot stoppers, his leadership more than offsets that.

  4. I agree about Moor… he at least deserves to be ahead of any of the defenders on the third team.

    I’m a big fan of Chad Marshall, but having said that, the Crew player who ought to be somewhere on here is Eddie Gaven rather than Marshall or Mendoza. (Robbie Rogers? Despite his status as Klinsi’s Bornstein, as a Crew fan I wouldn’t mind if he played elsewhere next year.)

  5. Andre Hainault… can play any of the back line positions, had a career year, held the dynamo back line together as CB until Cameron moved back, then moved to RB and helped the Orange to the Cup.

    I will grudgingly admit he may not be first team material, but surely 2nd or 3rd… and who says each of the 3 teams has to be a goofy 3-5-2.

  6. I assume Olave is only on 2nd team because he missed time with injuries. Otherwise, he should be a lock for first team. He impressed me (when healthy) more than any defender in MLS.

  7. LOL no he doesn’t… convey went MIA this season his midfield providers were 34 year old ramiro corrales (moved up from his normal leftback position), rookie rafael baca, USL-level player joey gjertsen, and defensive mids ring/cronin. The only good crosser on the club is the right back Steven Beitashour.

  8. I’m LA til I die and I love Saunders, but without their solid back three (and revolving 4th) defenders, it’s unlikely his GAA would be as low as it is. Although the same should be said for Rimando. In that case, he and Saunders are interchangeable for the Second Team, IMO. Maybe Rimando got the nod because he played a complete season?

  9. “Pretty good” is about right. Montero has Alonso, Rosales, Fernandez, to name a few. Henry has Lindpere, Rogers, Ream and… yeah that about it. Is there even an argument to be made that Wondo plays with higher caliber players than the aforementioned? I don’t see it.

  10. I agree, but if you add a fourth defender to the 1st team, it has to be a RB. Who would you add? I think the best RB in MLS this year was Sheanon Williams (and I’m a DCU fan) but I don’t think he was good enough to be a Best XI selection.

  11. As a Sounders fan (and therefore an avowed Timbers hater), I have to say I didn’t see a ton from Jewsbury that impressed me, other than his set piece work. The guy who actually impressed me the most in their midfield was Zizzo. When I watched him he had speed, vision and a great touch. That said, I only watched (other than the two SEA/PDX matches) maybe two or three matches they played. I’d be interested to hear what Timbers fans think of him.

  12. As a bleeding orange dynamo fan, I love me some Geoff Cameron… but, listing him as a 3rd team best XI as a midfielder is a bit of a farce. He’s a monster center defender that is a threat to score with his head off set pieces, or with his feet off a run from deep. However, as an attacking midfielder he, and the Dynamo, struggled this year.

  13. Tough to find room on these three teams for a lot of worthy candidates. I would liked to have seen Juninho on one of the teams, but I can understand him getting edged out.

    As dynamic as Wondo was for SJ, I don’t see him edging out Henry for 1st team. The criticism of Henry centers around expecting much more from a DP than others, and the other gossip surrounding his behavior, celebrity, etc. But the bottom line is that Henry creates and scores the type of goals that Wondo is just not capable of scoring.

  14. Generally agreed, esp. on the Henry vs Lindpere for MVP. I don’t get too worked up as far as 1st team vs 2nd team, though. Brad Davis might be league MVP and Shea is tremendous. Losing out to those two wings is nothing to be ashamed of.

  15. The Best XI is based on the 2011 season, not the end-of-season tournament known as the MLS Cup playoffs. Houston finished the season with 49 points, 7th in the league.

  16. That’d be a poor decision. You have to remember that Henry and Montero play with solid teams with solid midfields. Wondo is a one-man wrecking crew.

  17. I can see what you mean. I’ve enjoyed watching him play, but then there was that one game where he didn’t play, and the Timbers seemed to play a bit better.

    If anything, a lot of your possession is reliant on the bursts from your wingers. I love the attacking verve of your team, but this league has proven that true wingers will be your undoing. You need one more possession oriented midfielder to make yourselves less vulnerable to counters.

    Jack is a good player, but sometimes slows the team down. But in his defense, he is VERY solid on set pieces. He’s definitely earned his paycheck. The problems are elsewhere IMHO.

  18. Can anyone update the list to show players with their Club and Country info? that’s always an interesting angle. Looks like it’s a bit over 50% USA, about 4 Europeans, a lot of talent from around the Americas

  19. I don’t know why Kyle Beckerman isn’t on the 1st team, he had way better stats and played way better than Alonso! and where is Saborio, he had one of the highest goals per 90 mins in the league and finished the year with 14 goals! and I would of liked to see Borchers or Olave up in the 1st team as well since they were in the top 3 for defender of the year! and I can think of a few GK’s that should be above Keller!

  20. I’m well aware of my Jersey bias; having said that Joel Lindpere not being on the first team is nothing short of an absolute farce. If he wasn’t on the worst-run and worst-coached team in the league he’d have been a definite league MVP finalist. He probably should be even now, he won a handful of games almost single handedly, and you could argue that without him they’d have been in the basement in the east (if not in the whole league).

    I’m still wondering how Henry could possibly have gotten the team MVP award this year.

  21. As a Timbers fan, there is a huge disconnect for me around Jack Jewsbury. The consensus among Timbers fans I talk to and on fan message boards is that he is the root of the team’s poor midfield play, and that he should be traded or benched. With the national media, though, he is considered top shelf, and i always hear announcers say things like “Oh, how the Portland fans love their captain, and how much he has done for the team.”

  22. What about Drew Moor? Broke the ironman record this year previously held by Peter Vermes. Wasn’t he the highest rated player on the Opta Castrol index for the Rapids this year?

    Plus, he’s just a swell guy.


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