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SBI’s 2012 MLS Best XI

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Chris Wondolowski and Osvaldo Alonso are pictures of high-level consistency in Major League Soccer and both players enjoyed outstanding 2012 seasons to add to years of elite-level play. That top-quality form helped both become the only two players to be repeat selections as SBI MLS Best XI selections.

The 2012 SBI MLS Best XI features some league newcomers, such as San Jose’s Victory Bernardez, as well as some players who enjoyed breakout seasons, like Sporting KC’s Graham Zusi.

Here are SBI’s selections for the 2012 MLS Best XI (along with our 2nd team and 3rd team selections):


FIRST TEAM (*=2011 Best XI)

GK- Jimmy Nielsen, Sporting Kansas City

D- Matt Besler, Sporting Kansas City

D- Victor Bernardez, San Jose Earthquakes

D- Y. P. Lee, Vancouver Whitecaps

M- Graham Zusi, Sporting KC

*M- Osvaldo Alonso, Seattle Sounders

M- Brad Davis, Houston Dynamo

M- Landon Donovan, Los Angeles Galaxy

M- Chris Pontius, D.C. United

*F- Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthquakes

F- Robbie Keane, Los Angeles Galaxy


GK- Michael Gspurning, Seattle Sounders

D- Aurelien Collin, Sporting Kansas City

D- Jay DeMerit, Vancouver Whitecaps

D- Jeff Parke, Seattle Sounders

M- Kyle Beckerman, Real Salt Lake

M- Kei Kamara, Sporting Kansas City

M- Mauro Rosales, Seattle Sounders

M- Roger Espinoza, Sporting Kansas City

M- Juninho, Los Angeles Galaxy

F- Thierry Henry, New York Red Bulls

F- Will Bruin, Houston Dynamo


GK- Andy Gruenebaum, Columbus Crew

D- Carlos Valdes, Philadelphia Union

D- Brandon McDonald, D.C. United

D- Arne Friedrich, Chicago Fire

M- Dax McCarty, New York Red Bulls

M- Rafael Baca, San Jose Earthquakes

M- Dwayne DeRosario, D.C. United

M- Oscar Boniek Garcia, Houston Dynamo

M- Patrice Bernier, Montreal Impact

F- Alvaro Saborio, Real Salt Lake

F- Freddy Montero, Seattle Sounders


There are always players who just miss out and this year we had some very good candidates who just missed out. New York’s Kenny Cooper, San Jose’s Marvin Chavez and Steven Beitashour, and Seattle’s Eddie Johnson are some of the players who stood out as players who were definitely good enough to be on one of the teams.


What do you think of SBI’s selections? Which picks on the first team did you like seeing the most? Who do you see as the biggest snub from the first team? How about the biggest snub that didn’t make any of our three Best XI squads?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. YP Lee as the only fullback is questionable to me, especially seeing him on the 1st team. Justin Morrow deserves a shout here, especially as teammate Beitashour was mentioned in the column.

  2. A bit surprised you picked Rafael Baca as third team over Sam Cronin, but the combo of them both (Sam Rafael Baca-Cronin) would make one dynamite second team midfielder.

    Justin Morrow should be there somewhere.

  3. I know some Dynamo fans will wonder why Bobby Boswell is not listed and that is a good question. However, the biggest secret in Houston is that Jermaine Taylor was our best centerback and best defender all year (including the time when we had Geoff Cameron). In reality, both of those guys could be on the list somewhere as well as Tally Hall (although its hard to argue against Gruenebaum). Seven years, five conference finals, four MLS cup appearances, and three MLS championships (by Saturday) and still very little respect. I love it.

    • Taylor is pretty good. Makes me wonder how DC did not sign him when they had him on trial…and the team was desperate for defensive help.

  4. Always tough calls to make for limited places on these teams. Although his consistency fell off a bit over the past couple years, I still believe Nick Rimando deserves some consideration for 3rd team. Unfortunately the stellar defensive efforts of RSL over the last several weeks of the season were overshadowed by the inability to score goals of their own…

    • I second this. Really surprised not to see Rimando on any of the 3 teams. I would easily put him as RSL’s MVP of the year, over Beckerman or Saborio.

  5. How’d you feel about Andy Najar’s season? His versatility in moving from midfield to defense was crucial for DC. Did the postseason blunder ruin a solid season for him?

    • Yeah, Najar was valuable in filling what loomed as a massive hole in DC;s injury-decimated back line. I might add that it was an especially nice surprise because some, myself included, railed against the team’s decision to enter the season with only one back-up fullback — at a time when both starting backs were hurt.

      On the other hand, while his performance offered some tantalizing lineup ideas even for a healthy DC United, he really wasn’t that good. He could add some exciting attacking potential from the back, but that’s mostly just theory. I don’t think he was effective. He made many exciting runs — but he produced only one assist and had no goals. As a defender, he left the back line exposed more than once with his attacking position and ale misjudgments he made in defense.

      He might have a career ahead of him at RB, but he’s hardly a top player there. I’d even say he’s not even one of DC’s top 2 RBs…now,

  6. What about someone like Federico Higuain? I know his # of games hurts him, but can’t discount the impact he had on Columbus. 5 goals, 7 assists in 13.

      • Good to hear. He’s the underrated Besler (who’s also usually underrated) in my book. He’s been a rock in the back even without Geoff Cameron there.

      • I think Boswell might get more consideration amongst the league if he didn’t insist on being such an a-hole. He’s solid, but I think goes a little too far with it to earn most people’s respect

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