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Sporting KC places 4 players on MLS Best XI

Sporting Kansas City may not be playing in the 2012 MLS Cup Final, but a reminder of the great regular season they had came on Monday in the form of four players being chosen to the MLS Best XI.

MLS commissioner Don Garber announced the Best XI on Monday afternoon and KC’s Graham Zusi, Jimmy Nielsen, Matt Besler and Aurelien Collin were selected on the team.

Here is the full 2012 MLS Best XI:

Jimmy Nielsen; Matt Besler, Victor Bernardez, Aurelien Collin; Osvaldo Alonso, Landon Donovan, Graham Zusi, Chris Pontius, Chris Wondolowski, Robbie Keane, Thierry Henry.

What do you think of the squad? Who do you see as the biggest snub? Who were you surprised to see make the team?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Did you forget how KC started the season.7-0-0. That is not the impressive part though. The impressive part was the 400+ minutes of not allowing a shot on goal. Who does that? When was the last time you ever heard of anyone coming anywhere close to 300 mins? KC’s defense this year was phenomenal.

    • 400+ minutes without allowing a shot on goal, then how is Jimmy Nielsen on this list as opposed to a keeper that had to man the shooting gallery and made a ton of saves?

      • The only people ahead of Nielsen in save percentage (and a reasonable amount of games) are Hamid, Gspurning, and Sean Johnson. I think if Gspurning plays all year and keeps his numbers, it’s a much harder decision between him and Nielsen. That being said, hard to argue a full season consistency.

      • Somebody needs to develop a more nuanced way of scoring saves, so that a save that seems impossible isn’t scored the same as a save that looks more like catching practice. That isn’t to say that I think Nielsen isn’t deserving here. I didn’t watch many SKC games, but I did watch Johnson make a string of incredible saves to keep SJ at bay at Buckshaw for 90 minutes. If he was making stops like that throughout the season, then I doubt he is getting the recognition he deserves.

  2. Not a single fullback on the list. Sad. Not that I think any of the XI is undeserving, but Justin Morrow had a 5 star season as both a Fullback and a CB.

    Not to mention, something doesn’t seem right with the keeper and both CBs being from the same team. Generally, if the CBs deserve to be on the list, the keeper doesn’t have enough to do to make an argument for himself. That isn’t a hard and fast rule, but I think some one is being deceived by the stats.

    • What is with this Justin Morrow hype. Dude is fast but other than that he’s a disaster waiting to happen. And he’s not even the best fullback on his own team!

    • Yeah, I thought Morrow was very solid over the length of the season. And I agree about stats not telling the whole tale. Since KC very successfully employed a high, team oriented pressure defense. the back line and keeper should have had much less to deal with. For KC ,fewest goals allowed is a testament to their overall team D, not strictly their back four, although they were very good.

      • Yes, it takes a team effort to have a season as great as KC’s defense had, but the fact is Besler was the leader of that defense and a consistent force in the back. Collin started the season incredibly, but wasn’t as effective in the second half. Besler wasn’t just a standout defender, he also helped start attacks with his excellent passing out of the back. Bernardez was a worthy candidate too, but he made his share of mistakes and also missed a chunk of the season with a knee injury.

  3. The 4 KC players may look like a lot but think about the formation and the past awards already handed out.

    Jimmy Nielsen won goalkeeper of the year so it would be weird not to have him in the best XI.

    Matt Besler, Victor Bernardez and Aurelien Collin were the finalists for the defender of the year so it would make sense that in a 3 man backline that the three highest rated defenders of the year are going to be in it. Two of them happen to play for KC, which along with Nielsen, had the best defense in the league.

    And Graham Zusi was stellar this year and is a MVP finalist.

    I am not surprised by this selection. There is only 11 spots. There will always be snubs.

    • Okay but Besler didn’t deserve to win Defender of the Year (Bernardez followed by DeMerit) and Nielsen didn’t deserve to win Goalkeeper of the Year (if Gspurning didn’t play enough games there are still half a dozen guys better than him, starting with Kennedy, Hall, and Gruenebaum), so only one of those four, Zusi, deserves to be best XI

      • Not really. Besler definitely deserved Best XI, and for my money was Defender of the Year. So here’s my question. If you don’t think Nielsen deserved goalkeeper of the year and Besler and Collin didn’t deserve Best XI how do account for KC having the best defense in the league?

      • how do account for KC having the best defense in the league?

        KC had more games against an inferior Eastern Conference. Having Houston, a formerly Western conference team “wax their boards” as the fifth seed lends a bit of credence to this. I think Omar Gonzales return from injury was more important to the Galaxy than Keane’s return to form ( but the man was (how to you say “on fire” in Gaelic ..O’ en Fuegauh?) It’s easier to account for a defensive back’s play when you have a winning side, but Besler’s impact on his team was less than Gonzales IMHO. And I agree with most of the pundits on this board in naming the best 11 on the most popular formation in the League 442 which should be the default for all awards. So take out Henry, put in some corner backs and take out a center back. (Unless you really wanted to give Henry some consolation award for being on the most snake-bitten team in MLS history.

      • I didn’t read all of this because it looks ridiculous.

        “more games against inferior Eastern Conference”

        Check the standings/points of the playoff teams in each. If that’s not good enough for you, SKC went 6-1-2 against Western Conference in the regular season (and 2-0 in US Open Cup).

        As for Houston ‘waxing’, unfortunately Houston takes full advantage of playoffs having no home field advantage. Their hunkering down for 90 min in KC only worked thanks to a no-call.

  4. Ridiculous, San Jose and LA should both have more players in the best XI than KC.

    SJ: Wondolowski, Bernardez
    LA: Keane, Donovan
    KC: Zusi

    What is this three CB nonsense? 2 and neither of them should be from SKC. And Nielsen is just a joke, barely a top 10 gk, it should be Gspurning.

    • It’s clear you don’t watch MLS outside your Southern Cal stations.

      I’m just as surprised about Collin on there, but Besler is the Defender of the Year on every media outlet and Jimmy Nielsen set new goalkeeping records, statistically only challenged by Gspuring who probably would have taken the honor with a full season.

  5. 3-4-3 is a joke. Soccer is a defensive game. Pandering to fans that don’t like that ? Weird.

    Along the same lines, Alonso should be in the talk of MVP, second to Wondo, of course it will go only offensive like it (almost) always does.

    • Alonso is great, but no one should touch Wondo for MVP. head of the best team, and tied the all time goal scoring record. It’s Wondo and everyone else so far below it doesnt matter who is #2, #3, #4, etc.

  6. Think the squad is rubbish, nobody in the MLS this year played a 3-4-3. MLS should make their best XI based off the most common formation in the league. I would probably remove Henry and put in another defender, same argument could be made for Keane since he struggled a bit early on but Wondo has to be in there.

      • I also don’t like the 3-4-3, but not because it’s rarely used — it’s not like this lineup has a slate of games coming up. But using that formation for a Best XI often overlooks the outside backs, and there were a ton who had great seasons this year.

      • … a means to an end. If there were four superbly great defenders and only two superb forwards, we would have seen a 4-4-2.

      • You really think they’d pick a defensive lineup for the AllPro squad? Sophisticated fans may appreciate defense but this is designed to annoint fan favorites at a more populist level.

        You can sense a regular season bias in the picks because Landon had his meltdown, SJ fell apart vs. LA (Bernandez got hurt), KC’s vaunted defense (4 picks including 3 defense!!) got Dynamoed, and there ain’t a Dynamo finalist in sight.

      • It’s a regular season award, so yeah there’s some bias there. Just like all the other awards (rookie, comeback, humanitarian, defender, keeper, MVP)

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