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The SBI 2014 MLS Best XI

MLSMVPFinalists

By IVES GALARCEP

The 2014 MLS season will come to an end on Sunday with the MLS Cup final, but the regular season ended a month ago and this year saw several of the same stars who stood out in the post-season also turned in stellar regular season campaigns.

When the final four teams played in last weekend’s conference finals, they featured many of the very best players in the league this season, including all three finalists for MLS MVP honors. Lee Nguyen, Obafemi Martins and Robbie Keane were clearly among the best in the league this year, and they headline the SBI picks for 2014 MLS Best XI.

Landon Donovan and Thierry Henry capped their final seasons in MLS with Best XI-worthy finishes, and they are both joined by teammates on SBI’s selections, with Keane and Bradley Wright-Phillips also making the Best XI.

Here are SBI’s selections for MLS Best XI, as voted on by the SBI editorial staff:

SBI 2014 MLS BEST XI

SBI 2014 MLS Best XI

Some SBI Best XI Notes:

Seven players were unanimous first team selections. Hamid, Marshall, Nguyen, Valeri, Keane, Wright-Phillips and Martins were all unanimously voted in by SBI staff.

We didn’t stick to natural positions this year, as you may not by the 3-4-3 formation and lack of defensive midfielder, but this group of players is very much deserving of Best XI. SBI will put together a positional Best XI later this week. It should be noted that it’s always difficult to put together true positional Best XIs, especially when you consider that teams in the league run a variety of formations and systems. That said, our positional Best XI will be a standard 4-4-2.

Jermaine Jones played a total of 10 regular season matches, and 613 total regular season minutes, so as much as he did help the Revs considerably upon his arrival, he was not up for consideration for the Best XI. Former Columbus defender Giancarlo Gonzalez was well on his way to a Best XI nod before a strong World Cup led to his transfer to Palermo, so he is was not under consideration either.

Now, here are the rest of SBI’s¬†selections for SBI MLS BEST XI:

SECOND TEAM

——-Joao Plata——-Dom Dwyer——-Clint Dempsey——–

————Javier Morales———Pedro Morales—————–

————Kyle Beckerman—–Oswaldo Alonso—————–

–Michael Parkhurst–Omar Gonzalez—–Sean Franklin——-

————————–Nick Rimando—————————–

THIRD TEAM

—–Fabian Espindola—Gyasi Zardes—-Erick Torres———

—–Federico Higuain——————Sebastien LeToux——-

—————Will Trapp———Matias Laba——————-

—Robbie Rogers—–Jose Goncalves—-A.J. De La Garza—-

—————————Steve Clark——————————-

FOURTH TEAM

—-Blas Perez—–Chris Wondolowski—Fabian Castillo—-

—–Lamar Neagle——-Luis Silva——-Ethan Finlay——-

—————————Perry Kitchen————————–

—–Andrew Farrell—-Nat Borchers—-Chris Schuler——

—————————David Ousted————————–

FIFTH TEAM

—-Giles Barnes——Quincy Amarikwa—Jermain Defoe—

————–Dillon Powers————–Lloyd Sam————-

——————Victor Ulloa——–Tony Tchani————–

——–Zach Loyd——-Jamison Olave—–A.J. Soares——-

—————————–Luis Robles—————————

——–

What do you think of the selections? Who missed the cut that you feel should have made our Best XI? Who are you glad to see mentioned in one of the teams?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. As a Rev’s fan, I have a problem with a few of the selections. There is no way Jose Goncalves belongs on these teams at all and he absolutely is not better that Andrew Farrell. Mony of us hope he is exposed in the expansion draft and goes elsewhere.

    Even though Jones only played 10 games, he deserves at least a second team nomination. He is the second most valuable player on the Revs and nobody can say he doesn’t belong on this list somewhere.

    Glad to see Bradley is getting the credit he earned…. snubbed. He was terrible this season.

    Finally – isn’t it interesting that some of the players Klinsmann rates so highly are far down or absent from this list

    Reply
    • you seem to forget that the “Best XI” isn’t about who the best talent is, it’s about who had the best season; same reason Bradley is not on the list. Whilst MB is a top player in the league, he wasn’t this year. Whilst Jones is clearly a top talent in the league, he only played 10 games so wouldn’t be fair to put him on a list. If Ronaldo somehow transferred to an MLS team on the last day of the season and played one game, would you put him in the Best XI for that season?

      Reply
  2. A question for Ives: In your opinion, would the fact that FCD tends to rotate the No. 1 and No. 2 keepers every other game or so be the reason why neither Seitz nor Fernandez made any of these teams? Both had good seasons, but was the fact that they almost split the number of games in the season work against them in terms of recognition?

    Reply
  3. As a Galaxy fan, I would swap AJ DeLaGarza and Omar Gonzalez, and add Marcelo Sarvas to the fifth team ahead of any of those midfielders, as he’s been the midfield engine of the Galaxy team this year. Not flashy, but dependable and our most consistent player all season long…

    Reply
    • You are going to swap out Omar after the game he had against Seattle on Sunday ? And you are a LAGals fan ?

      If the injuries were reversed, Seattle would have torched LA worse than 2-1…guarenteed.

      Reply
      • What the heck are you talking about? I’m referring to season-long performance as it relates to MLS Best-XI selections, saying I would put AJDLG on the second team and Omar on the third team…based on their performance over the course of the entire season, not one playoff game….

      • I think he’s referring to Ozzie’s hamstring (and possibly Neagle’s absence too?). Meaning: let’s see what happens if LA but not Seattle were missing their starting CM (Juninho). And if Quit Whining meant Neagle too, then LA’s outside mid/winger (Donovan/Zardes, depending on which side we’re talking about, though for comparison’s sake go with Zardes).

        It’s one of those “whatifs” that could haunt Sounders fans…if they let it.

      • Next season, all home games will conclude with an unannounced duration of stoppage time, the end of which will be signaled by Drew Carey suddenly slapping a buzzer and awarding “style points” to one of the teams.

  4. It’s hard to take a list like this seriously when it doesn’t have Bradley or Yedlin.
    It’s kinda like JK taking Brad Davis to the WC over Donovan.

    Reply
    • Bradley had a fairly lousy year, but even in this off year, I’d rank his play over Powers. And probably Yedlin over Farrell. Outside backs and CDMs get no love in these rankings. I think I’d bump either Donovan or Henry to second team, and promote Ozzie to #1. And I’d trade Fabians- Castillo over Espindola. Good lists though.

      Reply
    • He almost certainly will be in the January camp, our CB pool is shockingly shallow considering it’s generally been one of our more covered positions. I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see a JAB/Hedges pairing as the starting CBs in at least one of the friendlies.

      Reply
      • I really want to see Hedges in a system where he is required to play the ball on the ground. I don’t really think it was ever an issue at Dallas as a proper high press isn’t exactly an MLS tactic.

        As far as pure defending goes? Hedges is amazing. He isn’t captain at 24 for nothing.

      • “I really want to see Hedges in a system where he is required to play the ball on the ground”

        +1 So does Klinsi. I’m pretty sure “CB’s who can play the ball comfortably out of the back” is easily at the top of JK’s Christmas list, well ahead of other needs, even a world class CF.

        This is the main reason for the recent Jones experiment, in my mind– clearly, it was our biggest Achilles heel at the WC and has been agains elite foes for some time Any CB who can show that he has the technical ability, composure, and vision to do this under pressure will get a look.

  5. Congrats to Robbie Rogers. Did anyone foresee RR making the third team best XI last year? If you answered “yes,” you’re a liar. But he’s been brilliant this year. Couldn’t be happier for him.

    Reply
  6. Ya nailed it Ives. I am not sure why Sean Franklin does not get more love from fans and the USMNT. To me he is our best right back. Love Yedlin’s speed but he has one foot and one move; anyone notice how Galaxy completely neutralized him by making him go right.

    Reply
  7. All the haters and whiners out there go su ck it.

    I will take the third, fourth and fifth teams all day long. US soccer is crushing it.

    Reply
    • By whom? Hamid played 600 more minutes, faced 60 more shots, made 50 more saves, and won his conference. Second team behind that is perfectly respectable.

      Reply
      • If only Rimando hadn’t been better than Hamid and had instead missed out on the world cup, perhaps he could have played an additional 600 minutes, faced 60 more shots and made 50 more saves in the MLS and been first team.

        Of course, all Rimando did accomplish was to have a 1.04 goals against average, and save 4 of 5 penalty kicks this year (maybe he should teach Hamid how since he wasn’t able to stop any of the five he faced). Granted, in six extra games Hamid had three more shutouts than Nick did, and a slightly higher (.75 vs. .73) save percentage, so I can see why he is considered for the top spot as well. But it gets old to have the best goalkeeper in MLS over the last five years get second place again to someone from bigger markets.

      • Not to mention the fact that he played in the western conference and became the all-time shutouts leader (w/ over 40 fewer games played than the previous leader). I probably just have a “small market” complex.

      • If you are from Utah, you know this is the “Jerry Sloan” syndrome for the exact same reason. Apparently, you have to be on a team that sucks, and then gets good to be able to really be the best.

      • It’s a season list, not a career one. And maybe missing some games for World Cup duty hurt him in a close race, but them’s the breaks. It’s an MLS list, for this season. Not the absence of Jermaine Jones for just that reason (it even says so). But let’s be fair all around, most soccer stats are in large part team stats. Saving shots doesn’t teal you anything about the quality of the shots faced, shutouts are as big a function of the defense in front of you, when it comes to top line keepers, it’s really an eye test and a judgement call. Both would have been worthy choices, I’ve seen lists that put hamid as low as seventh (Bleacherreport, for instance)

        As for your previous year comment: http://www.sbisoccer.com/2013/12/the-sbi-mls-best-xi.html

  8. Benny Feilhaber quietly had an outstanding year for SKC. Absolutely should have at least merited a spot on at least the fourth or fifth team.

    Reply
  9. The fact Diego Chara doesn’t make any of the five teams deems this whole selection ill-conceived. The guy is a mid-field terror.

    Reply
    • I don’t disagree too much with the picks, but slowleftarm is exactly right.

      Besides the obvious 1 defender getting screwed out of a spot for another forward ( when many teams are going with 1 )….guys like Ozzie Alonso/Jones/Beckerman don’t even have a spot in this formation.

      Are we going to sub in from the second team. Alonso would be an incredible sub….for Valeri ?

      Reply
    • I’ve always wanted to see an all-star match of Forwards vs. Defenders (with regular goalkeepers). I know it will never happen though; no keeper is dumb enough to join the all-Forwards team.

      Reply
  10. How does Diego Chara not even crack the fifth team? Arguably fights for a spot in the second team, better than Will Trapp in the third team.

    Reply
    • If they use the same criterion that they did in excluding Jermaine Jones, you can see how Birnbaum didn’t make the cut, as he only started playing about half way through the season. As a DCU fan, that bugs me less than how low Perry Kitchen got rated. Fourth Team????

      Reply
    • Agree about Nogueira — I have been on that train since week 1.

      I think Boswell has been overrated here this season too.

      I was really looking forward to seeing Ndrew Farrell’s progression this season, but was disappointed so am surprised to see him make even the fourth team.

      Reply
    • Definetly. Didn’t get the stats, but definetly the best player on the field. Union fans love him, but he’s underrated around the league.

      Reply

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