Photo by USA TODAY Sports
By IVES GALARCEP
It may not seem like it, but we have already seen one quarter of the 2015 MLS season go by. If you feel like it has flown by, you are not alone.
It doesn’t seem that long ago that Orlando City was making its MLS debut in front of a packed Citrus Bowl, but yes, we have watched the weeks fly by. The early going was a bit sloppy, and light on goals, but things have begun to pick up in recent weeks as some of the league’s top teams have begun to hit their stride.
With one fourth of the season already in the books, I decided to take a look at the best performers through the first quarter of 2015. In my latest piece for Goal.com, I gave my picks for the top league awards, and selected a Best XI for the first quarter of the season.
Here is some more insight into the picks, including the toughest decisions:
There were several coin-flip type situations that took place in some categories, where multiple candidates stood out among the rest. Here are some:
GOALKEEPER– David Ousted was a very strong candidate, but ultimately the edge went to Shuttleworth by a slim margin as he has had more work to do than Ousted, who has had the benefit of a more stable defensive setup.
DEFENDER– There were several good candidates, including Kendall Waston, Matt Hedges and Andrew Farrell, but for now the nod goes to Gonzalez. The battle for Best XI defender slots will be fierce this year.
ROOKIE– Fatai Alashe has been a very good addition to the San Jose Earthquakes, but he narrowly lost out to Matt Polster, who has quietly been a key figure in the Chicago Fire midfield.
BEST XI Left Back– Chris Tierney has been excellent for New England, and nearly got the nod, but Brek Shea has been a real revelation at left back for Orlando City.
BEST XI Central Midfield– Matias Laba was a very good option ahead of Dax McCarty, but the option went to the Red Bulls midfielder, who has been a true workhorse in the middle for one of the surprises of the early season.
BEST XI Forward– Toronto FC fans are clamoring for Sebastian Giovinco’s inclusion, and he was definitely in the conversation until the end. Octavio Rivero’s production has slowed down, but the picks were made based on body of work, not who has scored more recently, and Rivero produced in more victories than Giovinco, who has scored three of his four goals in losses.
Give my story a read and let me know what you think of the selections. Which picks do you think were off the mark? Which selection were you happy to see? Which player do you think is not getting enough love for his early-season form?
Share your thoughts below.
If you simply look at attacking production, then sure, Shea is your left back. But Tierney has been the most complete fullback in MLS this year.
McCarty is no surprise. He’s been a RBNY hero for a while.
Well, I don’t see how you leave Benny Feilhaber off any best players list so far this season. His teammates have let him down at times, but he is killing it.
ya its crazy, he is playing the best ball of his career and is just a better player than the two listed above, his ceiling is higher and he is doing more
If I was Chris Tierney I’d rather not be named than to be named and loose to Brek Shea. BTW..We’ll get to compare Tierney vs Shea Friday night when their teams face off.. We’ll see how much of a monster Shea looks then. I think Teal Bunbury is going to embarrass him
Shea will most likely be at left mid on friday due to Molino’s injury.
One other thing. Chad Marshall. I realize it is very competitive, but he is a monster.
I don’t know why the links to articles in Goal.com aren’t posted here all the time.
I NEVER go to Goal.com, except when I ALWAYS go, from a link to an Ives article, in a post like this.
I’d bet I am not alone.