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Keane, Valeri and Wright-Phillips headline SBI’s MLS All-Decade Team

With the new decade officially underway, it is a good time to look back at the decade we just said farewell too, including the decade in MLS, and the best the league had to offer.

Major League Soccer had some special teams in the past decade, from the dynasty run of the Robbie Keane-led LA Galaxy, to Toronto FC’s treble-winning side. The New York Red Bulls deserve some plaudits for their trio of Supporters’ Shields, while the Seattle Sounders finished the decade with more trophies than any other team in the league, including the MLS Cup it capped the decade with.

Who were the best players in MLS in the past decade? The answer depends entirely on the criteria you choose to base your team on, and while some might focus on players who had the most impressive peaks, and some other might look strictly at accumulated stats and titles, there should be some middle ground factoring in all those elements.

SBI’s MLS All-Decade Team are the players we believe had the best overall decades at their respective positions, and who had at least four full seasons in MLS in the decade.

Here is SBI’s MLS All-Decade Team:

Stefan Frei

There were some goalkeepers with very good cases for this spot, including Luis Robles and Nick Rimando, but Frei helped lead the Seattle Sounders to a pair of MLS Cup titles, and saved some of his best work for some of his team’s biggest matches.

Steven Beitashour

MLS wasn’t blessed with many right backs who could boast longevity, quality and team success in the past decade but Beitashour set the bar as a key figure on three different elite teams. He won a Supporters’ Shield with the San Jose Earthquakes, multiple trophies with Toronto FC, and capped his stellar decade with another Supporters’ Shield with LAFC.

Chad Marshall

A player who would merit a spot on the all-time MLS Best XI, Marshall followed up an impressive first decade with a stellar second decade as the pillar of Seattle’s defense. The 2014 MLS Defender of the Year was a key figure in the Sounders’ run to the 2016 MLS Cup  title, and was a dominant defender for most of the decade.

Omar Gonzalez

The defensive anchor on the decade’s most impressive dynasty, Gonzalez would have had a spot on this team even before his return to MLS and 2019 season with Toronto FC, but his return and contributions to TFC’s run to another MLS Cup final only added to Gonzalez’s impressive resume, which included three MLS Cup titles and the 2011 MLS Defender of the Year award.

Justin Morrow

The left back position was arguably the weakest in MLS in the past decade, but teams that were lucky enough to have Morrow had no complaints. His ability to get forward, along with his strong defensive qualities, made him the most complete left back in the league for years. It isn’t a coincidence he was a key presence on two of the decade’s top teams (2012 San Jose Earthquakes, 2017 Toronto FC).

Osvaldo Alonso

MLS had several impressive defensive midfielder standouts in the past decade, but none were as dominant for as long as Alonso was. He helped Seattle win an MLS Cup, Supporters’ Shield and three U.S. Open Cup titles, then finished the decade with a season in Minnesota, where he helped the Loons become a playoff team.

Diego Valeri

One of the best signings of the decade, Valeri has been instrumental in helping establish the Portland Timbers as one of the league’s better teams. His consistent production for the better part of seven seasons gave him the edge over some other playmakers with strong cases, such as Nicolas Lodeiro and Landon Donovan.

Sebastian Giovinco

It was impossible to leave out the Italian star even though the forward position was overcrowded, but Giovinco was worth making a positional exception after his record-setting 2015 season, and the trophies he helped TFC win.

Bradley Wright-Phillips

How do you leave out a striker who scored at least 15 goals in five straight seasons, and served as the leading scorer on three MLS Supporters’ Shield winning teams? You don’t. Wright-Phillips was far too prolific and dependable to exclude from any All-Decade team, even if his injury-plagued 2019 season may have

Chris Wondolowski

No player embodied consistency like Wondolowski, who scored at least 10 goals in each season this decade. Yes, you read that right. Every single season. His then-record 27 goals in 2012 served as the high point, and his play that season, helping the Earthquakes win a Supporters’ Shield, was some of the best soccer we saw in MLS this decade.

Robbie Keane

The figurehead of the LA Galaxy’s dynasty run at the start of the decade, Keane was the leading star on the 2011, 2012 and 2014 MLS Cup title runs, earning four MLS Best XI selections and the 2014 MLS MVP award.


  1. Somewhere there should be a place for Mike Magee. He was not the most athletic player, but his tactical sense of the game had Robby Keane wondering how he was so often ignored in USMNT call-ups and MLS recognition.

    Also, he so obviously enjoyed playing that it was a joy to watch him play as he made clever movements to get open or free up space for teammates.

    Even if you think there is not enough depth for a full second team, he could be named as its sole member.

  2. I’d really challenge the inclusion of Omar Gonzalez (as well as in the All-decade USMNT) and Justin Morrow. Landon Donovan definitely deserved a place in the All-decade MLS Team. It’s absurd that Ives failed to include LD in this roster, the expense of Wondo (I’m a San Jose Earthquake fan). If the USMNT All-Decade-Team has a second team why NOT the MLS All-Decade?

  3. I would say that 3 #9s at expense of midfielder.

    OG also made a recent top USMNT team of decade.

    I just don’t see it but maybe that T & T debacle is just burned on my retina!

  4. My comments without doing much research.
    i like how it actually looks like a team. Maybe a little attacking in the midfield, but not 7 forwards. Ozzie is the most obviously answer out there for me, but rarely gets appreciated.
    Landon played 5+ years in MLS during the decade and won three, but I guess I get it Valeri played 7 and was great too. Maybe just a testament to how good LD was to even be brought up with only 5 years
    5 players for Toronto with Jozy and Bradley not on there. That really is pretty crazy when you think about it. Partly for what could have been, obviously they probably win another if they stay with Frei, Partly for what they have done. Probably not many places show what MLS will be better than Toronto. Seattle and Atlanta being where it gets to, Toronto being how most teams get there.
    Can’t wait for the next decade, maybe this will be the decade when more people actually realize/catch a clue as to what is going on. Either way, we are VERY lucky to have MLS

  5. My two quibbles would be OG at CB and Morrow at LB. Omar because of his time in Mexico which took him away from MLS during his prime years and Morrow because I’m not convinced he was the best at the position.

    • I didn’t to any research for this so maybe he didn’t play as many years as I thought, but Beasley at LB maybe.

    • Villafana has only had 3 seasons in MLS with 24 or more starts. Morrow has 6 plus an MLS All-Star appearance and a best XI. Beasley had 4 seasons with 24 or more starts this decade and 2 AS appearances. Morrow was part of better teams and probably has the best offensive numbers.


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