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MLS Team All-Time XI Criteria Explained

SBI will unveil its picks for the All-Time Best XIs for every Major League Soccer team in the coming weeks, and it is important to lay out our criteria for selections.

There is no universal formula for choosing an All-Time XI, and there will always be instances here multiple players have similar cases for their inclusion.

For starters, there is a difference between choosing players who were the best at their peaks and those who put together the best careers at their respective clubs. There are players who had dominant single seasons or two-season runs, while there are players who may never had similar peaks, but solidified their standing with consistent and lengthy tenures.

In reality, you can make up an all-time team based on most dominant individual seasons and it may not be anywhere near the same as the all-time team based on careers with the club. For the purposes of the SBI All-Time Best XIs, longevity and consistent quality generally won out over shorter stretches of dominance.

Here are the minimum requirements for selection on an SBI All-Time MLS Team Best XI:

  • Must have spent three consecutive seasons with a team OR three seasons in a four-year span in order to qualify, playing at least one game in each of those three seasons.
  • Must have played a minimum of 50 games, with a minimum of 40 starts.
  • Players can be included on up to two different teams’ All-Time Best XIs

The teams have been chosen based on position, and we have tried to ensure the selection of players in the following positions: Left back, centerback, right back, defensive midfielder, attacking midfielder, winger, forward. In some instances where a team had multiple elite options at one fullback position, but not the other, we doubled up on the position of strength. The same goes for wingers.

We took some liberty with tweaking formations to play to the strengths of each team’s player pool, though we stuck to a four-man defense for all teams. We realize that some teams have used three-man defenses in the past, but no team has used a three-man defense long enough to make us feel like we had to change our standard four-defender setup.

The SBI team isn’t above listening to feedback from our readers, so if we are presented with a compelling case for a change to our selections, we will certainly consider adjusting picks, though that isn’t something we will be doing too often.

Enjoy the series and let us know what you think.

Here are the SBI MLS Team All-Time Best XIs that have been revealed so far:

D.C. United

New England Revolution

Sporting Kansas City



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