MLS: 11 At The Final Whistle Announced

Earning the "Best of...."

Don Garber announces the MLS Best XI: (3-5-2)

G: Ricketts

DEF: Olave, Borchers, Gonzalez

MID: Ferreira, DeRosario, LeToux, Morales, Donovan

STR: Buddle, Wondolowski


TSG’s Best XI:

A play on our preview columns.

Here’s our selections for the best of the best in MLS this year.

Note! We are taking playoff observations into account as they provided further data. We’ll update this piece on Tuesday when MLS announces their own “eleven findings.”

Really, though, no surprises on this list, in our minds:


G: Kevin Hartman

The skinny: Our selection for keeper of the year as well provided the guidance to the back four of Dallas during the season and made a handle-full of big saves.

DEF: Sean Franklin, Omar Gonzalez, Jamison Olave, Heath Pearce

The skinny: Got to choose four defenders. Name for me an MLS team that employs a 3-back set. A cop out to not name four.

Morales: Strong on the ball for RSL....

MID: Landon Donovan, David Ferreira, Javier Morales

The skinny: Anybody you would remove from this list. Donovan leads in assists.

FW: Sebastien Le Toux

The skinny: Our MVP, until we watched Ferreira on Sunday.

STR: Edson Buddle, Chris Wondolowski

The skinny: Easily the two most prolific.

C: Frankie Yallop

The skinny: Edges out Schellas Hyndman for doing more with less and developing game plans to counter the best.


Reserves: (7)

Jimmy Nielsen, getting some well-earned respect here at TSG.

G: Jimmy Nielsen

The skinny: Nick Rimando is a product of his back four and we already discussed Donovan Ricketts shortcomings earlier today.

Jimmy Neilsen kept KC in it.

DEF: Nat Borchers, Bobby Convey

The skinny: Nat Borchers junkyard-dogged his way to top-3 defender of the year status. MLS’s Jay DeMerit. Bobby Convey solved a problem for San Jose and provided a little offense on the edge.

MID: Brad Davis, DeWayne DeRosario, Andy Najar, Jeff Larentowicz

The skinny: Brad Davis was Houston until Geoff Cameron’s concern. With little offensive support Davis was still the consummate professional.

DeRosario should be on the 1st team, but his attitude and infamous goal celebration drop him to the bench. I debated dropping him altogether. (Scratch that…I just dropped him.)

The redhead from the Rockies takes his spot.

Andy Najar. Not my ROY, but forced defenses to account for him on a horrific DC United team. That earns this place.

STR: Omar Cummings

The skinny: Says here that Cummings wins the Golden Boot if he plays on Los Angeles.

More later Tuesday…

11 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by JasonPrice on 2010/11/16 at 7:59 AM

    Fun to think with. I like that Nielsen gets some credit here, but shocked not to see Lindpere who is surely a better choice than Brad Davis and Jeff Larentowicz. Again, I don’t see the fascination with Sean Franklin. I would choose Albright, Kimura and Drew Moor (though I know he has moved centrally) before him. The two players that have seemed to get shafted on everyone’s end of the year best XI lists are Kyle Beckerman and Sharlie Joseph. Very much taken for granted old-news players, but still two of the most vital players in the league. Also, would take Zakuani over Najar at this point, and pray that Santino Q can find his way to a decent club, where he flourish.

    Moor Gonzalez Olave Pearce
    Donovan Ferreira Joseph Lindpere
    Le Toux Wondolowski

    Kimura Borchers Ream Convey
    Beckerman Morales Zakuani
    Schellotto Buddle Cummings


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/11/16 at 8:14 AM

      As always Jason good selections.

      I think I definitely shafted Lindpere. No doubt there.

      I still take Franklin over Moor and you lost some credibility with Albright who is a great story but is a player offenses should have targeted more.

      In my awards piece I gave plaudits to Busch and Sean Johnson but at the end of the day Neilsen did more with less. Also Busch is prone to a gaffe a game.

      Najar was a sentimental pick. Possible to go with Montero or Zakunani ahead of him. I just think if you’re playing United do you fear any one at all besides Najar?


      • Posted by JasonPrice on 2010/11/16 at 8:54 AM

        These exercises are always fraught, but they spark good discussion.

        Albirght was really quite reliable for most of the season, and what people forget is that he was operating with Richards on his flank (who doesn’t track back generally), with Petke/Mendes beside him on the backline, a very quiet Bouna C. in goal who was NOT delivering much instruction. He was very consistent and also provided consistent, dangerous service throughout the year.

        As for the second choice GK, that all comes from your playoffs caveat. I think ultimately it could be a whole slew of keepers, but I think Hartman was head and tales above the rest.

        Also credit to Santino who would also switch the point of attack to Najar with some really exceptional Paul Scholes-like balls.

        Regardless, fine picks and also good to see Brad Davis getting some love, another great MLS guy.


        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/11/16 at 10:19 AM

          Brad Davis is really the ultimate complementary player. He’s like the Joe Dumars of MLS.

          He has to carry Houston, but there is no doubt that 1) you can win a championship with him and 2) you don’t ever have to worry about his position.

          Maybe not the most entertaining season from him or the Red Bulls, but name for me the top lefthalf.

          (Not saying you don’t agree, just stating my case.)

          Don’t know why he never consider LB for the national team. Bob obviously likes him.


  2. Posted by Jake C. on 2010/11/16 at 10:07 AM

    What was the reasoning for Ream’s exclusion? I’m also not a diehard Gonzalez fan yet. Granted, I only started watching him toward the end of the season (when the Galaxy started slacking defensively), but he was too inconsistent for me. Case in point was the playoff game against Dallas. In contrast, Ream has been the epitome of consistency this season, despite NYRB’s defensive changes around him.


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/11/16 at 10:17 AM

      I like Ream quite a bit and I think he’s a top-eight defender maybe already. Omar Gonzalez was pretty solid all year…definitely had a poor one against Dallas.

      For Ream, he had a poor one against SJE at Red Bull Arena and he needs to work a little bit more on his tackling. I picked 6 defenders including only 3 central defenders. He was in consideration for one of those spots.


    • Posted by JasonPrice on 2010/11/16 at 10:23 AM

      I think Ream has a much better upside then Gonzalez, and is leagues ahead of Borchers and Olave and probably anyone else you want to throw in the mix like Chad Marshall in terms of skill and awareness, I just think there is some hesitation to promote a rookie to a first team, that’s all.

      And as for the game against San Jose, we should be careful. He had a bad moment against Convey who had come from the back line and had a pretty excellent moment himself in the turn. Other than that Ream played pretty well on a day when the team around him didn’t show up.


      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/11/16 at 10:44 AM

        I need to see Ream going forward. The one thing we know about Gonzalez is he is relentless at going after the ball on offense in the box.

        As Tuesday pointed out a few months ago, there is concern about Gonzalez’s clumsy wheels, but I’m not ready to cede upside to Ream just yet. I do like that he is extremely mobile.

        Both need a ton of work on communication which is almost baffling for me because they’ve played the position before and as good college players you think they would have developed their voice.

        The fact that Ream is a lefty as well should not be lost. The US suffers woefully from zero distribution out of the left side of their defense. That’s a huge point in Ream’s favor.


  3. Posted by Jake C. on 2010/11/16 at 10:51 AM

    I agree with you about the San Jose game, Jason. Ream definitely got turned by Convey, but then again Convey pretty much destroyed everyone that night. That said, I don’t think I’ve seen enough of Ream as a tackling defender, which gets to your point, Matt. I think Olave is a much better defender on that point alone, and definitely earns his place in the starting XI. I guess my main point of contention was the final game of each player–Gonzalez was responsible for at least two of those goals, whereas Ream only conceded one and otherwise played well enough on the night. Not much of a case there, to be sure, but it had me wondering. That doesn’t mean that Gonzalez should have been cut out of the list, either–again, just questions.


  4. Posted by Sgc on 2010/11/16 at 11:47 AM

    “Name for me an MLS team that employs a 3-back set. A cop out to not name four.”

    Name me one that plays with 3 forwards and zero d-mids.


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