The MLS Quarter Pole: Who is on the MLS Best XI?

Landon Donovan 3 ( 

The 2009 MLS season is a quarter of the way through and while we're still a LONG way away from hounding out season awards, we can still take a look at the players who have enjoyed the best form early in the season.

Picking the MLS Best XI is always a tough process but that doesn' mean we can't try to put one together for the first quarter of the season. Here is the SBI MLS Best XI for the first quarter:


———————————Brian McBride————————

–Guillermo Barros Schelotto—————Landon Donovan——

——————————-Amado Guevara————————-

———–Paulo Nagamura———————-Shalrie Joseph—–

——————————–Osvaldo Alonso————————-

Jonathan Bornstein—–Jhon Kennedy Hurtado———Tim Ward



Now it's your turn. What eleven players would be on your MLS Best XI?

Share your picks below.

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68 Responses to The MLS Quarter Pole: Who is on the MLS Best XI?

  1. cbr says:

    wow…tim ward huh? look how far he has come

  2. jleppig says:

    No Pontius?


  3. john says:

    another former young metrostar player we let go too soon.

  4. Saul to Paul says:

    Pontius def deserves to be up there.

    To second what jleppig said: “FAIL.”

    And Nagamura is shiot – he aint nothing special.

  5. Sean Monaghan says:

    my list isn’t based all based on individual skill,part of its based on how valuable they are to there team:






    Subs: Schelotto,Lopez,Keller,Trujillo,Kandji

  6. rob says:

    totally agree on the alonso-hurtado-keller trio. they provide an amazing center core for seattle.

  7. John in FL says:

    No Pontius?


    Posted by: jleppig | May 15, 2009 at 12:06 PM

    Easy to just throw out a FAIL without backing up your facts. Now why would he be picked ahead ofBrian McBride, Guillermo Barros Schelotto orLandon Donovan?

    I’m sure his 3 goals in 9 games aren’t enough. to just put him in on the best 11. Is he the anchor of the attack like McBride ( 8 games 5 goals)? Or is he the one layer that pretty much the whole team depends on like Guillermo (8 games 4 goals 1 assist) or Donovan ( 8 games 5 goals 3 assists)?

    Fail is such a strong word, please substantiated your claim next time, I’m actually curious to see why he should be there.

  8. dub says:

    rob, i concur.

  9. rg says:

    Is that the same Tim Ward who looked like an “infant among boys” and was subsequently benched never to be seen again in the U-20 WC in Canada a couple years back?

    Good for you Tim…keep your chin up

  10. Wispy says:

    Good for Tim Ward — I recall he was so bad at LB in the opening game during the U-20 World Cup in Canada that Rongen benched him in favor of playing Anthony Wallace there out of position. Next thing you know he’s starting for the FIRE and now he’s in Ives’ Best XI. What’s next, the Eredivisie?

  11. ALEX says:

    I will put Mac Kandji in the MLS Best XI

  12. brett says:

    Ward and BMB have pretty much been the most consistent on the Fire IMO… not saying they havent had bad plays from time to time….

    pontius sure has been stellar so far…. but the formation doesnt have any true wingers on it

  13. adam says:

    Maybe its just me, but the MLS has been pretty damn exciting compared to the past couple years.

  14. Michael Cuello says:


    How about a team B? There are some guys who didn’t quite make the team but were so close…

  15. Arry says:

    Sean Monaghan- Pappa really, come on are you serious???? Hes had about as much production as Zakuani has in seatlle…… Your mad mate, if you think Pappa should be in the best 11!!!!!!! You left Joseph off the list but added Lopez…. IF I was to pick someone from KC it would surely be Davy Arnaud.

  16. J-Bag says:

    @John in FL:
    Great response. Even as a DCU fan, I’m not surprised or bothered not to see any United players on Ives’ list… I just want to keep seeing them at the top of the table.

  17. Modibo says:

    @ Sean Monaghan “based on how valuable they are to there team”

    you didn’t watch Prideaux drag his slow a** around the right flank last year very much did you? I’d say Ward has drastically improved that aspect of the Fire’s defense, and added an offensive threat as well. Not his fault that the central defense and Busch is faltering.

  18. Athan says:

    Mac Kandji should definitely be in best 11. He is definitely the most fun to watch, and he adds a dimension of skill/creativity that many MLS players have.

  19. J says:

    liking the “Quarter Pole” feature. good work, Ives.

  20. Rastafari says:

    Ward was my MVP in that Fire – Sounders match.

  21. mskenny says:

    Sean, if you’re going by value to the team, Shalrie Joseph has to be there. As shaky as the Revs have been, it would be much worse without him.

  22. Gilby says:

    Good list Ives, its amazing how far Ward has come. My only change would be adding Arnaud from KC in the Mid Field. He’s scored some huge goals and a couple of game winners.

  23. Q says:

    DCU is in first place but places nobody on the first team? I understand Pontius doesn’t have as many goals, but his team is playing well. Doesn’t Emilio have 5 goals also (not to mention some of them were comeback/game-winner types)?

    Overall though, the selections are solid. You can’t really argue with any of them.

  24. sack says:

    3 Defensive midfielders in the First 11 Ives? Really?

  25. Sean Monaghan says:

    Marco Pappa has been one of this years true shockers, Seattle had a chance to take them and missed out,and so far he has somewhat come out of nowhere and put up great numbers. Sharlie Joseph is a good player…I just didn’t want to mention him because I’m still bitter about MLS blocking his move to Celtic

    If Tim ward was so great they wouldn;t be giving up so many points,easy as that, I’d take Trujuilo on Chivas over him,and I like the Galaxy

  26. Gilby says:

    My understanding is there was a poison pill in Papas contract that prevented Seattle from taking him. Some sort of escalator clause in his salary if he got traded from Chicago.

  27. jleppig says:

    @John in FL: Pontius is a mid and is definitely more valuable than Joseph or Olonso.

    @sack: Seconded.

  28. Buzz says:

    Ives’ love affair with Shalrie is well documented, but really, he hasn’t been that great this year. Yes he is still the best player on the pitch for the Revs most nights, but that really doesn’t mean very much.

  29. Cary says:

    Pappa has to be on there. Shalrie shouldn’t get the nod over him.

  30. Steve R says:

    ———- Onstad———-


    ———–R. Clark———-




  31. Matt says:

    Brian McBride

    Guillermo Barros Schelotto Landon Donovan

    Amado Guevara

    Macumba Kanji Osvaldo Alonso C. Blanco

    Tyrone Marshall Jhon Kennedy Hurtado Tim Ward


  32. Sean Monaghan says:

    Theres no way cooper can be on there,I love the guy and he has no help,but still no chance

  33. art says:

    Man a couple of bad results and everyone’s throwing the Revs under the bus. Shalrie Joseph has been the best player on the field for the Revs this year and certainly deserves to be considered for the best 11.

    Pontius? He’s good but no better than several other rookies in my view, and not quite best 11 material just yet.

    How about a rookie best 11? Not many years you can even field one of those, but you can this year.

  34. SR says:

    I think that Guille and Shalrie are pretty borderline thus far. It can be argued that they played key roles in a few games thus far, but honestly, there are some more consistent big-gamers so far this first quarter. Namely: Kandji, Morales, Pappa, and even Pontius. These 4 guys, among others, have missed games through injury, suspension so I can see where Ives draws the line. Still, I think we’ve all seen these guys put in solid performances when they are starting for their clubs.

  35. Ken says:

    Ives, I’m really glad to see Ozzie and “El Presidente” (Hurtado) in this list. They’ve been great for Seattle this year, the heart and soul of our backline. Let me plug Jose Romero’s article on Ozzie over at the Seattle Times once more:

    link to

  36. Sean Monaghan says:

    a rookie starting 11 would be tough,what a class though of rookies eh?Pontius,Wallace,Holbein,Frei,Gonzalez,Cronin,Zakuani, Tierney,Nyarko

  37. ALEX says:

    ————Kasey Keller————





  38. Steve says:

    Ives list is far better than any other posted here.

    Mac Kandji? Really? 2 goals and 3 assists for one of the worst teams in the league thus far gets you best 11?


  39. Roberto says:

    Keller (Frei)
    Conde JK Hurtado Berhalter
    Schelotto Alonso S Cronin C Clark
    Kandji FMontero

  40. Berlin says:

    Mine would look like this:

    ———- Onstad———-


    ———–R. Clark———-

    –Mullan—-B. Davis—-Holden–


  41. Michael Cuello says:

    To call some people idiots for having Kandji on their best 11 is too much. What separates the goal leader from Kandji? two goals? If that was the case then let’s forget about the way people play and let’s go only by the stats! Conor Casey over Kandji anyone? NO!!

    It’s not about numbers people, if that was the case JPA/C.Gomez should not have been chosen to the all star game last year!!

  42. Ives says:

    Listen folks, I get that there was never a chance that everyone would agree on a Best XI (That’s pretty much impossible) but the complaints about Pontius are a bit misguided. I’m a fan of Pontius and recently said he was the Rookie of the Year at the Quarter Pole, so how am I short-changing D.C. United? Yes, they’re in first place and playing very well, but you don’t get players on Best XI because your team is in first. If anything, the last of any First Team selections shows how balanced and well-rounded D.C. United has been this season. Pontius has had a very good season to date, but Best XI? Not ahead of any of the players listed.

    I was planning on posting a second team but have been busy traveling today. I will look to include a second team tonight if possible so look out for that.

    Lastly, the Shalrie Joseph criticism is a bit crazy. He’s a lock first-teamer. He had one notably bad game, vs. Real Salt Lake, and we all saw what happened to New England when Joseph didn’t play well.

  43. Roberto says:

    Now the all rookie best 11

    K Alston D Barnes Bessler R Wallace
    Zakuani Alonso Pontius
    montero kandji ( yeah it’s his 2nd year but there’s no more…)

  44. jleppig says:

    Will we see a week 9 fantasy post today?

  45. duthie says:

    how can you have Cronin in a best 11 of the season but not in your best 11 rookies of the season roberto?

  46. JoeW says:

    1. I’m pretty much in agreement with Ives’ list. I might sub Thornton for Keller. Keller has been good, very impressive. But I actually think Thornton has been better over the course of the year and Chivas has given up fewer goals. I know, I know, it’s splitting hairs but I do think it’s not about Keller being bad, just Thornton playing maybe the best soccer of his LIFE right now he’s been that good.

    2. I have no problem with Pontius not being on there. DCU and Chivas lead the East and West respectively and there is no-one (other than Bornstein who I actually think would not be my first choice) from either side on the list. But both DCU and Chivas have not had consistent lineups. They’ve rotated people in and out, given lots of PT to many different players. I think Pontius is the favorite for RotY and both he and Wallace have really shown well (even I didn’t rate Wallace as equal to Hall as an outside mid and now look at the two of them!). But Pontius isn’t even close to being an MLS Best XI so far this year.

    3. No Kandji either–not even close folks. Kandji has a world of talent and has a couple of halves where he’s looked outstanding. But I’d rate about 8 strikers who’s body of work this year has been better than Kandji’s starting with Donovan (just immense–on a terrible team where EVERYONE knows who’s going to get the ball or have to make it happen and he still generates results in the most meaningful way). Take away Donovan and LAG might have 1 point–if that–you can’t say that about any other player in MLS (even Shalrie Joseph). Schelotto may be the next most essential attacker to his team (after LD). And McBride is having the kind of season this year everyone assumed he’d have when he came to MLS: winning 50-50 balls, setting an example, setting up teammates, scoring goals, hustling, winning fair-play and outstanding leader accolades. And then you add guys like Montero, Pontius, Cooper and Arnaud. To me, Kandji has been like Josh Wolff–about 3-4 halves have really impactful play combined with some MIA’s (due to injury or walk-abouts).

    4. I “might” choose Segares over Bornstein (who I believe has played some midfield) and Beckerman (who’s had some down games but has been outright dominant in others) over Nagamura but I could live with either of those choices–they’ve both had some outstanding play or big impact moments (in Nags case) this season.

  47. SeattleStan says:

    Wow, that is ridiculously close to my all-star vote. Well, aside from Guevara.

  48. ALEX says:

    Steve, let put your mom instead of Kandji

  49. Percy says:


  50. Big Daddy Brando says:

    You have to include Adrian Serioux in this list. He’s been amazing for TFC and has had an enormous effect on the team this season.

    Don’t sleep on Scarborough Ives.

  51. JoeW says:

    As for the all-rookie team:
    1. Wallace has played 1/2 at left back. Otherwise he’s been an outside mid.
    2. Pontius has played a game at A-mid, 2 others at outside mid but mostly he’s been a striker.
    3. Kandji is not a rookie. Neither is Montero–he’s a professional who’s new to MLS. I also have a problem with Alonso as a rookie–he’s a veteran player who’s new to MLS. If Alonso is a rookie than he’s rookie of the year unanimously. Unless of course we said that Keller was “rookie of the year” (he’s as much of a rookie as Alonso is).
    4. There are a ton of really good rookies that you don’t acknowledge on your list: Hall, Barklage, Merisovic, Cronin and on and on and on. You could easily field an all-rookie team this year with the 11 best in MLS and be competitive in the league…without having to label Montero, Keller and Alonso as “rookies”.

  52. i says:

    Funny how defense was supposed to be Seattle’s weakness.

    And after the first two weeks of the season, who would have thought Montero wouldn’t be in the top XI?

  53. Looking Dangerous says:

    Keep disrespecting DC, Ives.

    Namoff over Tim ward is the obvious choice here.

  54. Mike says:

    SR how can you say GBS has been Borderline?

    he has 4 goals and an assist and has been playing like a madman through the start of the season. The Crew right now are 2 games of bad luck and 1 of a bribed reff away from having 4 wins. GBS should be on this team, he’s played well enough to earn it.

  55. Sean Monaghan says:

    I have checked the polls…so far I have more votes than Tim Ward

  56. Sean Monaghan says:

    and for the guy who dares to ssay Davy Arnaud over Lopez on KC….looks at the facts….Arnaud has had a couple moments of brilliance this year…but other from that hes been what???BORING.Lopez takes all free kicks and penalties for KC,and also is there leader

  57. JMR says:

    My best eleven might include players like Pontius if it didn’t have 2 AM’s and 3 DM’s but did have a couple of wingers instead. Then again my best eleven might not have a keeper. Really depends on what you mean by best eleven? Top players at each of the positions or just the top players overall? Would you expect them to create a cohesive unit on the pitch or are we just naming names?

  58. soundersmays says:


    Just to clear the record, three of the goals Sounders FC gave up were not on Keller. He’s only had 2 goals against this year. I believe Thornton has 3 GA, which is good. I think they are in contention with each other, don’t get me wrong.

  59. K1p says:

    I’m glad the Dynamo do not have any “stars”, just one hell of a team!

    Dale Dynamo!

  60. Sean Monaghan says:

    Yup…..the Dynamo are AMAZINZG…

  61. Roman says:

    There’s no question Ward has been a big improvement over Prideaux, but Segares is a better defender and a hair better going forward. And Ward was at fault for letting up the goal against a 10-man Seattle side and for being out of position on Joseph’s goal last week. Don’t get me wrong I’m a huge Ward fan, but his defensive lapses have cost the team.

    Is it just a matter of MLS being weak on the right side of defense? Or is this a budding Ives man-crush on Ward? He penciled in Ward as a honorable mention Best XI after the heart-breaking Seattle game.

  62. Richard, UK says:

    Conde. Conde Conde Conde!

  63. Joe says:

    all u r crazy for talkin bad about Shalrie…all the other dmids are clowns- do any of you know soccer??

  64. Roberto says:

    joe w you are right about the other rookies, however, barklage and the other players you mention ( with the exception of Cronin do not deserve to be in a rookie best 11 reason; not enough playing time…. The reason I changed some players positions is because I needed to come up with some sort of starting 11 that’s why I adapted some positions judging by how polivalent some of these players seem to be. Ok take out Alonso and definitely put Cronin in (he’s in the best MLS 11rookie or not) and I don’t remember putting keller on the rookie list (I put frei) and that’s where my list stops…cause there is no forward rookies this year that I could see earning a spot…. Maybe n’silu or cam weaver? I don’t know

  65. Andrew says:

    Javier Morales, clearly.

  66. Nick from Big Soccer says:

    I think its a measure of how far MLS has come that I can think of a bunch of excellent players that are NOT on Ives first XI, or that the 2 first place teams in MLS have between them 1 player on the first XI.

    While a rookie team would be great MLS just does not have enough excellent rookies to make a strong team. Instead you might want to have a combination Rookie/Newcomer Team.

  67. chg says:

    Aside from Alonso and Kandji, were any of the others mentioned in this discussion playing in the A League last year? Never going to happen, but promotion/relegation would be tremendous.

  68. I’m currently watching the Chivas USA / DC United game, and am noticing that Ives recognition of Nagamura and Bornstein seems spot on.

    For all those Pontius (butt)-kissers, the kid may be good, but Chivas USA’s team defense has rendered him invisible tonight. [Also, no way in hell Beckerman gets the nod over Nags–who ever believed this (stuff0 didn’t see the recent Colorado / Chivas USA game where Beckerman’s poor defensive clearance lead to Nags goal.]

    Lesson: Some of you need to put your “East Coast bias” to rest and stay up later to watch some Chivas USA games. Aside from having the best record in MLS, they also play the most entertaining football in the league.