SBI MLS Player of the Week & Best XI (Week 1)

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In a weekend with plenty of standout performances, there was none better than that of Javier Morales, who scored a pair of stunning goals and set up a third in Real Salt Lake's season-opening 3-0 win vs. San Jose.

Morales was the easy choice for MLS Player of the Week, and he leads this week's SBI MLS Best XI for Week One.

Joining him on the squad are, among others, former MLS MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Colorado striker Omar Cummings and Kansas City newcomer Ryan Smith.

Here is this week's SBI MLS Best XI:

SBI MLS Best XI (Week One)

———————Omar Cummings———————————

—————————Guillermo Barros Schelotto————–

Ryan Smith————Javier Morales————–Steve Zakuani

————-Joel Lindpere———-Osvaldo Alonso—————

——–Wilman Conde—-Tim Ream——Marvell Wynne——–

————————–Bouna Coundoul—————————

HONORABLE MENTION– Nick Rimando, Omar Gonzalez, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Mike Petke,  Mike Chabala, Davy Arnaud, Patrick Nyarko, Edson Buddle

Some thoughts on our picks:

Marvell Wynne may never play centerback as well as he did last Friday, but there's no denying he was a key force in Colorado's shutout. Tim Ream was also a key figure in a shutout, while Wilman Conde made more saves than Chicago goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra to help keep the Fire in its match vs. New York.

In midfield, Morales was the star of the week, but Lindpere, Smith, Alonso and Zakuani were all instrumental in their team's victories. Lindpere ran New York's midfield and his tireless work-rate coupled with his opportunitistic game-winning goal made the difference vs. Chicago.

Up top, Omar Cummings was easily Colorado's biggest attacking threat, and his game-winning goal was beautiful. Schelotto was his usual masterful self, scoring one and adding an assist in Columbus' 2-0 win vs. TFC.

In goal, Coundoul had his shaky moments vs. Chicago, but he made key plays when he had to in a weekend where no MLS goalkeeper had an unforgettable performance (though Nick Rimando did play well in RSL's romp).


What do you think of this week's Best XI? Which player deserved to be on the squad that didn't make it? Which selection do you feel didn't deserve it?

Share your thoughts below.

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55 Responses to SBI MLS Player of the Week & Best XI (Week 1)

  1. Missoula says:

    Anybody have any idea if Gary Smith plans on using Wynne as a CB for the entire season? I know we have Kimura at RB, but it makes me nervous with Wynne in the midde. Also, he isn’t able to use his greatest asset, speed, as well when he’s in the middle of the defense.

  2. JW says:

    Well, I would have to say that Patrick Nyarko and Edson Buddle really kicked some butt out there this week. If Nyarko would have scored I would have put him on the starting XI and Buddle was a live wire as well and although he did score once, I would agree he did not quite make it in the starting XI.

    Also that fist goal from Morales has to be Goal of the Week.

  3. Eric says:

    I believe Fabian Espindola also deserves at least an honorable mention. He scored the second goal for RSL this weekend and also drew the foul for the red card and resulting 3rd goal. He played very well, especially with Morales.

  4. Kevin in Denver says:

    There’s no way Wynne is the solution to the Raps CB problem. He’s gotta play wide, and combined with another ankle-biter at the back, his lack of size is going to be a problem. It just wasn’t against Chivas USA, who never, ever threatened to score Friday night.

  5. This Guy says:

    I’d go with Andy Iro over Ream. Iro had a solid defensive match to go with his goal. Ream gets the nod on a Pro-Red Bull site though, I understand that.

  6. Randall says:

    Coundoul? That dude looked like an accident waiting to happen. I’d give the GK spot to Hesmer.

  7. Haze says:

    Coundoul us in the top XI? Haven’t seen the rest of the keepers in the league (first year following MLS) but he was rather unimpressive.

  8. This Guy says:

    Coundol did look horrible. I just re-watched the match today. terrible clearances and shaky keeping all match. He was the one poor player on the pitch for RBNY on Sat.

  9. Josh D says:

    Disagree – Ream looked like a 10 year vet. He was everywhere..

  10. Josh D says:

    Welcome to MLS : )

  11. dallas says:

    I think Ream’s performance in his first ever MLS match was entirely solid and has earned a well deserved place in the MLS XI of the week. He was comfortable on the ball, made a few great tackles, one saving a goal, and cemented himself as a perfect pairing for Petke in the center of defense for a team I believe is in for a huge turn-around from last year.

    Again, this is a rookie stepping into the worst defense from the previous season, and he was solid every moment of the match. More than deserved his praise.

    All this coming from an FC Dallas fan who went to our AWESOME 8k attendance opener.

  12. Hoser says:

    Rimando was nails.

  13. smorebs says:

    I’m surprised you gave Bouda top GK honors this week. You were ripping him on the play by play. Other than that, no complaints.

    (SBI-Coundoul was shaky at times, but never cost his team a goal. Yes, he got lucky, but he also stepped up and made saves when he needed to. He was also helped out by the fact that there weren’t any truly stellar GK performances this week.)

  14. SombraAla says:

    I think that Auvray with KC was at least worth an honorable mention, but I suppose I do have a bit of bias – anyone else agree with me?

  15. Thomas Beck says:

    Condoul made a few superb saves, but he was incredibly lucky not to give up the first-ever goal in a regular season match in RBA when he let Brian McBride have a shot at an open net – it’s not Condoul’s fault that it hit the post and didn’t go in.

  16. bigvic says:

    Hey, I just read in an Argentinian paper that Maradona has had contact with Javier Morales. Ok, so I made that up. Hey, if Maradona can call up a player from the Mexican league, as he did a few months ago, it isnt out of the question to call up an argie from MLS.

  17. Idaho Brian says:

    If Morales was in his early to mid 20s…maybe. Unfortunately, Javi won’t get a sniff at the Argentina Nats since he is now 30. Having said that, I think Morales is a top MVP candidate again this year…

  18. Matt says:

    Danny O’Rourke NEEEEEEEDS to be on this list. If you watched the Crew/Toronto match, you’d be slapping yourself for not putting him in. He played a sensational match and created the second goal 10 seconds after blocked the potential game-tying goal. He dominated Toronto and deserves more respect.

  19. attenborough says:

    I nominate the top XI people responsible for the new league website. It was nice of them to invest so much time in convoluting the game streams/match tracker experience so that they could entirely overlook the necessity of section where one can see accurate scores and statistics. And let’s not completely overlook the schedule section…games at 2 and 4am, huh? Lovely.

    And what channel are any of these games on? Don’t look on the league site, cuz hell if they know.

  20. Ed says:

    LOL Andy Iro?! My dead grandmother is faster than him for goodness sake.

  21. sidereal says:

    Coundoul was atrocious. You’re making a huge mistake identifying an ‘outstanding performance’ by a keeper as one with a bunch of diving saves. . never mind a host of positioning errors and bad decisions that almost cost his team the game.

    A keeper can have an outstanding performance and never have to make a single save, as long as he organizes his backline and positions himself perfectly. Rimando had a good game. Keller had a good game (and he even made some saves). I didn’t catch any of the other games, but have no doubt that Coundoul had one of if not the worst keeper performance this week. Odd candidate for best XI.

    (SBI-From a technical standpoint you can say Coundoul had a lot of shaky moments, I agree with that and said as much during the match, but he came up big when the pressure and shots game so he gets the nod.

    And at what point did I use the word “outstanding” to describe Coundoul’s performance? I didn’t. Ultimately, it wasn’t that special a weekend for goalkeeping performances. It just wasn’t. Keller made one nice save early in the match but that was it for him. How many truly difficult saves did Rimando have to make? Hesmer had a decent game but Columbus wins that game with Sigi Schmid in goal.

    If we want to get technical, Troy Perkins had more tough saves than anybody, could have been 7-0 KC, but do you give him the nod? Not really. Coundoul was instrumental in helping the team win. Of the other GKs mentioned, which of them really led their teams to a win?

    Yes, there is more the playing goalkeeper than making saves, but for the purposes of this week and this Best XI, Coundoul made enough plays to merit the nod. Wouldn’t be good enough most other weeks, but it was this week.)

  22. madmax says:

    Coundoul and Buddle played poorly. Surely someone played better.

  23. PeteK says:

    I think Burpo was by far the best keeper this week. Great save on Buddle and the header down by his feet (can’t remember who hit it). I think he is being overlooked.

  24. New to the US of A says:

    Which team or teams should I watch if I want to get the best MLS experience? I tried to watch the Seattle v Philly match but I thought it was poor, of course, that had something to do with Philly being a new team and needing time to gel.

    Is there a matchup this week that would get a football fan interested in MLS?

  25. Dickov says:

    I think Rimando deserves at least honorable mention as he secured a shutout and was solid all match. Let’s not forget that he stopped a 1v1 shot on goal by Johnson after Borchers was taken out just outside of the box. If Condoul can get props for being “shaky at times, but never cost his team a goal,” then Nicky deserves some consideration as he wasn’t shaky and stepped up when he needed to.

    (SBI-That’s fair, Rimando deserves honorable mention, but RSL wins that match with Ned Grabavoy in goal.)

  26. trickhog says:

    The header he saved was from Gonzilla.

  27. KChad says:

    Agreed. He was a menace, an annoying little gnat that won’t give you any space. His distribution was good too.

    But I’m a little biased too.

  28. Brennan says:

    What channels do you have? They dont televise much football here in America.

  29. sidereal says:

    Another reason the Thursday game was poor was the conditions. It’s hard to pick up on TV how much it was absolutely pissing down rain. The field was slick and the ball was slick and nobody could see more than 20 yards downfield.

    For this week, I’d go RSL @ Houston and NYRB @ Sounders, which is likely to be wet, but not monsoon wet.

  30. Hincha Tiim says:

    I second that opinion, Eric.

  31. Stpauljosh says:

    Yeah, I’m kind of peeved I bought mls matchday live. Feeds were spotty, the rest ofthe website is ridiculously lame to navigate.

  32. Stpauljosh says:

    Agreed. How many “broad side of the barn” shots did he miss? He couldve/shouldve had a handful of goals.

  33. sread says:

    I would put Pickens or Rimando as the GK of the week…but not Coundoul. He has raw talent but is a nightmare when he leaves the box like that.

  34. Jay says:

    No Auvray or Kamara? Both were fantastic for KC Saturday.

  35. UPthaTOON says:

    Rimando was keeper of the week! I’m biased..

    Also, JJ from KC had a very strong first game.

  36. DCLee says:

    I’d also go with the Revs vs DC as Both teams have a lot to prove and their is great history between the two.

    Only negative is it appears DC needs time to gel but RFK seems to always help them will to play good soccer/football.

  37. This Guy says:

    Did your dead grandma score a goal on Saturday?

  38. Russ says:

    Even today, I challenge you to find video footage of the 2nd Crew goal on the new MLS site. The archived match (which I threw down good money to watch) craps out just before it and comes back 5 minutes later, and the highlight reel skips it too.

  39. GY says:

    Agreed. Iro was solid defensively and he got into the right position to score and finished very well.

  40. BrooklynFC says:

    Lindpere and Ream are both going to be special players for RBNY…… Coundoul is a heartattack waiting to happen… some of his saves were great but than he clears the ball terribly or runs out on collins john and does not secure once he gets there….

    P.S. Collins John is going to be a beast…. If De Los Cabos does not want him RBNY should Kandji for him

  41. BrooklynFC says:

    Conde for Defender of the year

  42. Tim F. says:

    Great picks Ives.

  43. Retro says:

    Nice job Ives!! I know you do a tireless job of keeping soccer fans connected. That said, would it be too much to have a weekly, or monthly best rookie team? I think it would go a long way in following their progress. Thoughts?

  44. Jerome says:

    Marvell Wynne using his speed has prevented him from Being on the WC Squad. Maybe playing in the middle for a season will force him too have a better touch and tactical awarness, so he can use those qualities when he gets shifted back out wide again in the future.

    Im not worried about Wynne’s height either, The guy’s jumping ability makes him 6’5

  45. Lennon says:

    Where’s Nick Garcia?

  46. Chodilicus says:

    Rimando was definitely the First XI goalie for week one. I know that RSL scored 3 and it did not look close but if you watched the game, San Jose had a lot of chances. That one-on-one save on Johnson and then that point blank rocket that he saved when Olave got hurt were both amazing.

    Speaking of Olave, he is by far the best defender in this league and if he is not hurt should definitely be the front runner for Defender of the Year.

  47. harry krishner says:

    Ream played years beyond his age. He was even better vs. Santos. This guy is destined for the USMNT soon.

    Conde is solid, but he whines and dives too much.

    Lindpere was a great signing for the Red Bulls. They will contend this year.

  48. kb says:

    since MLS just ‘borrows’ existing feeds, i think its fair to blame the canadians for this one. they knew goal #2 was coming and blocked the feed.

    on a serious note, HUGE upgrade. i can plug into my HDTV and watch a relatively nice feed. i expect more improvements in the near future. way way way way way way better than the MLSlive of years past.

  49. Adam says:

    Ricketts over Coundoul, he had a solid game for the galaxy, made saves when he needed to make them, stepped up in the box at the right times to cut off the revs long ball attack, he is just a beast.

  50. TFC4Life says:

    We need the MLS worst XI. Nick Garcia would be top of that list for sure. I hope that is the last opportunity Preki gives him. Kicked the ball of the head of his injured keeper which bounced to Schelotto who scored on an empty net (among other terrible mistakes).

  51. Azilis says:

    Wow, I had to hit the refresh button to make sure my browser hadn’t made a mistake when I saw Condoul’s name. He was bailed out by good luck (on the McBride’s bicycle kick) and poor finishing by the Fire.

  52. Azilis says:

    I’m responding to the SBI comment inserted here . . . there were a number of good GK performances this week (Hesmer and Rimando off the top of my head). Condoul looked as shaky as Dykstra.

  53. Alex says:

    I had Ryan Smith on the bench! I wasn’t sure if he was going to play, and I wasn’t about to take that chance.

  54. Joamiq says:

    I think he already does a pretty regular rookie watch feature