SBI’s 2010 MLS Under-23 Best XI

Fredy Montero (

Photo by

With all the retirements of long-time MLS standouts in 2010 there has been some concern over who would take their places. If the members of SBI's MLS Under-23 Best XI show anything, it is that the league has plenty of young talent ready to take over.

Omar Gonzalez may be the only player 23 or younger to make the actual MLS Best XI, but there were plenty of young players who had good enough seasons to merit consideration. From Fredy Montero and Steve Zakuani in Seattle to George John at FC Dallas and Tim Ream in New York.

With that in mind, here are my selections for the best players 23 and under in MLS in 2010:

SBI MLS Under-23 Best XI

1st TEAM

GK- Sean Johnson, Chicago Fire

D- Omar Gonzalez, Los Angeles Galaxy

D- Tim Ream, New York Red Bulls

D- George John, FC Dallas

M- Steve Zakuani, Seattle Sounders

M- Will Johnson, Real Salt Lake

M- Juninho, Los Angeles Galaxy

M- Brek Shea, FC Dallas

M- Marco Pappa, Chicago Fire

F-  Fredy Montero, Seattle Sounders

F- Justin Braun, Chivas USA

2nd TEAM

GK- Bill Hamid, D.C. United

D- Nana Attakora, Toronto FC

D- Zack Loyd, FC Dallas

D- Kevin Alston, New England

M- Andy Najar, D.C. United

M- Eric Alexander, FC Dallas

M- Michael Stephens, Los Angeles Galaxy

M- Emmanuel Ekpo, Columbus Crew

M- Dax McCarty, FC Dallas

F- Danny Mwanga, Philadelphia Union

F- Teal Bunbury, Kansas City Wizards


(Yes, I dropped Andy Najar off the first team and forgot to put him back on the second team (hence the picture in the original post). He was in line for a first-team spot but lost out to the five midfielders listed. He's back on the list as a second-team selection).

What do you think of the squad? Is anybody missing who should be on the first or second team?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Major League Soccer. Bookmark the permalink.

42 Responses to SBI’s 2010 MLS Under-23 Best XI

  1. Erich says:

    More and more impressed with MLS. These are quality young players that the league is attracting and keeping.

  2. tmack says:

    i know he missed a significant portion of the season, but ike opara showed plenty in the games he played, as his solid defense and 3 goals scored can attest

    (SBI-This team is based on what the players did, not their talent or potential. If we were doing a Best XI based on potential and ability, Opara would be on the list, believe me, but playing just 11 games wasn’t enough to beat out the guys listed, who all played twice as many matches. Bill Hamid is only on the second team because there were no other Under-23 goalkeepers who played much.)

  3. Willardo DuPont says:

    I’d take Najar over Pappa any day.

  4. Chicago - Scott says:

    Jonathan Spector has 2 goals in the first half vs Man United right now!!! :)

  5. Chicago - Scott says:

    I guess that’s why you aren’t the one making this list

  6. RedLine55 says:

    good timing on Ives article link this morning. This can’t hurt the stock at all. Note that he’s playing Midfield-D.

  7. bla bla says:

    Spector is Bum trashing United right now LOL

  8. elduderino says:

    Spector 2 goals against Man Utd… are you freaking kidding me. He is EN FUEGO.

  9. RedLine55 says:

    good timing on Ives article link this morning. This can’t hurt the stock at all. Note that he’s playing Midfield-D.

  10. Peter says:

    Miracles do happen.

  11. Illmatic74 says:

    Aren’t those his first professional goals.

  12. Illmatic74 says:

    Is Scott Parker in the game wearing Spector’s jersey?

  13. larry y says:

    So, when does the Olympic qualification begin? Yes, I know it’s a bit early to start projecting.

  14. bkyn says:

    I would take Tchani over any of the 2nd team MFs, with the exception of Najar.

  15. wilyboy says:

    Brek Shea better than Najar? Wow, people need to show some love. I can’t for the life of me understand it.

  16. Thor says:

    LOL Najar is the best U-23 in MLS why the hate because he bested Ream in ROY

  17. Clayton says:

    Good to see George John and other FC Dallas guys getting some love., and Eric Alexander is such an underrated player. Hopefully he can step in and fill Dax’s roll as well as he did this year. Can’t wait to see who Dallas picks up in the offseason. Great season Hoops.

  18. Thor says:

    I would take the seecond team over the first team straight up

    (SBI-As much as you might I really don’t see how anybody could argue that the second team had a better season than the first, and THAT is what the Best XI was about. Actual performance, not potential and ability. That could be a different Best XI. Maybe I’ll knock that one out next.)

  19. RedLine55 says:

    Ha, he’s played that position before and done pretty well… particularly under Curbs I believe when he first got to WHU. Crazy what can happen when you play a guy in a “natural” position. Does Avram Grant believe in Miracles?!?!? ha

  20. Nathan says:

    (I doff my cap to you sir.) 😉

    Who said this was a Red Bulls blog anyway?

  21. boosted335 says:

    Good list…. props to the creator.

    I am curious about the potential SBI potential list now

  22. Nb5 says:

    I’d argue that Mwanga deserves to be on the first team. Just personal opinion, though.

  23. SayervilleFC says:

    Zack Loyd over Anthony Wallace? Starting in MLS Cup for the league champs doesn’t get you what it once did, apparently.

    And no Tim Ward? (DOB 2/28/87) He’s started over 40 games the past two years for a pair of playoff teams. I’d take him over Nana Attakora.

    (SBI-Wallace played seven games during the regular season and I’d hardly say he had a good playoffs. He was the weak link on Colorado’s back-line. The kid’s still got some promise but Zach Loyd and Attakora simply did more this season. Maybe that changes in 2011 when Wallace has a regular job and more confidence, but for 2010 I’ll stick with Loyd and Attakora. Darrius Barnes has a better argument against Attakora than Wallace does.)

  24. boosted335 says:

    Zach Loyd was the reason Wallace doesnt have a job with FCD anymore.

    For sure Wallace got the last laugh, but Loyd is the better player from what I’ve seen.

    Wallace seems like a great guy and im happy for his success; the trade worked out for everybody it seems

  25. tmack says:

    fair enough…i kinda figured as much….just keepin’ ike’s name out there…looking forward to hearing some reports on his play over in spain this week

  26. JZ says:

    Is Stephen Frei older then 23?

  27. Mattmatumbo says:

    I always forget that the Canadian Dirk Kuyt is still a youngster.

  28. Justin says:

    I wish these lists would use 4 defenders. they always get the shaft.

  29. DC Josh says:

    Ives, Mwanga misses out on 1st team accolades for Justin Braun? Emmmm, okay?

    (SBI-Not really a question at all. Braun had a better year, period.)

  30. Fred Garvin says:

    SSFC is gonna announce Montero as DP tomorrow

  31. Brian says:

    I really don’t understand how the Rookie of they Year is on the 2nd team. But hey it’s not my blog. And I’m not a DCU homer either

    (SBI-There were five midfielders who simply had better years, and NONE of them were rookies, so it shouldn’t really be hard to understand. Obviously you can disagree, but to say you don’t understand it is far different than saying you disagree.)

  32. benchcapt8 says:

    Blair Gavin, although he was injured towards the end of the season, had a solid year. One of the few bright spots other than Braun this year.

  33. MOUF says:

    this will buy him another 2 years of national team suckage

  34. Scott A says:

    I often have a problem with these lists as the formation chosen is rarely one that anyone in MLS actually uses. It’s not just here, though, it’s everywhere. The first team has 3 defenders, and 5 midfielders with I guess just Juninho being a defensive midfielder. The attacking positions are always disproportionately represented. Nice job Ives though. Just my 2 cents.

  35. PhillyMLS says:

    Ummm, Ives. Dax no longer plays for FCD.

    (SBI-Umm, he played there for the entire 2010 season, which is what the honor is for.)

  36. EDB says:

    Because the midfielders in front of him only junihno i think was a rookie.

  37. Brian says:

    LA Galaxy fan here and I don’t think Juninho was better

  38. Wade says:

    Agreed about the formation. Often young defensive talent has better room for growth compared to attackers (who might get squeezed for minimal playing time by veterans and DPs more easily). It gives the slight to a guy like Alston, who started in the MLS all-star game (performance in that game aside) and has hige potential especially within the USMNT program.

  39. Chris says:

    I’m glad to see someone agrees with me.

  40. jspot says:

    SBI- I hate criticism.

  41. Brennan says:

    Props to Ives for putting Will Johnson on the first team. He is one of the more underrated players in the league imo.