SBI’s 2011 MLS Best XI

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The 2011 Major League Soccer season was arguably the best in league history, from both a competition and entertainment standpoint, and as a result, it made for some tough calls when deciding on the league's Best XI.

MLS commissioner Don Garber will announce the league's official Best XI later today, but based on the voting of the SBI editorial staff (Ives Galarcep, Avi Creditor, Adam Serrano, Mike Nastri, Jose Romero, Thomas Floyd, Joey Samuel), we came up with a first, second and third team to honor those who put forth standout performances this season.

Four players were unanimous selections to SBI's Best XI, and three players were repeat selections from our 2010 SBI MLS Best XI.

Now, without further ado, here is SBI's 2011 MLS Best XI:  


FIRST TEAM (*=2010 Best XI)

GK- Kasey Keller, Seattle Sounders 

*D- Omar Gonzalez, Los Angeles Galaxy (Unanimous)

D- Todd Dunivant, Los Angeles Galaxy

D- George John, FC Dallas

M- Brad Davis, Houston Dynamo (Unanimous)

M- Brek Shea, FC Dallas (Unanimous)

M- Mauro Rosales, Seattle Sounders

M- Osvaldo Alonso, Seattle Sounders

M- David Beckham, Los Angeles Galaxy

*F – Dwayne De Rosario, D.C. United (Unanimous)

*F – Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthquakes


GK- Nick Rimando, Real Salt Lake

D- Jamison Olave, Real Salt Lake

D- Nat Borchers, Real Salt Lake

D- Chad Marshall, Columbus Crew

M- Landon Donovan, Los Angeles Galaxy

M- Sebastien Le Toux, Philadelphia Union

M- Kyle Beckerman, Real Salt Lake

M- Joel Lindpere, New York Red Bulls

M- Graham Zusi, Sporting Kansas City

F- Thierry Henry, New York Red Bulls

F- Fredy Montero, Seattle Sounders


GK- Faryd Mondragon, Philadelphia Union

D- Sheanon Williams, Philadelphia Union

D- Carlos Valdes, Philadelphia Union

D- Matt Besler, Sporting Kansas City

M- Jack Jewsbury, Portland Timbers

M- Nick LaBrocca, Chivas USA

M- Marco Pappa, Chicago Fire

M- Jeff Larentowicz, Colorado Rapids

M- Geoff Cameron, Houston Dynamo

F- Dominic Oduro, Chicago Fire

F- Andres Mendoza, Columbus Crew


What do you think of SBI's Best XI? Who didn't make the cut that you would have included? Is there someone missing from the first team that you feel should have been on it?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in Major League Soccer, SBI MLS Awards, SBI MLS Best XI. Bookmark the permalink.

61 Responses to SBI’s 2011 MLS Best XI

  1. What about Drew Moor? Broke the ironman record this year previously held by Peter Vermes. Wasn’t he the highest rated player on the Opta Castrol index for the Rapids this year?

    Plus, he’s just a swell guy.

  2. Justa Guy says:

    As a Timbers fan, there is a huge disconnect for me around Jack Jewsbury. The consensus among Timbers fans I talk to and on fan message boards is that he is the root of the team’s poor midfield play, and that he should be traded or benched. With the national media, though, he is considered top shelf, and i always hear announcers say things like “Oh, how the Portland fans love their captain, and how much he has done for the team.”

  3. kpugs says:

    I’m well aware of my Jersey bias; having said that Joel Lindpere not being on the first team is nothing short of an absolute farce. If he wasn’t on the worst-run and worst-coached team in the league he’d have been a definite league MVP finalist. He probably should be even now, he won a handful of games almost single handedly, and you could argue that without him they’d have been in the basement in the east (if not in the whole league).

    I’m still wondering how Henry could possibly have gotten the team MVP award this year.

  4. RSL til I DIE says:

    I don’t know why Kyle Beckerman isn’t on the 1st team, he had way better stats and played way better than Alonso! and where is Saborio, he had one of the highest goals per 90 mins in the league and finished the year with 14 goals! and I would of liked to see Borchers or Olave up in the 1st team as well since they were in the top 3 for defender of the year! and I can think of a few GK’s that should be above Keller!

  5. Seth says:

    Can anyone update the list to show players with their Club and Country info? that’s always an interesting angle. Looks like it’s a bit over 50% USA, about 4 Europeans, a lot of talent from around the Americas

  6. KC fan says:

    Glad to see Graham Zusi get on the 2nd team. He had a helluva season.

  7. Eurosnob says:

    I really like the first team selections, but I would have replaced Wondo with either Henry or Montero.

  8. PetedeLA says:

    I can see what you mean. I’ve enjoyed watching him play, but then there was that one game where he didn’t play, and the Timbers seemed to play a bit better.

    If anything, a lot of your possession is reliant on the bursts from your wingers. I love the attacking verve of your team, but this league has proven that true wingers will be your undoing. You need one more possession oriented midfielder to make yourselves less vulnerable to counters.

    Jack is a good player, but sometimes slows the team down. But in his defense, he is VERY solid on set pieces. He’s definitely earned his paycheck. The problems are elsewhere IMHO.

  9. ms says:

    kevin hartman?

  10. camjam says:

    Yeah I question Ozzie Alonso beating out Beckerman for the first team, but overall, pretty good selections.

  11. marco says:

    3rd team M- Geoff Cameron, Houston Dynamo

    Shouldn’t Cameron be 2nd team CB?

  12. Mother Russia says:

    Lindpere is the most solid player on the NY roster, but that isn’t saying much.

  13. Berlin says:

    You have two Houston Dynamo on your Best XI yet they are in the MLS Cup. Your list is invalid.

  14. Gnarls says:

    We get it, you’re highly biased toward RSL.

  15. Gnarls says:

    That’d be a poor decision. You have to remember that Henry and Montero play with solid teams with solid midfields. Wondo is a one-man wrecking crew.

  16. Anthony says:

    Andy Najar

  17. Gnarls says:

    The Best XI is based on the 2011 season, not the end-of-season tournament known as the MLS Cup playoffs. Houston finished the season with 49 points, 7th in the league.

  18. Poo says:

    I hate how these things are always 352, pretty much all teams play with 4 at the back, and this should be reflected.

  19. TomG says:

    Generally agreed, esp. on the Henry vs Lindpere for MVP. I don’t get too worked up as far as 1st team vs 2nd team, though. Brad Davis might be league MVP and Shea is tremendous. Losing out to those two wings is nothing to be ashamed of.

  20. Peretz48 says:

    Tough to find room on these three teams for a lot of worthy candidates. I would liked to have seen Juninho on one of the teams, but I can understand him getting edged out.

    As dynamic as Wondo was for SJ, I don’t see him edging out Henry for 1st team. The criticism of Henry centers around expecting much more from a DP than others, and the other gossip surrounding his behavior, celebrity, etc. But the bottom line is that Henry creates and scores the type of goals that Wondo is just not capable of scoring.

  21. Steve McSteve says:

    He played the majority of the year at midfield

  22. Tom says:

    As a bleeding orange dynamo fan, I love me some Geoff Cameron… but, listing him as a 3rd team best XI as a midfielder is a bit of a farce. He’s a monster center defender that is a threat to score with his head off set pieces, or with his feet off a run from deep. However, as an attacking midfielder he, and the Dynamo, struggled this year.

  23. Knuckles says:

    As a Sounders fan (and therefore an avowed Timbers hater), I have to say I didn’t see a ton from Jewsbury that impressed me, other than his set piece work. The guy who actually impressed me the most in their midfield was Zizzo. When I watched him he had speed, vision and a great touch. That said, I only watched (other than the two SEA/PDX matches) maybe two or three matches they played. I’d be interested to hear what Timbers fans think of him.

  24. Knuckles says:

    Lindpere’s a stud, and if NYRB wants to get rid of him, the Seattle Sounders will happily swap Brad Evans straight up for him…

  25. Wispy says:

    I agree, but if you add a fourth defender to the 1st team, it has to be a RB. Who would you add? I think the best RB in MLS this year was Sheanon Williams (and I’m a DCU fan) but I don’t think he was good enough to be a Best XI selection.

  26. Knuckles says:

    Question to Ives: Is the 3-5-2 grouping due to a dearth of quality defenders in MLS, or because of a surplus of quality midfielders?

  27. Dlewis says:

    Wondo gets pretty good service.

  28. Dudinho says:

    Josh Saunders? anyone big reason LA has the record they do.

  29. Gnarls says:

    “Pretty good” is about right. Montero has Alonso, Rosales, Fernandez, to name a few. Henry has Lindpere, Rogers, Ream and… yeah that about it. Is there even an argument to be made that Wondo plays with higher caliber players than the aforementioned? I don’t see it.

  30. Gnarls says:

    I’m LA til I die and I love Saunders, but without their solid back three (and revolving 4th) defenders, it’s unlikely his GAA would be as low as it is. Although the same should be said for Rimando. In that case, he and Saunders are interchangeable for the Second Team, IMO. Maybe Rimando got the nod because he played a complete season?

  31. elgringorico says:

    +1 and Chris Pontius. WTF. Yes I am a United Fan but, damn!

  32. David St. Hubbins says:

    LOL no he doesn’t… convey went MIA this season his midfield providers were 34 year old ramiro corrales (moved up from his normal leftback position), rookie rafael baca, USL-level player joey gjertsen, and defensive mids ring/cronin. The only good crosser on the club is the right back Steven Beitashour.

  33. mikebsiu says:

    Kasey Keller and no Sean Johnson?

  34. Matty says:

    I assume Olave is only on 2nd team because he missed time with injuries. Otherwise, he should be a lock for first team. He impressed me (when healthy) more than any defender in MLS.

  35. JJ says:

    Beckerman is miles behind Alonso.

  36. bdtown says:

    Let’s all admit from the outset that Keller is getting a position or 2 bump for posterity’s sake.

    That said, Mondragon is overrated.

  37. James says:

    Absolutely. Keller saved so many points for the Sounders this year.

  38. Tom says:

    Andre Hainault… can play any of the back line positions, had a career year, held the dynamo back line together as CB until Cameron moved back, then moved to RB and helped the Orange to the Cup.

    I will grudgingly admit he may not be first team material, but surely 2nd or 3rd… and who says each of the 3 teams has to be a goofy 3-5-2.

  39. tbkh says:

    What about Richard Eckersley?

  40. Randy says:

    John and Shea dont deserve 1st Team at all, they faded badly when it really mattered.

  41. Pedro says:

    Larentowicz over Juninho? Insane

  42. Whimper says:

    Dont forget abnout Ricketts in the first part of the year also. Mondragon faded at the end.

  43. Jose says:

    Montero had a better season than Wondo

  44. Rod says:

    or De La Garza for that matter

  45. djs says:

    I agree about Moor… he at least deserves to be ahead of any of the defenders on the third team.

    I’m a big fan of Chad Marshall, but having said that, the Crew player who ought to be somewhere on here is Eddie Gaven rather than Marshall or Mendoza. (Robbie Rogers? Despite his status as Klinsi’s Bornstein, as a Crew fan I wouldn’t mind if he played elsewhere next year.)

  46. Dougs says:

    Its likely that Seattle would have been scraping for a playoff spot but for Keller’s best season ( of his 3) this year. He also led the team as a vocal captain from the back. Even if you concede, which I don’t, that others may be better shot stoppers, his leadership more than offsets that.

  47. Martin says:

    Who the hell plays 3-5-2 in MLS?

  48. Johnny Too Bad says:

    No Fernandez? For 1st, 2nd, OR 3rd XIs? Come on…

  49. islandofmind says:

    I know you have to make the cut somewhere so I hope the conversation about keepers involved Tally Hall – for his first year in the net he showed a lot. Corey Ashe and Andre Hainault were worthy of consideration as well.

  50. bcoug says:

    I’m a Montero supporter. However, where his finish to the year was very strong, he certainly had a long spell at the start of the season where he was nearly invisible. So, is the best XI designation a reflection of where they finished or how they performed throughout?

    To me, nobody seems to do more with nothing than Wondo and I like seeing that recognized.

  51. bcoug says:

    The doubt could be a reflection of Ozzie’s uncharacteristicly sub-par performance in the playoffs.
    Having seen him throughout the season and having watched Beckerman at least a dozen times this year, I think the gap between the two is clear – Alonso is at a different level.

  52. Gnarls says:

    Based on what metric?

  53. Chris H says:

    Beckerman does deserve to be on the first team over Alonso though. Better stats, better production in a year when Morales was out for most of the year.

  54. camjam says:

    Agree to disagree. I don’t see a “miles behind” gap, or a difference in levels. Except Beckerman may be on a slightly higher one.

    Seriously, the guy carried an RSL team that lost maybe the most creative attacking midfielder in MLS (top 4 at minimum). I think i’d look pretty good with Rosales on my right, Fernandez on my left, and a host of quality. Beckerman had a career year while nurturing a 17 year old and a rotating door at RM.

  55. prizby says:

    Danny Koevermans had 0.95 goals per 90 minutes. The next best (with a minimum of 700 minutes) was at 0.58

  56. tbkh says:

    He only played 10 games. That’s not enough to qualify for Best XI

  57. bcoug says:

    I can see your point, but I’ll counter with no Zakuani, no Rosales for significant portions, Fernandez missed timed with injury, no White up front (or even any type of effective partner for Montero for most of the season) and yet the team kept winning – Alonso was more responsible for that than anyone else on the team.

    That being said, Beckerman is the clear second teamer for me, so our disagreement is only slight.

  58. teresa says:

    Josh Saunders, Juninho, and Mike Magee are missing

  59. This Guy says:

    When it really mattered? Since when is 3 points worth more than 3 points?

  60. abc says:


  61. abc says:

    This is MLS best XI not the Galaxy starting XI