Photo by ISIPhotos.com
Every year, MLS teams are lauded for the international signings and draft picks that pan out and make their acquisitions look good, but one thing that often goes overlooked is how important it is for successful teams to have players enjoy breakout seasons.
The list of players who took their game to a new level is an impressive one, and the selections for the SBI MLS Most Improved Best XI show just what such breakout years can do for teams. Consider that of the 11 players selected to our Most Improved Best XI, nine were part of playoff teams, representing seven of the 10 teams to reach the MLS playoffs in 2013.
While the main focus of the team is to identify players who have made the jump from reserve and fringe player to regular starter and standout, this year we had to include MLS MVP Mike Magee for having a dream year where everything came together for him. Even though Magee had won multiple MLS Cups in the past, and shown himself to be one of the best big-game players in MLS, 2013 remains an epic accomplishment that earns him a well-deserved place on this team.
The selections for the SBI Most Improved Best XI were based on overall improvements made by the player, both relating to performance and significance of role on their team. The team was limited to players who had played in MLS prior to 2013.
Who else made the 2013 SBI MLS Most Improved Best XI? Here are our selections:
2013 SBI MLS Most Improved Best XI
Rodney Wallace————Mike Magee————Lamar Neagle
——————-Kelyn Rowe———Diego Fagundez————-
Chris Klute———————————————Kofi Sarkodie
——————-Shane O’Neill———Chris Schuler————-
Joe Bendik; Jeb Brovsky, Ike Opara, Andrew Jean-Baptiste, Leo Gonzalez, Raymon Gaddis; Russell Teibert, Dilly Duka, Nathan Sturgis, Jeremy Hall; Dom Dwyer, Soony Saad.
What do you think of our MLS Most Improved Best XI selections? Who failed to make the cut that you feel should have been included? Who are you happy to see mentioned? What player’s improvement impressed you the most?
Share your thoughts below.