Thursday, November 10, 2011

It's your MLS Best XI, now with more Keller

So here was my initial prediction/explanation in August:

Notes: It's unfortunate for Brad Davis that Brek Shea plays his position, because his assist record is better than Beckham's. Tried shoehorning him in there, but Becks gets the 11th hour selection over the field so far due to his still-world class ability from free kicks and crosses. Through the trumpeting efforts of many (including my own) Osvaldo Alonso is no longer the best kept secret in the league. He can easily join the attack as well. Donovan plays in the hole on Shea's side in my XI because that's a terrifying vision for any RB/CB tandem. He's been better on the right than the left this year, but Arena apparently doesn't care. Todd Dunivant makes it on thanks to an extremely weak LB crop. USMNT fans are neither surprised nor amused.

And here's the official Best XI that MLS came out with today:

G Kasey Keller, D Jamison Olave, D Omar Gonzalez, D Todd Dunivant, M Landon Donovan, M David Beckham, M Brek Shea, M Brad Davis, M Dwayne De Rosario, F Chris Wondolowski, F Thierry Henry

I tried to make my XI an actual XI, but MLS goes with a best player available approach, which is fine. This is all theoretical anyway. The league's brass tacks on my selections: replace Kevin Hartman with Kasey Keller, take off George John for Jamison Olave, remove a defender (Solli in my case, who isn't a natural RB anyway) and add Brad Davis, drop Landon Donovan from forward back into the midfield, and take off Osvaldo Alonso and add Wondo. I had 7 of the 11, and I had an inkling Brad Davis would've been there as well.

My only outward concern is Alonso's omission, but again, I'm not sure who you pull off. Alonso's strength is his consistency, but Brad Davis, who deserves a nod, has played more minutes. Meanwhile, Alonso is 38th in the Castrol Index, which isn't outstanding. You can't take him off for Wondolowski either, who didn't make my initial list. Wondo finished the year atop the Castrol Index despite a much weaker supporting cast than what Alonso had in Seattle. It's a niggling concern at best. Everything else is copasetic. John doesn't deserve to be anywhere near this list, Keller was excellent but earned the sympathy vote by retiring and Brad Davis may end up the MVP. And Todd Dunivant had a good year, but he's clearly the weak link of this bunch. As I mentioned a few months ago, the MLS pool at LB is painfully shallow, and Dunivant was just good enough. Helped too that he latched on with a center back pairing in Omar Gonzalez and AJ DeLaGarza that was arguably the best in the league this year.

And a reminder of what we've had so far:

- Defender of the Year: Omar Gonzalez, LA Galaxy
- Rookie of the Year: CJ Sapong, Sporting Kansas City

- Will Parchman

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