Thursday, November 10, 2011

The MLS Reserves Best XI

MLS announced today their Best XI today in a teleconference where Don Garber read the names. MLS Reserves had similar names on the list, but not quite an exact match. The MLS Reserves set up its own criteria and considered all players under it. 

Considered these selections was the effect these players had on their team, their individual efforts, statistical prowess, presence in the locker room and ultimately how good they were throughout the season. As always there are players left out or those included who people will debate. 

GK: Kasey Keller

Defenders: Jamison Olave, Nat Borchers, Omar Gonzalez

Midfielders: David Beckham, Brek Shea, Kyle Beckerman, Dwayne De Rosario, Brad Davis

Forwards: Thierry Henry, Fredy Montero

Goalkeeper was an easy choice. Kasey Keller has been fantastic throughout this season in the league. Add to his accomplishments this season the Open Cup, performances in the CCL and his locker room presence has more effect than any other goalkeeper. In a different year, Nick Rimando could have won it, but losing out to a legend like Keller can’t be too bad.

Choosing defenders was easy as well. Choosing the three best defenders from the two best defensive teams was a simple matter. Looking at Jamison Olave and Nat Borchers, the two represent the most impressive defensive duo in the league. They single handedly changed multiple games throughout the course of Real Salt Lake’s roller coaster season. If not for them, RSL may have folded in and conceded their season early on.

Omar Gonzalez was an absolute machine for the Galaxy this year. Non-stop effort and coordinating the back line is impressive…particularly with such a young player. It’s shocking that Gonzalez hasn’t been called up to the national team, but that’s another topic.

The midfield category was much more crowded. However in the end the names chose themselves. Brad Davis put in a career year with his efforts for Houston. He put them back on the map after such a dismal team year in 2010. It was a shame to see him go down before MLS Cup, but his year is certainly deserving of praise. His counterpart in free kick, crossing service is David Beckham. Beckham has perhaps finally silenced his critics with a remarkable performance throughout the year. His decision to stay the entire season and not go on loan certainly paid off.

Brek Shea came alive and kept Dallas in the game for longer than some may have predicted. If not for the extraordinary number of games forced on him by club and country, he might have led them even further. Still, his season was one to remember and that is evidenced by his being allowed to train with Arsenal over the winter months. They don’t take scrubs. Beckerman’s stalwart play in the midfield for RSL speaks for itself. He’s played himself into the national team fold and it must be said that without his leadership, RSL would not have been nearly as successful as they were.

Then there is the most polarizing of players in MLS. Dwayne De Rosario. The debates of whether he could be an MVP or not but when you get down to it, DeRo put in a performance that was unrivaled throughout 2011. Playing for three teams before finding a home in DC, DeRo carried United on his back and put up some damned impressive numbers. Anyone watching would be blind not to be impressed by his efforts. De Rosario is easily one of the best players to be in the league and 2011 only solidified that.

Forwards were an easy choice. No two forwards changed games on their own and kept their teams at least competitive the way Fredy Montero and Thierry Henry did. Henry was burdened with trying to lead a Red Bull team that was in disarray. Apart from that he continued to play hard and consistently amaze us with his talent. Montero did much the same, though his supporting cast was much more impressive. Both gave us memorable goals throughout the season, but they did that consistently…hence Best XI.

Left off the list were some seriously impressive soccer players. Joel Lindpere springs to mind, however his efforts did not outweigh the defensive feats by players like Kyle Beckerman or the offensive prowess Brad Davis.

There were players who were fantastic when they played, but injuries or coaching decisions kept them out. Consider Luke Rodgers was one of the most influential players when on the field. However, he did not stay on field long enough to be a worthwhile candidate.

So there you have it, the MLSR Best XI. Who did we leave out? Who was snubbed? Agree or disagree? Let us know below and on twitter.


  1. So many quality midfielders this year. I'd replace Beckerman with Mauro Rosales though.

    Geoff Cameron for defense as well. Not Olave's best season, I think Cameron outperformed him at CB.

  2. Rosales was great to be sure, however Beckerman's effect on RSL goes deeper than just his on-field contributions. Beckerman also plays a defensive mid, which is underrepresented in some Best XI's. Cameron over Olave I dont buy. The Olave/Borchers combination trumps any other duo in MLS. Part of the argument for Olave is that partnership.

  3. It might argued that Olave is only that good precisely because he has Borchers next to him (and vice-versa.) Olave also only played 24 games to Cameron's 33.

    Imo, MLS Best XI should be based on individual performance, not team performance.

  4. Everyone seems to have forgotten about the holding mid position... Asvaldo Alonso should be on this list.

  5. Kyle Beckerman is a holding midfielder. A better one than Alonso.