(December 5, 2016) – Major League Soccer has announced their 2016 Best XI. LA Galaxy players Jelle Van Damme and Giovani dos Santos were both named to the list. Here’s the full list.
Jelle Van Damme And Giovanni dos Santos Named To MLS Best XI
The 2016 MLS Best XI is as follows:
Goalkeeper: Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)
Defenders: Axel Sjoberg (Colorado Rapids), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Jelle Van Damme (LA Galaxy)
Midfielders: Mauro Diaz (FC Dallas), Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact)
Forwards: Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls), David Villa (New York City FC)
Both LA Galaxy players are making their first appearance on the Best XI list in their careers. Dos Santos joined the league last summer. 2016 was Van Damme’s first year in the league. Dos Santos was names as the club Player of the Year. Van Damme also came in second the Defender of the Year voting.
In many respects, these season awards are a popularity contest. This isn’t the first year in which center backs have dominated the defenders list and No. 10 players have dominated the midfielder/forward selections.
I may be biased as a natural full back, but all eleven positions on the field have value. If you want to make the Best XI about the best eleven players in the league in the vacuum, then there probably should be eight midfielders and forwards on this list. Most of those would be offensive players.
Some of that is due to the nature of the salary structure in MLS (most of the big DPs are offensive players), and the fact that goals are the most valued commodity in soccer.
Holding midfielders get snubbed from this list. Ozzie Alonso is absolutely a Best XI midfielder. This list has all three defenders as center backs. Steven Beitashour and Tyrone Mears had good seasons are are going to play in MLS Cup. Ronald Matarrita had a good rookie season with NYCFC as well.