Ten Players Earned First-Ever Nomination
Soccer News: Major League Soccer unveiled the 2015 MLS Best XI, which recognizes the League’s top 11 players in a common soccer formation as nominated by MLS players, club management, and media.
The 2015 Best XI features 10 first-ever selections and includes players from eight MLS clubs who have represented seven different senior national teams.
LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane was the only returning selection, who has made the annual Best XI for the fourth straight year.
2015 MLS Best XI
Goalkeeper: Luis Robles
Defenders: Laurent Ciman; Matt Hedges; Kendall Waston
Midfielders: Ethan Finlay; Dax McCarty; Benny Feilhaber; Fabian Castillo
Forwards: Sebastian Giovinco; Kei Kamara; Robbie Keane
NEW YORK RED BULLS – GOALKEEPER
The backbone of the Eastern Conference’s best defense, Robles was named the Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year for his outstanding performances throughout the 2015 season. Robles played every minute of every game for the third consecutive season, while setting a career-high with 18 wins. This is his first Best XI selection.
MONTREAL IMPACT – DEFENDER
In his first season in MLS, Ciman immediately became one of the standout players at his position, earning an All-Star appearance. And he capped his season with the MLS Defender of the Year award. Ciman led a much-improved Impact defense that went from conceding 58 goals in 2014, to 44 goals in 2015. Ciman started 27 games and notched two goals and two assists as Montreal finished with a top three seed in the East. This is his first Best XI selection.
FC DALLAS – DEFENDER
After starting the year with his first call-up to the US national team, Hedges has continued playing at a high level in his fourth season in MLS. The 25-year-old started 30 games for the No. 1 seed in the West, as Dallas conceded just 39 goals this season, good for the second fewest in MLS. A finalist for Defender of the Year, this is Hedges’ first Best XI selection.
VANCOUVER WHITECAPS – DEFENDER
Waston was the catalyst in the Whitecaps’ run to the MLS Cup Playoffs in 2014, after arriving in August, and he followed that up with an outstanding year in 2015. The Costa Rican started 28 games for the ‘Caps, scoring two goals, while leading the league’s best defense. A finalist for Defender of the Year, this is Waston’s first Best XI selection.
COLUMBUS CREW SC – MIDFIELDER
Following a breakout season in 2014, Finlay continued his rise to stardom in 2015. The first-time MLS All-Star started all 34 games for Crew SC, setting career highs in goals (12) and assists (13). His 13 assists were the fifth-most in MLS this season. This is his first Best XI selection.
NEW YORK RED BULLS – MIDFIELDER
McCarty has long been one of the best players at his positon in MLS, but 2015 proved to be a career year for the 28-year-old. He captained the Red Bulls to their second Supporters’ Shield in three years, and set a career high with eight assists. The 10-year MLS veteran was named to the MLS All-Star team for the first time and he is the first true defensive midfielder to be named to Best XI since Osvaldo Alonso was selected in 2012.
SPORTING KANSAS CITY – MIDFIELDER
Feilhaber has proven to be like a fine wine, getting better with age. The former US international was named a finalist for the Landon Donovan MLS MVP after scoring 10 goals and assisting on 15 others, blowing away his previous career highs of four goals and seven assists. His 15 assists were tied for the second most in MLS and was voted to the Fan XI for the MLS All-Star Game. This is his first Best XI selection.
FC DALLAS – MIDFIELDER
Castillo is certainly racking up the awards this season. After being named No. 1 young player in the league in MLSsoccer.com’s 24 Under 24 voting and making the All-Star team for the first time, the 23-year-old is now the youngest player to be named to the Best XI since Omar Gonzalez (23) and Brek Shea (21) were selected back in 2011. The speedster set a career high with nine assists while also notching nine goals, and was selected to Colombia’s national team for the first time.
TORONTO FC – FORWARD
Add another award to the Italian’s trophy case. After winning the Audi Golden Boot and the Newcomer of the Year award, Giovinco has become the first Toronto FC player to be named to the Best XI since Dwayne De Rosario did it in back-to-back years in 2009 and 2010. The Atomic Ant set MLS on fire in his first season in the league, notching 22 goals and 16 assists. The 16 assists were the most in the league and his 38 combined goals and assists are the most in league history.
COLUMBUS CREW SC – FORWARD
In his first season back in MLS, Kamara showed why Crew SC made such a shrewd move signing him last year. The 31-year-old tied Giovinco for the league lead in goals with 22. The league’s top aerial threat and first-time All-Star, Kamara helped Columbus score the second-most goals in MLS (58) by assisting on eight goals in addition to the 22 that he scored. After nine years in MLS, this is his first Best XI selection.
LA GALAXY – FORWARD
Keane once again showed why he’s one of the best players in MLS history by having another outstanding season in his fourth full season in the league. After winning the Landon Donovan MVP award in 2014, Keane scored a career high 20 goals in just 24 games and contributed eight assists as well. This is his fourth-straight Best XI selection.
Image from Goal.com