Major League Soccer today announced the Best XI, recognizing the League’s top 11 players at each position on the field. This year MLS players, club leadership, and media members voted one goalkeeper, three defenders, four midfielders and three forwards to the Best XI, listed below in alphabetical order within each position: Goalkeeper – Donovan Ricketts (Portland Timbers)Defender – Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City)Defender – Jose Goncalves (New England Revolution)Defender – Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)Midfielder – Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls)Midfielder – Will Johnson (Portland Timbers)Midfielder – Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers)Midfielder – Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)Forward – Marco Di Vaio (Montreal Impact)Forward – Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)Forward – Mike Magee (Chicago Fire) After finishing the regular season atop the Western Conference, the Portland Timbers led all teams with three players named to the Best XI. Reigning MLS Cup Champions LA Galaxy and current MLS Cup host Sporting Kansas City each have two players named, with Robbie Keane, Graham Zusi and Matt Besler receiving back-to-back selections to the Best XI; four teams each have one player. Five players have previously been named to the MLS Best XI: Ricketts, Besler, Gonzalez, Zusi and Keane. Six players were named to Best XI for the first time: Goncalves, Cahill, Johnson, Valeri, Di Vaio and Magee. Four members of the Best XI were named to the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game First XI and eight were named finalists for 2013 MLS awards. 2013 MLS Best XI: Donovan Ricketts Goalkeeper Portland Timbers Nationality: Jamaica Born: July 6, 1977A finalist for the Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year, Ricketts ranked among the league leaders in wins (13), goals-against average (0.97) and saves percentage (73%). The Jamaican international set MLS career highs in shutouts (14), saves (92) and minutes played (2,880) across 32 matches with the Portland Timbers. This is his second MLS Best XI selection. Jose Goncalves Defender New England Revolution Nationality: Portugal Born: September 17, 1985In his first MLS season, Goncalves was named the 2013 MLS Defender of the Year and finalist for Newcomer of the Year. The dominating center back played every minute of the season while captaining a New England Revolution team that finished third-best in the league with a 1.12 goals against average. Goncalves also anchored a defense that accounted for a club-record 14 shutouts on the way to their first playoff appearance in four seasons. This is his first MLS Best XI selection. Matt Besler Defender Sporting Kansas City Nationality: USA Born: February 11, 1987Last year’s Defender of the Year and runner-up for this year’s award, Besler has established himself as one of the best central defenders in the League and for the U.S. national team. He led a defense that allowed the fewest goals (30) this season, while contributing two assists. This is his second consecutive MLS Best XI selection. Omar Gonzalez Defender LA Galaxy Nationality: USA Born: October 11, 1988A finalist for Defender of the Year and the youngest among this year’s Best XI selections, Gonzalez served as the backbone of the LA Galaxy defense starting 27 games this season. His consistent play helped the LA Galaxy keep 10 clean sheets in 2013. This is his third MLS Best XI selection. Tim Cahill Midfielder New York Red Bulls Nationality: Australia Born: December 6, 1979In his first full MLS season, the two-time World Cup participant and English Premier League veteran was the driving force behind the New York Red Bulls Supporters’ Shield-winning season. Cahill scored 11 goals and added five assists, while starting 27 matches. This is his first MLS Best XI selection. Will Johnson Midfielder Portland Timbers Nationality: Canada Born: January 21, 1987In his first season with the Timbers, Johnson scored a single-season career-high nine goals and added five assists. His strong play and leadership helped the Timbers claim the best record in the Western Conference (14-5-15), which included a 15-game unbeaten streak. This is his first MLS Best XI selection. Diego Valeri Midfielder Portland Timbers Nationality: Argentina Born: May 1, 1986A finalist for Newcomer of the Year, Valeri signed with the Portland Timbers as a Designated Player from Argentina’s Club Atlético Lanús. The cunning playmaker led MLS in assists with 13 and added 10 goals, propelling the Timbers to an MLS club single-season record with 14 wins. This is his first MLS Best XI selection. Graham Zusi Midfielder Sporting Kansas City Nationality: USA Born: August 18, 1986Zusi scored a single-season career-high six goals and tallied eight assists in 27 league appearances. The dynamic midfielder helped Sporting KC advance to MLS Cup and solidified his spot on the U.S. national team. This is his second consecutive MLS Best XI selection. Marco Di Vaio Forward Montreal Impact Nationality: Italy Born: July 15, 1976A finalist for the 2013 Volkswagen MLS MVP Award, Di Vaio proved to be one of the most dangerous players in MLS this season. The vastly experienced Italian striker netted 20 goals for the Montreal Impact all from the run of play (no PK or free-kicks), with five of those coming as game-winners. This is his first MLS Best XI selection. Robbie Keane Forward LA Galaxy Nationality: Ireland Born: July 8, 1980A finalist for the 2013 Volkswagen MLS MVP Award, Keane had one of the most complete performances of his career this season. The Irish-international finished third in MLS with eleven assists and fourth in MLS with sixteen goals. The talented forward is Ireland’s all-time leader in goals and their current captain. This is his second MLS Best XI selection. Mike Magee Forward Chicago Fire Nationality: USA Born: September 2, 1984A finalist for the 2013 Volkswagen MLS MVP Award, Magee had a break out year finishing second in the league with 21 goals while adding four assists. After being traded from the LA Galaxy on May 25 to his hometown Chicago Fire side, Magee made an immediate impact, scoring seven goals in his first seven matches. This is his first MLS Best XI selection.
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