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Martins and Marshall on MLS Best XI

Sounders forward Obafemi Martins and central defender Chad Marshall were included today among the 2014 MLS Best XI team.

Here's the release from the club:

Seattle Sounders FC defender Chad Marshall and forward Obafemi Martins have been named to the 2014 MLS Best XI, the league announced today. This marks the third Best XI selection for Marshall after earning the honor in 2008 and 2009, and the first for Martins. The Best XI recognizes the league's top 11 players on the field - one goalkeeper, three defenders, four midfielders and three forwards.

In his first year with Sounders FC, Marshall became the first player in league history to be named MLS Defender of the Year three times. He led the league with 136 interceptions and recorded an impressive 126 headers won, 206 clearances and an 83% passing accuracy. The 11-year MLS veteran also recorded one goal - an 84th-minute winner against Philadelphia on May 3 - and matched a career-high with three assists.

Martins set a club record with 17 goals (fifth in MLS) and matched a club record with 13 assists (tied for fifth in MLS). His five multi-goal games were tied for second in MLS, and his four game-winning assists were tied for fourth. The forward started 29 of his 31 appearances in 2014 and accumulated 2,600 minutes, and Sounders FC was 12-0-0 in games in which Martins scored a goal.

Martins was named Etihad Airways MLS Player of the Month for September and MLS Player of the Week for week 24, in addition to his seven MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week selections and five AT&T Goal of the Week Awards. Marshall was named to the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week four times. Both players were 2014 MLS All-Star selections.

Marshall and Martins are the fourth and fifth Seattle players to earn MLS Best XI honors, joining midfielder Freddie Ljungberg in 2009, goalkeeper Kasey Keller in 2011 and Osvaldo Alonso in 2012.

The Best XI members received the most votes from the media, MLS players and MLS coaches and general managers.

Below is a breakdown of the MLS Best XI by position and in alphabetical order:

2014 MLS Best XIGOALKEEPER (1): Bill Hamid (D.C. United)DEFENDERS (3): Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC), Bobby Boswell (D.C. United), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)MIDFIELDERS (4): Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers), Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls)FORWARDS (3): Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls), Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders FC)

Here's the release from the league:

Today, during the year-end State of the League, Commissioner Don Garber unveiled the 2014 MLS Best XI, recognizing the League’s top 11 players at each position on the field (watch video). This dynamic group of athletes represents some of the very best soccer players in North America, including legends Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls) and Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), young American talents such as goalkeeper Bill Hamid (D.C. United) and defender Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy); and League veterans Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC) and Bobby Boswell (D.C. United).

The MLS Best XI is rounded out by first-timer and finalist for the 2014 Volkswagen MVP, Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution) and a contingent of international stars that have made a world of difference for their respective teams – New York Red Bulls forward Bradley Wright-Phillips, who tied the all-time regular season goals scored record (27), the 2013 Newcomer of the Year, Diego Valeri of the Portland Timbers, and Seattle Sounders FC leading marksman, Obafemi Martins.

Eight of the eleven players showcased their talents in the MLS Conference Championships, which wrapped up this weekend, with four now moving on to contend for MLS Cup 2014. The LA Galaxy’s Landon Donovan, Robbie Keane and Omar Gonzalez will play host to Lee Nguyen’s New England Revolution this Sunday, Dec. 7 at 3:00 p.m. ET at StubHub Center (ESPN, UniMas, UDN, TSN and RDS).

This year, MLS players, club leadership, and media members voted one goalkeeper, three defenders, four midfielders and three forwards to the Best XI. This 3-4-3 attacking formation reflects a team that combined for 118 goals and 90 assists in the regular season. Listed below, in alphabetical order, are the 2014 Best XI within each position:

Goalkeeper – Bill Hamid (D.C. United)

Defender – Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC)

Defender – Bobby Boswell (D.C. United)

Defender – Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)

Midfielder – Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution)

Midfielder – Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)

Midfielder – Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers)

Midfielder – Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls)

Forward – Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)

Forward – Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls)

Forward – Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders FC)

Seven players have previously been named to the MLS Best XI: Marshall, Boswell, Gonzalez, Valeri, Henry, Keane and Donovan – who has now leads the league in Best XI nominations with his seventh career selection. Four players have been named to the Best XI for the first time: Hamid, Nguyen, Wright-Phillips and Martins.

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