Ten players earned first-ever nomination; Eight MLS clubs and seven nationalities represented
NEW YORK (Sunday, Nov. 29, 2015) – Major League Soccer today 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.
Defender – Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact)
Defender – Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Defender – Matt Hedges (FC Dallas)
Midfielder – Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City)
Midfielder – Fabian Castillo (FC Dallas)
Midfielder – Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls)
Midfielder – Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew SC)
Forward – Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)
Forward – Kei Kamara (Columbus Crew SC)
Forward – Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)
Notes on the 2015 Best XI (stats based on regular season):
- Eight MLS Clubs are represented: Columbus Crew SC (2), FC Dallas (2), New York Red Bulls (2), LA Galaxy, Montreal Impact, Sporting Kansas City, Toronto FC, and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.
- Ten players are first-time selections: Robles, Ciman, Waston, Hedges, Feilhaber, Castillo, McCarty, Finlay, Giovinco and Kamara.
- Robbie Keane is the only player who has previously earned the honor. The Irish international has been voted to his fourth consecutive Best XI team after also being recognized following the 2012, 2013, and 2014 seasons.
- Four players have also received additional individual postseason awards: Robles - Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year; Ciman - MLS Defender of the Year; Kamara – MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, presented by Advocare; Giovinco - Audi Golden Boot and MLS Newcomer of the Year.
- Feilhaber, Giovinco, and Kamara are also finalists for the 2015 Landon Donovan MLS Most Valuable Player award, which will be announced on Wednesday, December 2.
- Six players were named to the 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star Game roster: Castillo, Ciman, Feilhaber, Finlay, Kamara, and McCarty.
- Eight players have represented their respective senior national teams in FIFA competitions: Robles (USA), Ciman (Belgium), Waston (Costa Rica), Feilhaber (USA), Castillo (Colombia), Giovinco (Italy), Kamara (Sierra Leone), and Keane (Ireland). McCarty and Hedges have also represented the senior U.S. National Team in international friendlies.
- Giovinco (22), Kamara (22) and Keane (20) were the top three goal-scorers in 2015.
- Six of the players have helped their teams to the Conference Championships: Kamara and Finlay (Crew SC); Robles and McCarty (NYRB), and Castillo and Hedges (FC Dallas).
- The 2015 Best XI combined to score 101 goals and added 80 combined assists.
Voting for the 2015 MLS Best XI was conducted through write-in votes from MLS players, club leadership, and media members, with all players who appeared in a 2015 MLS regular season match eligible for nomination. The highest vote-getters from submissions formed a 3-4-3 formation: one goalkeeper, three defenders, four midfielders and three forwards.
The announcement was made on ESPN during the national broadcast of the second leg of the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs Western Conference Championship between FC Dallas and the Portland Timbers.
Luis Robles | Goalkeeper | New York Red Bulls | Nationality: USA | Born: May 11, 1984
The 2015 Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year, Robles led all MLS goalkeepers with 18 wins as the team won the 2015 MLS Supporters’ Shield with the best regular season record. In his fourth year with the club, Robles registered nine shutouts and the Red Bulls surrendered the fewest goals (43) in the Eastern Conference, which helped the club post the highest goal differential (+19) in the entire league.
Laurent Ciman | Defender | Montreal Impact | Nationality: Belgium | Born: Aug. 5, 1985
The 2015 MLS Defender of the Year, Ciman joined Montreal in January from Standard de Liège in the Belgian first division and immediately stepped in to anchor the backline. Earning all MLS All-Star nod, Ciman played in 27 regular season matches, scoring twice from his center back position while helping Montreal surrender 14 fewer goals in 2015 compared to 2014 (44 vs. 58), in turn helping the club post a 24 goal swing in goal differential (-20 in 2014 to +4 in 2015).
Kendall Waston | Defender | Vancouver Whitecaps FC | Nationality: Costa Rica | Born: Jan. 1, 1988
Waston was an integral part of a Vancouver defense that tied for the fewest goal allowed in MLS (36) and most shutouts (13). In his second year with the club, the Costa Rican international also scored twice while appearing in 28 matches, including the game-winner against the San Jose Earthquakes on July 26. The 6-5 center-back finished second in voting for the MLS Defender of the Year award.
Matt Hedges| Defender | FC Dallas | Nationality: USA | Born: April 1 ,1990
The third finalist for the MLS Defender of the Year honor, Hedges was a cornerstone along FC Dallas’ backline all season, logging nearly 2,700 minutes in 31 matches played as FC Dallas tied for the league-lead with 13 shutouts on the season. The club’s captain played an important role as the leader of a defense that saw three goalkeepers start at least seven matches – as only two clubs conceded fewer goals than FC Dallas (39) in 2015. The fourth-year defender also scored once and added an assist.
Benny Feilhaber | Midfielder | Sporting Kansas City | Nationality: USA | Born: Jan. 19, 1985
A finalist for the MLS MVP honor, Feilhaber had his best season in MLS in 2015, setting career-highs with 10 goals and finishing second in MLS with 15 assists – becoming one of only four players to register double-digits in both goals and assists this year. A member of the USA’s 2010 FIFA World Cup squad, Feilhaber was named April’s MLS Player of the Month and earned his first MLS All-Star nod this year, his fifth in MLS and third with Sporting KC.
Fabian Castillo | Midfielder | FC Dallas | Nationality: Colombia | Born: June 1, 1992
In his fifth season with FC Dallas, the speedy winger contributed his best offensive season, having a hand in 18 goals by scoring nine and adding nine assists. Voted #1 in MLSsoccer.com’s “24Under24” ranking in 2015, Castillo’s season caught the eye of Colombia’s national team as the 23-year-old made his international debut in August, and appeared in two 2018 FIFA World Cup qualifiers in October.
Dax McCarty | Midfielder | New York Red Bulls | Nationality: USA | Born: April 30, 1987
McCarty’s contributions in 2015 – his 11th in MLS – cannot be measured by stats alone. While he set a personal career-high with eight assists in 2015, it was his leadership as captain of the Red Bulls which earned him the respect of all three voting categories as the third most-voted on midfielder. McCarty’s Red Bull posted the best record in MLS in 2015, and his control in the midfield allowed the club to play a high-press attack which led MLS with 62 goals scored. This summer, McCarty also earned his first MLS All-Star selection as MLS Commissioner Don Garber’s pick.
Ethan Finlay | Midfielder | Columbus Crew SC | Nationality: USA | Born: Aug. 6, 1990
The 25-year-old Finlay showed that his breakout 2014 season was no fluke, as he scored 12 goals and added 13 assists (fifth-best in MLS) in 2015 – becoming one of only four players to register double-digits in both offensive categories this year. Finlay, who also earned his first MLS All-Star selection in 2015, was one of only two field players to start all 34 regular season matches this year and his four game-winning assists were good for third in MLS.
Sebastian Giovinco | Forward | Toronto FC | Nationality: Italy | Born: Jan. 26, 1987
The 28-year old took the League by storm when he arrived from Juventus of the Serie A prior to the season, winning the Audi Golden Boot after tying for the league-lead with 22 goals and leading MLS with 16 assists. The Italian-international was involved in two or more goals in 12 games during the 2015 regular season – the most of any player in MLS history. Also the winner of the MLS Newcomer of the Year Award, Giovinco became the first player in league history to reach 20+ goals and 10+ assists in a single season.
Kei Kamara | Forward | Columbus Crew SC | Nationality: Sierra Leone | Born: Sept. 1, 1984
Kamara returned to MLS after two years in England in 2015 and tied Giovinco for the league-lead with 22 goals while adding eight assists of his own. The Sierra Leone international also tied Giovinco with seven game-winning goals, and Columbus posted a 10-1-5 record in matches where Kamara scored. Originally drafted by Columbus in the 2006 SuperDraft, Kamara led all players with six multi-goal games in 2015. Voted the MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year, presented by Advocare, Kamara is also a finalist for the MLS MVP award.
Robbie Keane | Forward | LA Galaxy | Nationality: Ireland | Born: July 8, 1980
The Irish-international continued to be a model of consistency in his fifth season MLS, earning his fourth consecution selection to the MLS Best XI. The LA Galaxy forward set a personal MLS career-high with 20 goals scored in 2015 and added eight assists, marking the fourth straight season in which he’s scored at least 16 goals. The 2014 MLS MVP scored two or more goals in five matches, including hat tricks in back-to-back games on July 4 and July 17.