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.
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.
Four members of this year’s Best XI were also named to the 2014 AT&T All-Star Game Fan XI and seven were named finalists for 2014 MLS awards.
2014 MLS Best XI:
Bill Hamid Goalkeeper D.C. United Nationality: USA Born: Nov. 25, 1990
A finalist for the Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year, Hamid ranked among league leaders in shutouts (10), saves (110), goals against average (1.13) and finished with the year with the best saves percentage (75%). The U.S. international set MLS career highs in both shutouts and saves and logged the most minutes of his career with 2,700 for D.C. United. Hamid was also named to his first MLS All-Star team in 2014, becoming the first Homegrown goalkeeper to do so. This is his first MLS Best XI selection.
Chad Marshall Defender Seattle Sounders FC Nationality: USA Born: August 22, 1984
In his first season with Seattle, Marshall became the first player in league history to be named MLS Defender of the Year for the third time after winning back-to-back honors in 2008 and 2009 while with the Columbus Crew. Marshall anchored a Seattle defense that went on to capture its fourth Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title and MLS Supporters’ Shield, while recording one goal and three assists. Marshall led the league with 136 interceptions and recorded 126 headers won, 206 clearances and an 83 percent passing accuracy. This is Marshall’s third MLS Best XI selection.
Bobby Boswell Defender D.C. United Nationality: USA Born: March 15, 1983
A finalist for Defender of the Year, Boswell was the backbone of D.C. United’s resurgence in 2014, which saw the club finish first in the Eastern Conference after a last-place finish the year before. Boswell’s veteran leadership helped D.C. United keep 12 clean sheets, allow the fewest goals at home, and finish the season tied for the lowest goals against average (1.09). This is his second MLS Best XI selection.
Omar Gonzalez Defender LA Galaxy Nationality: USA Born: October 11, 1988
A finalist for Defender of the Year, Gonzalez was vital for both the U.S. men’s national team and LA Galaxy in 2014. In addition to logging 180 minutes at the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Gonzalez anchored a Galaxy defense that kept 10 clean sheets and tied D.C. United for the fewest number of goals allowed with 37. The 6’5’’ center back also notched four goals and two assists on the year. This is his fourth MLS Best XI selection.
Lee Nguyen Midfielder New England Revolution Nationality: USA Born: October 7, 1986
A finalist for Volkswagen MLS MVP and named New England Revolution’s MVP, Nguyen had a breakout season that saw him set a MLS career high of 18 goals, the fourth-highest goal mark set in 2014. He added five assists to his season offensive statistics, which tied him for second-best for New England. This is his first MLS Best XI selection.
Landon Donovan Midfielder LA Galaxy Nationality: USA Born: March 4, 1982
Donovan’s final MLS season was arguably his finest, headlined by his 10 goals and league-leading 19 assists. On May 25, Donovan became MLS’ all-time leading scorer after a two-goal effort versus the Philadelphia Union, surpassing Jeff Cunningham’s mark of 134. Donovan now holds the all-time goals record with 144 tallies, as well as the all-time assists record with 136 helpers. This is his seventh Best XI selection, the most any one player has received in MLS history.
Diego Valeri Midfielder Portland Timbers Nationality: Argentina Born: May 1, 1986
Valeri captured Newcomer of the Year honors and a Best XI bid in his MLS debut last year, and followed that up with an even stronger sophomore season. The Argentine set Timbers MLS single-season record marks in goals (11) and assists (14) in 33 appearances for the Cascadia club this year, while his 14 helpers were good for second-best in MLS. This is his second MLS Best XI selection.
Thierry Henry Midfielder New York Red Bulls Nationality: France Born: August 17, 1977
In what ended up being his last season in MLS, Henry showed no signs of slowing down in 2014, instead turning in a stellar fifth season with the New York Red Bulls. Henry recorded MLS career highs in starts (30), minutes (2,651), and assists (14) – many of which helped etch teammate Bradley Wright-Phillips into the history books as the Englishman tied the all-time single-season goal record with 27 tallies. Henry’s shift to left midfield late in the year proved invaluable for New York, helping lead the Red Bulls to the Eastern Conference Championship with five assists in five postseason matches.
Robbie Keane Forward LA Galaxy Nationality: Ireland Born: July 8, 1980
A finalist for the Volkswagen MLS MVP Award for the second consecutive year, Keane enjoyed his most prolific season with LA Galaxy. Keane set MLS career highs in goals scored with 19, and assists with 14 helpers, placing him third and tied for second in the league, respectively. The Irish international also led all players in game-winning assists with six on the year. In 2014, Keane became the leading active international goal-scorer upon Miroslav Klose’s retirement in August. This is his third consecutive MLS Best XI selection.
Bradley Wright-Phillips Forward New York Red Bulls Nationality: England Born: March 12, 1985
Wright-Phillips made quite the impression in his first full season in MLS, with the Red Bulls striker coming up just one goal shy of breaking the MLS single-season goals record. The Englishman’s 27-goal campaign will go down as one of the most spectacular the league has ever seen, with Wright-Phillips registering six multi-goal games—including three hat tricks—in 32 appearances. This is his first MLS Best XI selection.
Obafemi Martins Forward Seattle Sounders FC Nationality: Nigeria Born: October 28, 1984
A finalist for the 2014 Volkswagen MLS MVP Award, Martins’ electrifying speed and scoring touch propelled Seattle Sounders FC to its fourth Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup title and first-ever Supporters’ Shield. In his second season with the Sounders, Martins led the club in goals (17) and assists (13), after forging a dynamic partnership with fellow forward Clint Dempsey. The Nigerian finished the season fifth in the league in both goals and assists, while Sounders FC went 12-0-0 in games where Martins scored a goal.