MLS released their 2016 MLS Best XI on Monday and not one player from the Seattle Sounders was named to the list. Most notable, Osvaldo Alonso was left off the list that is compiled through a voting process that includes MLS players, club executives and media members.
The list includes Andre Blake (goalkeeper, Philadelphia Union), Axel Sjöberg (center back, Colorado Rapids), Matt Hedges (center back, FC Dallas), Jelle Van Damme (center back, LA Galaxy), Mauro Diaz (midfielder, FC Dallas), Giovani Dos Santos (midfielder, LA Galaxy), Sacha Kljestan (midfielder, New York Red Bulls), Ignacio Piatti (midfielder, Montreal Impact), Sebastian Giovinco (midfielder, Toronto FC), Bradley Wright-Phillips (forward, New York Red Bulls) and David Villa (forward, New York City FC).
There were seven named to the list for the first time in their careers and only two players that were on the list last year — Giovinco and Hedges — remained on the list in 2016.
That this is effectively a laughable 3-3-4 formation isn’t so different from past Best XIs, but the complete lack of a defensive or holding midfielder made the list even more ridiculous. There were no shortage of viable candidates, but the most shocking omission has to be Alonso.
Alonso had arguably his best season in his eight-year MLS career that already has him ranked among the best in league history. According to whoscored.com, Alonso had the second best rating for the season at 7.51, trailing only Giovinco. In 37 appearances this season (32 regular season, five playoff games), Alonso averaged 3.8 tackles, 2.2 interceptions and 1.6 fouls per game. He also had the highest passing percentage of any player, while scoring three goals and registering four assists (both career bests).
I could sit here all day and bore you with stats but honestly, the numbers don’t fully illustrate his awesomeness. Alonso has been the defensive heartbeat of the Sounders since he joined the team in 2009. There hardly has been anyone better in his role during his time with the team in all of MLS. It ultimately doesn’t make a huge difference, but it would be nice if the voters had recognized the importance of the role he and other defensive mids play.