Chad Marshall and Clint Dempsey were both named to “The 25 Greatest” in MLS history, with both notably wearing Seattle Sounders kits in their bios. Preki, who never played for the Sounders but is currently an assistant coach, was also named to the list.
All three were largely uncontroversial picks.
Marshall is arguably the best centerback to ever play in MLS and is the only three-time Defensive Player of the Year. He also was named Best XI four times (twice with the Sounders), and won three MLS Cups and three Supporters’ Shields.
Dempsey’s MLS resume is not quite as impressive — two Best XIs, a Supporters’ Shield and a MLS Cup — but he was surely helped by having the best United States national team and English Premier League career of any player drafted into the league.
Preki’s playing career ended before the Sounders entered the league, but he was one of the league’s first stars and remains the only two-time MVP winner despite not joining MLS until he was 33.
Perhaps more interesting from a Sounders perspective is who didn’t make it. Arguably the biggest snub of the entire list is Osvaldo Alonso. Putting aside the absolute ridiculousness that Kyle Beckerman was the only defensive midfielder to make the list, Alonso belonged there. Somehow, he was only named Best XI once — more a product of how grossly under-appreciated the position is in year-end awards — but that’s still one more time than Beckerman was.
Not to pile on Beckerman — he’s obviously a very good player — but it’s a stretch that he was even considered based on the criteria. He made a bunch of All-Star teams, but other than that the only qualifications he had were a single trophy (2009 MLS Cup) and being among the leaders in categories like minutes played, appearances and yellow-cards. Alonso, meanwhile, was considered the league’s best defensive midfielder for most of 2009-2016, won six major trophies and was an elite passer in addition to his tackling ability. Heck, I’d have put Diego Chara on this list over Beckerman, too.
Beckerman surely gets some bonus points because of his durability, but Alonso virtually transformed the position. During his prime, no MLS contemporaries could control the game the way he did through a combination of metronomic passing, hard tackling and an ability to read the game. The Sounders claimed six major trophies with Alonso starting seven cup finals (5 U.S. Open Cups and 2 MLS Cups). Despite not really being known as a starter, he also had a penchant for scoring in big games and in big moments.
Osvaldo Alonso Sounders stats
|MLS Regular Season||277||266||23,380||10||24|
|MLS Cup Playoffs||25||24||2,183||3||0|
|Hunt U.S. Open Cup||15||13||1,361||6||2|
|CONCACAF Champions League||22||18||1,809||2||2|