Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
MLS's best so far
by Ridge Mahoney, May 1st, 2008 6:45AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

TAGS:  mls


Turnarounds in Toronto and Columbus, optimism in Salt Lake City, (more) turmoil between Chicago and New York, confusion in Houston, and a slam-bang SuperClasico at Home Depot Center marked the first month of MLS play. Here's Soccer America's Ridge Mahoney's Best XI for those first five weekends of play, including a head coach and a few substitutes. (The first team wouldn't take the field as a unit; rather, these are the top performers vital to the success of their teams.)

Landon Donovan (Los Angeles). Duh. His superb play and eight goals confirm just how dangerous and talented he is when pumped up. And, perhaps, he's proved all the mindless yak about whether his best position is at forward or in midfield is meaningless compared to his fitness and mindset. The rest is just details.

Alejandro Moreno (Columbus). Not blessed with great speed or superb touch or imposing size, the tough and relentless Moreno has all but eradicated his disappointing time with Houston (three goals in 34 games). Crew coach Sigi Schmid originally drafted him out of UNC Greensboro while coach of the Galaxy.

Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas). Only time will tell if he can produce consistently over a full season but the pairing of him and Arturo Alvarez is a valuable option to the FCD attack. He also has Dominic Oduro and Abe Thompson pushing him for playing time.

Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Columbus). Double duh. In his second season, he's learned the ways of MLS. Given free license by Schmid to run the show, which he does by roaming side-to-side in search of weak spots and hitting great balls on set pieces as well as during the run of play, Schelotto is also scrapping for loose balls and winning tackles.

Amado Guevara (Toronto FC). A year after bolting from MLS rather than being traded to Toronto by Chivas USA, the 2004 league MVP is slicing up opponents by his brazen dribbles and incisive free kicks. A long season on turf lies ahead, but if he and Laurent Robert stay the course, TFC may be playoff-bound.

David Beckham (Galaxy). He's brilliant on the ball, of course, but the experience and guile he brings are just as important, as evidenced by his spin and run around Houston left back Wade Barrett to hit a perfect near-post cross Donovan headed into the net at HDC April 19. If 2007 was his Year of the Icon, 2008 is to be his Year of the All-Star.

Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA). Two of his three goals have been spectacular strikes, and he has two assists, yet he's playing tougher in the tackle and on head balls. Getting sent off April 12 for hacking Schelotto is taking it too far, but both for club and country, he's responded to demands for more defensive work.

Diego Gutierrez (Chicago). He's announced 2008 will be his final season, and the veteran of 12 seasons is playing every game with purpose and drive. He's committed only two fouls and been fouled 10 times, which is the reverse of what most defenders record. In the absence of injured veteran C.J. Brown, Gutierrez's experience has helped the Fire limit opponents to just three goals.

Kevin Goldthwaite (Red Bull New York). The arrival of Coach Juan Carlos Osorio has brought steel to very porous back line with a switch to a three-man system. Goldthwaite, who usually plays on the left, scored his first MLS goal in the opener against Columbus and also played centrally in place of Jeff Parke.

Michael Parkhurst (New England). New England has played with both three and four in the back while changing personnel, which wouldn't be effective if not for Parkhurst's timing, anticipation, and sure tackling.

Jon Busch (Chicago). Three years ago he suffered the first of two serious ACL injuries that limited him to 20 games in the past three seasons. He leads the league in saves (28), save percentage (93.70) and goals-allowed average (0.60). He's quick, brave and capable of the spectacular, such as his flying deflection of a Ned Grabavoy laser April 12 against San Jose.

Goalkeeper - Matt Reis (New England). Defenders - Nick Garcia (San Jose), Adrian Serioux (FC Dallas). Midfielders - Jack Jewsbury (Kansas City), Marcelo Gallardo (D.C. United). Forwards - Alan Gordon (Galaxy), Jaime Moreno (D.C. United).

Sigi Schmid (Columbus). He needs at the very least a playoff appearance, after Columbus' three straight absences (two under Schmid), to keep his job, and so far he's pushed the right buttons.

No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now



Recent Soccer America Daily
Video Pick: Patrice Evra does dancing panda    
Juventus' French star Patrice Evra dances and raps in a panda suit to send the "Say ...
What They're Saying: Landon Donovan    
"If [Lionel] Messi scored a goal like that, people would be talking about it for weeks. ...
USWNT: Five regulars return for Romania series    
U.S. women's national team coach Jill Ellis recalled five regulars who had sat out the Switzerland ...
MLS Playoffs: Youngster Boateng takes charge for Galaxy    
Emmanuel Boateng made up for a penalty whistled on him that negated the LA Galaxy's early ...
Report: Barrett out of running for Dynamo head coach    
Wade Barrett, who served as the Houston Dynamo interim coach for the last five months, won't ...
What They're Saying: Michael Bradley    
"For tonight, every player, every person who is a part of this club, every fan, every ...
What They're Saying: Harvard dean Rakesh Khurana    
"As a human being, and a member of the Harvard College community, I am always profoundly ...
MLS Moves: Robinson stays with 'Caps, but changes coming    
Three days after a 4-1 win over Portland ended a disappointing MLS season for Vancouver, the ...
MLS Playoffs: Toronto FC stars come to play    
Ten years. That's the time it took Toronto FC to finally win its first playoff game. ...
MLS: SKC takes win streak into first playoff meeting    
The Seattle Sounders and Sporting Kansas City have been playoff mainstays -- eight straight appearances for ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives