MLS Awards: Giovinco and Hedges repeat Best XI picks

Three teams each landed two players on the MLS Best XI announced by the league on Monday. Supporters Shield winner FC Dallas is represented by defender Matt Hedges and midfielder Mauro Diaz; Eastern Conference champion New York Red Bulls contribute forward Bradley Wright-Phillips and midfielder Sacha Kljestan, and the L.A. Galaxy lists attacker Giovani Dos Santos and centerback Jelle Van Damme.

Rounding out the heavily foreign squad are forward Sebastian Giovinco, striker David Villa (New York City FC), winger Ignacio Piatti (Montreal), defender Axel Sjoberg (Colorado), and goalkeeper Andre Blake (Jamaica).

Hedges and Kljestan are the only Americans among the 11 players.

Votes from MLS players, club executives, and media members were compiled to form the squad, aligned in a 3-4-3 formation. Squeezed out of the equation are outside backs, even though most teams play with four-man back lines. All three defenders listed are centerbacks. Hedges and Giovinco are the only returnees from the 2015 team.

2016 MLS Best XI:
David Villa (New York City) -- Tallied 23 goals in second MLS season, has 41 in league play.
Bradley Wright-Phillips (NY Red Bulls-- Won second Golden Boot with 24 goals, also named Best XI in 2014.
Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC) -- Led MLS in combined goals (17) and assists (15), is already TFC’s all-time leading goalscorer.


Ignacio Piatti (Montreal) -- Third in league with 17 goals, scored four more in the playoffs to emerge as a star in his third MLS season.
Sacha Kljestan (NY Red Bulls) –- Ran away with assist crown (20), five more than runner-up, also scored six goals.
Mauro Diaz (FC Dallas) –- Notched 13 assists (seven on game-winning goals) and scored five goals before Achilles’ injury ended his season prematurely.
Giovani Dos Santos (LA Galaxy) -- There’s something about guys named Gio when it comes to goals (14) and assists (12).


Matt Hedges (FC Dallas) –- Won Defender of the Year honors as Dallas captured Shield and reached 60 points for second consecutive season.
Jelle Van Damme (LA Galaxy) -- Logged four assists in 28 games as Galaxy finished second in goals allowed (39).
Axel Sjoberg (Colorado) -- Anchored the league’s stingiest defense (32 goals) and was second in clearances (162).


Andre Blake (Philadelphia) – The Human Highlight Reel justified Philly’s selection of him as the No. 1 pick in the 2014 SuperDraft.

3 comments about "MLS Awards: Giovinco and Hedges repeat Best XI picks".
  1. Kevin Sims, December 6, 2016 at 8:50 a.m.

    So how is the MLS doing as a league to develop the American player? Coming up short due to foreign player excellence? Or enhancing that effort due to foreign player excellence?

  2. Albert Harris, December 6, 2016 at 9:25 a.m.

    Your guess is as good as anyone's, but one year is a very limited sample from which to draw conclusions. Last years best 11 had 5 Americans so who knows if this is just one of those years. And it's not just MLS dealing with this situation. Last year the Premier Leagues had 4 Englishmen and 7 foreign players in their First 11. And there was much weeping and wailing over that on the far side of the pond too.

  3. Gus Keri, December 6, 2016 at 10:04 a.m.

    Apparently, all outside backs and defensive midfielders in MLS suck.

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