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Sounders FC

Daily coverage of Seattle Sounders FC, MLS and world soccer.

November 16, 2009 at 3:24 PM

Freddie Ljungberg named to MLS Best XI

Back from a little vacation…here’s the announcement from the league, preceded by my story for the Times.
Sounders FC midfielder Freddie Ljungberg was voted to Major League Soccer’s Best XI for 2009, league commissioner Don Garber announced Monday morning.
The Best XI is a postseason award that recognizes the League’s top 11 players at each position on the field – one goalkeeper, three defenders, five midfielders and two forwards. Ljungberg, one of four MLS All-Stars representing Sounders FC in its inaugural season, was the club’s lone honoree.
Ljungberg, a native of Sweden who became a star in the English Premier League with Arsenal before signing to become Sounders FC’s designated player last fall, led Seattle with nine assists and led MLS with five game-winning assists. He also scored two goals and was named MLS Player of the Month for October on his way to being a finalist for league Newcomer of the Year.
Ljungberg overcame hip surgery before the season and dealt with severe migraines during the regular campaign that forced him out of a few games, but made a major impact on Sounders FC’s attack when healthy and playing at full strength.
The Best XI members received the most votes from the media, MLS players and MLS coaches and general managers.
And now, the official details from MLS, including other honorees.
NEW YORK (Monday, Nov. 16, 2009) – MLS Commissioner Don Garber today announced the 2009 Best XI during his annual State of the League address. The Best XI recognizes the League’s top 11 players at each position on the field – one goalkeeper, three defenders, five midfielders and two forwards. Six members of the 2009 Best XI are prior recipients of the honor, while five have been named to the squad for the first time.
The Best XI members received the most votes from the media, MLS players and MLS coaches and general managers.
Chivas USA goalkeeper Zach Thornton earned his third major award of this year and his second career Best XI nod. This year’s Goalkeeper of the Year and Comeback Player of the Year, Thornton was a Best XI member in 1998 when he helped lead the Chicago Fire to an MLS Cup championship.
The Best XI defense includes Chad Marshall, a two-time Best XI member and this year’s Visa Defender of the Year. Joining Marshall on the back line are two first-time recipients – the Houston Dynamo’s Geoff Cameron and the Chicago Fire’s Wilman Conde.
The star-studded midfield includes two four-time honorees, Shalrie Joseph (New England Revolution), and Dwayne De Rosario (Toronto FC). Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy) earned his third selection. MLS Newcomer of the Year finalist Freddie Ljungberg (Seattle Sounders FC) earned MLS Best XI honors for the first time, as did Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo).
The 2009 Golden Boot winner Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas), joins his closest suitor in that race, Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids) at forward. Cunningham was named to the team for a third time, while this is the first Best XI selection for Casey.
This season 10 clubs are represented on the Best XI. Houston is the only club with two representatives. Of the top 11 players, 10 were members of the 2009 MLS All-Star team, and seven are finalists for the League’s top end-of-season awards, including Volkswagen MLS MVP finalists Cunningham, Donovan and Joseph. Nine members of the Best XI have senior national team appearances. Conde and Cameron are the only two without a full national team cap.
The Volkswagen MLS MVP will be awarded Thursday, Nov. 19. ESPNews will broadcast the award ceremony. Below is a breakdown of the MLS Best XI by position and in alphabetical order:
2009 MLS Best XI:
GOALKEEPER (1): Zach Thornton (Chivas USA)
DEFENDERS (3): Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Wilman Conde (Chicago Fire), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Dwayne De Rosario (Toronto FC), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Shalrie Joseph (New England Revolution), Freddie Ljungberg (Seattle Sounders FC)
FORWARDS (2): Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids), Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas)

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