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Best XI

MLS's all-league squad is.....

GOALKEEPER: Jon Busch (Chicago).
DEFENDERS: Chad Marshall (Columbus), Bakary Soumare (Chicago), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City).
MIDFIELDERS: Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Chicago), Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Columbus), Robbie Rogers (Columbus), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Shalrie Joseph (New England).
FORWARDS: Kenny Cooper (Dallas), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles).

Comeback player of the year: Cooper.

For details of the MLS Cup bet between New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Columbus Mayor Michael Coleman, see the rest of this thread.....

If the Red Bulls win, Coleman will send a package of Ohio State Buckeye candies and a case of ale from Columbus Brewing Co. If the Crew wins, Bloomberg will ship a Staten Island pizza, an Italian Hero and a case of Brooklyn Lager.

By Steve Goff  |  November 22, 2008; 4:29 PM ET
Categories:  MLS  
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Next: A Cuban's Story


what's bloomberg doing in this? Shouldn't it be Corzine?

Posted by: joshuaostevens | November 22, 2008 4:59 PM | Report abuse

I'm not sure that pizza will be hot by the time it gets to Columbus.

Posted by: undrafted | November 22, 2008 5:29 PM | Report abuse

Columbus is making out like bandits. Candy doesn't go with beer, and Brooklyn Brewery makes great stuff. Speaking of which, I believe it's Triple Chocolate Stout's time of the year.

Comeback player of the year should have been Quaranta, but I guess they consider all obstacles equal and the measure is on who did the best having dealt with a generic "negative" the previous year. Cooper's career and life weren't in danger, though coming back from a broken leg is quite impressive. Tino was on the edge of losing everything.

The Best XI is right or at least close to it in 10 of 11 cases. The problem is Blanco getting on the list ahead of Morales. What is it with MLS and giving awards out based on April, May, and June?

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | November 22, 2008 5:33 PM | Report abuse

ouch! no DC man...


Posted by: TheWashDipsSince88 | November 22, 2008 5:40 PM | Report abuse

I can't believe Quaranta didn't win. I thought he was a lock.

Posted by: StewartDC8 | November 22, 2008 7:05 PM | Report abuse

Communism strikes MLS again!

Quaranta was the winner of Comeback Player of the Year no matter what MLS says.

As for the Best XI: Isn't DC missing some players ie Moreno, Simms, Namoff, McTavish ect?

Posted by: Konoha7 | November 22, 2008 7:16 PM | Report abuse

How exactly does being clean and sober for a year make you a "lock" for comeback player of the year? Not only did Cooper come back from a serious injury, he excelled at his position and was an elite player. Quit being homers and give Cooper his due.

Posted by: SonicDeathMonkey | November 22, 2008 7:23 PM | Report abuse

note this: Robbie Rogers had 1 goal and 3 assists after May 10; Blanco was a little better, adding 3 goals and 5 assists after June 7.

For comparison sake, Morales had 4 goals and 9 assists after June 7, with RSL moving into playoff position on June 14 (and first place on July 19).

Posted by: mls319 | November 22, 2008 8:03 PM | Report abuse

Juan Pablo Angel and Dave van den Bergh should have been on the best XI...

Posted by: tfoisie | November 22, 2008 8:21 PM | Report abuse

Kenny Cooper does steroids.

Posted by: DadRyan | November 22, 2008 9:27 PM | Report abuse

The only real argument is Morales/Rodgers. I have no issue with the strikers being the two with the most goals, that is their job, after all. And cooper wins comeback based on his stellar play, any other year Tino would be golden, but you can't argue with the silver boot.

Posted by: joshuaostevens | November 22, 2008 9:42 PM | Report abuse

Cooper was a great player before the injury. He didn't suddenly get better. And it wasn't just Quaranta being sober for a year. He was traded, twice, and CUT by NY. He turned his entire LIFE around, not just some injury he had to wait to heal for.
Quaranta IS the comeback player of the year.

Posted by: StewartDC8 | November 22, 2008 10:30 PM | Report abuse

I dont agree with the 3-5-2 Best XI. How many teams in the MLS use that formation?

Drop Joseph for Namoff. Even the ESPN guys have mentioned how Namoff is one of the best player in league's backlines this year. How many goal do you remember him getting beat for? Not many.

Reading the Best XI just confirms my opinion that all All-Star/Pro-Bowl games are totally bogus and heavily based on popularity, not performance. Not for the absence of DC players (honestly we didnt have many candidates) but the players who had a good month or two and happen to be super-popular. I'm a huge Robbie Rogers fan but he didn't deserve a Best XI.

Posted by: BBFunnyMan | November 22, 2008 11:33 PM | Report abuse

Sorry, but Tino's story of self-inflicted drug addiction and rebirth is nice but stop trying to paint him as a deserving hero.

Plus, his season wasn't nearly as impressive as Cooper's. Tino is still prone to throwing his hands up in despair when he makes a bad play and his work rate, while much improved, is not where it should be.

Posted by: delantero | November 22, 2008 11:40 PM | Report abuse

He IS a deserving hero to me, to everyone trying to kick horrible addictions. Cooper is a great player, really great, but he's just returned from injury. It happens to everyone, just cause he's Kenny Cooper it somehow makes it amazing.
Yes, it was self inflicted, but not like shooting himself in the foot because he thought it would be a good idea. He slowly headed down a dark path and to turn his entire life around is truly amazing. I've broken a bone before and had to wait to come back, the hardest part is watching your teammates play when you want to help them. Quaranta's comeback was much harder than Coopers'.

Posted by: StewartDC8 | November 23, 2008 12:04 AM | Report abuse

I love Namoff, but there's no way anyone from a defense that gave up that many goals belongs in the best 11.

Posted by: fedssocr | November 23, 2008 12:47 AM | Report abuse

Tino comes back from a dark, dark place and Kenny comes back from a broken leg. While both are not great places to come from, they are by no means equal. However, I think that the process of "coming back" would also consider what one has done (or does) once they are...well, back.

Kenny had a monster year that resulted in foreign teams trying to get his signature, a boat laod of goals and a year which was capped off by a wonderful goal for the US National Team (that final piece may not have been considered in MLS' selection criteria but was added to further show how good a year Kenny had). In numerous instances he helped his team win and play above themselves.

Tino had a great year also. He scored some fantastic goals and played some decent ball. Frustrated the faithful from time-to-time, but he's young and is showing that he can and will get better.

For me though, you cannot compare the achievements of Cooper and Tino on the field. Copper was miles ahead, just as the afflictions that both came back from were night and day. So at the end of the day, as a soccer person or league, which criterion do you consider heavily in your selection process?

I love Tino, but it's Cooper for me.

Posted by: Kosh2 | November 23, 2008 7:34 AM | Report abuse

A small point here: Mr. Goff, they are not "Ohio State Buckeye candies"... they are simply buckeyes, or buckeye candies if you prefer---chocolate and peanut butter shaped in the form of a buckeye nut. (friggin' delicious actually). Yes, my alma mater is nicknamed the buckeyes, but the candy are not in anyway affiliated with the fine state university in Columbus. Thank you for your time and don't make me inform the ombudsman...

Posted by: harryfuchs | November 23, 2008 8:41 AM | Report abuse

They're both worthy of winning the award, but I give the slight edge to Cooper because of his amazing season.

Posted by: GoUnited | November 23, 2008 9:31 AM | Report abuse

Where is Niell?

Posted by: Hoost | November 23, 2008 11:02 AM | Report abuse

1. As others have noted, Javier Morales should be on the Best XI. Replace Blanco with him.

2. So should Brian Carroll. He had a far better season than Rogers.

3. As good as Shalrie Joseph is, I thought Ralston had a better season and was more critical to the Revs this year.

4. I really like Namoff, think he's a great guy. But I don't see him as Best XI and I don't even think he had a great season and he also had a few down games (not a lot, but some).

5. I think there's a reasonably case for Gonzalo Segares over Conrad. Conrad has been mister solid for a long time. But that Chicago backline was just incredible all season, especially given that Logan Pause is pedestrian at best as a holding mid and you now that Blanco ain't tracking back or winning balls that help the "D".

As for comeback player awards, I think it's a shame to denigrate the value of either player. Cooper came back from a bad injury and was a huge impact player. Quaranta came back from a very dark place and rebuilt his career. I personally would have gone with Quaranta because he rebuilt his career. I see a distinction between a guy playing great, getting hurt, and coming back to pay great versus a guy who was playing great, career went in the toilet, was out (combination of injuries and addiction), got clean and rebuilt his career. But frankly, Cooper is also a deserving choice. Let's hope there's no question that next year Olsen wins the comeback award (after effectively missing all of 2008).

Posted by: JoeW1 | November 23, 2008 12:36 PM | Report abuse

Bennie for Comeback Player 2009!

Posted by: teeps | November 23, 2008 3:03 PM | Report abuse

Conrad didn't belong. Neither did Blanco or Rogers. I prefer Conde to Soumare, and Segares over Soumare, too. Boswell? Perhaps. And Angel over Cooper, as good as Cooper was.

Morales gets robbed. Would have gone with Tino and thought Marshall more deserving than Cooper for CPOY.

Posted by: LAStory | November 24, 2008 4:30 AM | Report abuse

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