Mid-season MLS awards, Best 11: Who you got?

Sounders holding midfielder Osvaldo Alonso ... among my Best XI.

Pet peeve about most soccer awards processes: holding midfielders get very little love.

It really is such an important position. Show me a team with a good holding midfielder and a I’ll show you a team with a great chance, at least, to go places.

But a holding midfielder will never be a league MVP, mostly because so much of their important work is low on the glamour scale. Call it the Shalrie Joseph factor. That guy was easily the gold standard for D-mids over a lot of years in MLS, and probably deserving of a league MVP back in one of New England’s better seasons. But as we know, those awards generally go to attackers – yet another clear sign of the world’s imperfections.

Either way, I think Seattle’s Osvaldo Alonso may have now lapped Joseph. The Sounders little ball of midfield destruction is having a great season at Qwest Field whatever they call that place now. But in my mid-season awards (the piece went up yesterday at SI.com), I really couldn’t do much for him other than find a place on the Best XI. It’s really a pity on the one hand.

On the other hand, there are no cash prizes for being picked by Steve Davis. So, I’m sure ol’ Osvaldo isn’t too broken up about it.

Here is the Best XI. You’ll have to check out the piece at SI.com to learn about my choices for Most Valuable Player, Rookie of the Year (that one will probably surprise you), Coach of the Year, Newcomer, etc.

  • Goalkeeper:   Kevin Hartman (Dallas)
  • Defenders:  Jan Gunnar Solli (New York), Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake), Chad Marshall (Columbus), Heath Pearce (Chivas USA).
  • Midfielders:  Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle), Juninho (Los Angeles), Brek Shea (Dallas).
  • Forwards:  Thierry Henry (New York), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose).
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