Two Colorado Rapids alumni players were named to the historic team: defender Marcelo Balboa and midfield maestro Carlos Valderrama. For Balboa it's the second major announcement he has received in 2005 following his induction into the US Soccer Hall of Fame earlier this year.
MLS All-Time Best XI Players:
GOALKEEPER: Tony Meola (MET KC)
DEFENDERS: Eddie Pope (DC MET RSL) Jeff Agoos (DC SJ MET) Marcelo Balboa (COL MET)
MIDFIELDERS: Marco Etcheverry (DC) Landon Donovan (SJ LA) Carlos Valderrama (TB MIA COL) Preki (KC MIA) Peter Nowak (CHI)
FORWARDS: Jaime Moreno (DC MET) Brian McBride (CLB)
The following are select highlights of the MLS Best XI:
• KEEP GOING AND GOING: Five players have played in all ten MLS seasons: Moreno Pope Agoos Meola and Preki
• WEARING THE BLING!: The players have collected 21 combined MLS Cup championship rings: Agoos (5) Moreno (4) Pope (3) Etcheverry (3) Donovan (2) Meola (1) Preki (1) and Nowak (2 – one as a coach).
• HIGHLIGHT REEL: Four MLS Goals of the Year: Etcheverry (1997 1999) McBride (1998) and Balboa (2000).
• TROPHY CASE: Five League Most Valuable Player awards: Valderrama (1996) Preki (1997 2003) Etcheverry (1998) and Meola (2000).
• MORE HARDWARE: Five MLS Cup MVP awards: Etcheverry (1996) Moreno (1997) Nowak (1998) Meola (2000) and Donovan (2003).
• GOALS ASSISTS AND GAMES: Players have combined to score 373 goals and recorded 549 assists in 1926 regular season games played.
• ALL-STAR SELECTIONS: 73 combined selections to the midsummer classic the MLS All-Star Game.
The winners of the MLS All-Time Best XI were selected by a combination of voting that included online voting on the League’s official website www.MLSnet.com (50 percent) media votes (25 percent) and current MLS coaches and general managers (25 percent). The RadioShack MLS All-Time Best XI team was chosen from a pool of 78 player comprised of players who were previous Best XI selections or were named to at least three All-Star Games since the 1996 Inaugural Season.
RadioShack All-Time Best XI Bio's:
GOALKEEPER – TONY MEOLA (MetroStars Kansas City Wizards) Tony Meola has been a giant among goalkeepers in MLS playing the most games (230) and registering the most shutouts (57) in League history among 'keepers. In 2000 Meola came back from injury to not only help Kansas City win the MLS Cup but he also filled his trophy case by capturing the Comeback Player of the Year the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year the MLS Cup Most Valuable Player and the League’s Most Valuable Player awards.
Best XI – 2000
All-Star – 1996 1997 1998 2000 2002
DEFENDER – EDDIE POPE (D.C. United MetroStars Real Salt Lake) Often called the best American defender of his generation the smooth and talented Eddie Pope burst onto the MLS scene in season one when his overtime goal delivered D.C. United its first MLS Cup in 1996. A regular for club and country Pope has been named an MLS All-Star nine times (a record he shares with Jeff Agoos) and has been a member of the MLS Best XI on four occasions.
Best XI – 1997 1998 2003 2004
All-Star – 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
DEFENDER – JEFF AGOOS (D.C. United San Jose Earthquakes MetroStars) Decorated stalwart defender Jeff Agoos is a man of many records. Chief among them are his record five MLS Cup championships the most of any MLS player in history. Agoos anchored D.C. United’s backline for five seasons and three MLS Cups before making the jump to San Jose where he earned two more titles in 2001 and 2003. Comfortable on either the outside or center of the defense and blessed with a powerful and accurate foot Agoos has earned 134 U.S. national team appearances and has been named to nine All-Star games.
Best XI – 1997 1999 2001
All-Star – 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004
DEFENDER – MARCELO BALBOA (Colorado Rapids MetroStars) Marcelo Balboa marshaled Colorado’s backline for six years from 1996-2001 before injuries ended his career with the MetroStars in the 2002 season. The long-time U.S. national team player and Rapids team captain was the bedrock of the Rapids’ defense and was an occasional contributor on offense with his flamboyant bicycle kicks including the 2000 MLS Goal of the Year. Balboa became the first MLS defender to score 20 goals and 20 assists in his career.
All-Star – 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002
MIDFIELDER – MARCO ETCHEVERRY (D.C. United) Few players in MLS history have been able to match the dazzling showmanship of D.C. United’s Marco Etcheverry. The Bolivian international in the shiny white shoes ran United’s attack for eight seasons using his deadly left foot to create chances seemingly at will. Not known as a goal-scorer Etcheverry still twice earned the MLS Goal of the Year Award (1997 1999).
Best XI – 1996 1997 1998 1999
All-Star – 1997 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 (Honorary)
MIDFIELDER – LANDON DONOVAN (San Jose Earthquakes Los Angeles Galaxy) Regarded by many as America’s best player Landon Donovan is a true MLS success story. Loaned from Bayer Leverkusen at the precocious age of 19 Donovan blossomed into a talismanic presence in attack for the San Jose Earthquakes in 2001 en route to their first MLS Cup championship. Two years later he led the Earthquakes to their second title with a two-goal MLS Cup MVP performance. After scoring twice in the 2002 World Cup Donovan is a marked man and considered by many to be the nation’s top soccer player.
Best XI – 2003
All-Star – 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005
MIDFIELDER – CARLOS VALDERRAMA (Tampa Bay Mutiny Miami Fusion Colorado Rapids) Carlos Valderrama is arguably the greatest passer in Major League Soccer history. Playing beneath his trademark mop of hair "El Pibe" worked his midfield magic in MLS for seven seasons and left as the league’s all-time assist leader with 114 when he retired as a Colorado Rapids player. Named to three MLS Best XI’s and six All-Star rosters he won the league’s first MVP award in 1996. Valderrama famous for creating opportunities for his teammates seemingly out of nothing also captained his native Colombia to three World Cups from 1990 to 1998.
Best XI – 1996 1997 2000
All-Star – 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2002
MIDFIELDER – PREKI (Kansas City Wizards Miami Fusion) Predrag Radosavljevic—or simply Preki—is the only player in the history of MLS to win two league MVP awards which he did in 1997 and 2003. The prolific scorer carried Kansas City’s offense for nine of his 10 years in Major League Soccer before retiring in 2005 at the remarkable age of 42. Preki’s stunning resurgence in 2003 when it looked like injuries and age might end his career saw him lead the Wizards with 12 goals and 17 assists at the age of 40. Along with his MVPs Preki garnered seven All-Star game spots and four Best XI Awards.
Best XI – 1996 1997 2001 2003
All-Star – 1996 1997 1998 2000 2001 2002 2003
MIDFIELDER – PETER NOWAK (Chicago Fire) A domineering presence in the center of Soldier Field from 1998 to 2002 Polish midfield general Peter Nowak was the driving force behind the Fire’s MLS Cup championship in their inaugural season in 1998. Adept at both offense and defense the tireless two-way midfielder scored 28 goals in 114 games and was named to the MLS Best XI and the MLS All-Star team three times. In 2004 Nowak became head coach of D.C. United and won another MLS Cup in his first season.
Best XI – 1998 2000 2001
All-Star – 1998 1999 2000
FORWARD – JAIME MORENO (D.C. United MetroStars) Jaime Moreno is the fourth member of D.C. United’s championship dynasty to be named to the MLS All-Time Best XI. The talented Bolivian striker has been the spearhead of United’s attack in each of its four MLS Cup titles and is second all-time in MLS goals scored with 94. His skillful passing and shooting and his decisive penalty taking have seen him named to three Best XIs and six All-Star rosters in his career.
Best XI – 1997 1999 2004
All-Star – 1997 1998 1999 2000 2004 2005
FORWARD – BRIAN MCBRIDE (Columbus Crew) A true power forward Brian McBride led Columbus with his head and his feet for eight seasons and now plays at English Premier League club Fulham FC. The first pick in the 1996 inaugural draft McBride quickly set about demonstrating his aerial prowess and goal scoring ability. Fearless in the box and tireless in his play he’s the Crew’s all-time leading scorer with 62 goals and was named an All-Star in all eight of his seasons in the league. A veteran of three World Cup teams McBride became the first true soccer star to be born in Major League Soccer.
All-Star – 1996 1997 1998 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003
With the online voting category representing 50 percent of the total votes and the MLS coaches / general managers and media each counting for 25 percent the formula used for determining the award winners involved assigning 100 total points to each category for a possible total of 100 points. Therefore if a player received 50 percent of the votes in the online voting categories he would earn 50 points and if a player earned 50 percent of the votes in the other two categories he would earn 12.50 points for those categories. The voting totals were as follows:
Fans C/GM Media Total
Tony Meola 9.57 9.21 8.15 26.92
Brad Friedel 9.98 6.58 3.09 19.65
Kevin Hartman 4.58 2.63 6.18 13.39
Tim Howard 8.30 2.63 1.97 12.89
Fans C/GM Media Total
Eddie Pope 25.92 17.11 17.70 60.72
Jeff Agoos 15.04 10.53 12.36 37.93
Marcelo Balboa 14.25 5.26 8.71 28.22
Ryan Nelsen 8.16 9.21 3.65 21.03
Carlos Bocanegra 12.33 3.95 4.49 20.78
Lubos Kubik 4.66 11.84 3.93 20.43
Alexi Lalas 12.16 2.63 4.21 19.00
Robin Fraser 5.27 5.26 6.74 17.28
Fans C/GM Media Total
Marco Etcheverry 23.80 19.74 19.94 63.48
Landon Donovan 26.30 17.11 17.70 61.10
Carlos Valderrama 20.68 18.42 14.04 53.15
Preki 16.70 15.79 15.73 48.22
Peter Nowak 11.54 18.42 7.87 37.83
DaMarcus Beasley 17.49 6.58 5.62 29.69
Mauricio Cienfuegos 9.77 3.95 10.11 23.83
Cobi Jones 14.66 1.32 7.02 23.00
Chris Armas 6.71 10.53 4.21 21.45
Fans C/GM Media Total
Jaime Moreno 15.25 25.00 13.20 53.46
Brian McBride 16.80 5.26 7.58 29.65
Jason Kreis 10.37 6.58 10.96 27.91
Carlos Ruiz 7.87 3.95 7.02 18.84
Taylor Twellman 6.26 1.32 2.53 10.10