CARSON, Calif. – Edson Buddle, Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez and Donovan Ricketts have all been named to the 2010 MLS Best XI, which annually honors the league’s best players at their positions. This is the first Best XI selection for Buddle, Gonzalez and Ricketts, while it is the fourth of Donovan’s career, having also been named to the team in 2003 as a member of the San Jose Earthquakes, as well as in 2008 and 2009 with the Galaxy.
The Galaxy’s four entries to the MLS Best XI set a new club record, eclipsing the former record of three, which was set in 1996 and then matched in 1998 and 1999. LA are the first team to send four players to the Best XI since D.C. United did so in 2006 and just the fifth team in league history to do so.
Buddle enjoyed the best season of his 10-year MLS career in 2010, scoring a career-high 17 goals, including nine of the Galaxy’s first 10 of the season. His 17 goals were the second most in MLS and came despite missing six weeks of action while with the U.S. National Team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. Including the postseason, the Galaxy were 13-1-1 when Buddle scored a goal, while his seven game-winning goals were the second most in MLS and the most by a Galaxy player since 2005. He added two goals in the Galaxy’s Western Conference Semifinal Series win over Seattle, giving him a total of 19 in all competitions for the Galaxy in 2010. One of seven players in league history with 90 career goals, Buddle showed the ability to score with both feet and his head this year, tallying 10 of his 19 goals with his right foot, six with his head and three with his left foot. On October 3 against Chivas USA, he became the first player in MLS history to score 40 or more goals with two different teams, also doing so with his first club, the Columbus Crew.
On Friday, Buddle will discover if he has also been selected the Volkswagen MLS MVP. The 29-year-old is one of three finalists for the award, along with FC Dallas midfielder David Ferreira and San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski.
“I am honored to be chosen for this year’s MLS Best XI. I am grateful to those who voted for me and to everyone that has contributed to my being here, including my family, friends, my coach and most importantly, my fellow teammates with the LA Galaxy.”
For the third straight season, Landon Donovan has been selected to the MLS Best XI, earning his fourth appearance on the team. The MLS leader in assists with a career-high 16 this season, Donovan helped the Galaxy win the Supporters’ Shield for the first time in his time with the club. In addition to his 16 assists, which were the second most in Galaxy history, Donovan added seven goals, meaning that he had a hand in 23 of the 44 goals that the club scored during the regular season, despite missing six weeks of action while with the U.S. National Team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. The Galaxy were 11-2-2 this season when Donovan had a goal or an assist in a game this season, including a 3-0-0 record when he had more than one assist. On August 1 against Chicago, he became the sixth player in MLS history to score 100 career goals and then became the all-time leading scorer in Galaxy history with his 71st career regular season goal for the club on September 18.
Donovan’s four appearances on the Best XI are one less than the league record of five, which is held by Chris Armas, Dwayne DeRosario and Robin Fraser.
“I take a lot of pride in being named to the Best XI, especially as our league continues to develop and get better. I believe that it says a lot about our team that four players were named in the Best XI this year and I would like to congratulate all the members of this year's Best XI, in particular, Edson, Donovan, and Omar.”
The 2009 MLS Rookie of the Year, Gonzalez is making his first appearance on the MLS Best XI. A finalist for the MLS Defender of the Year award and the recipient of the Galaxy’s Defender of the Year award this season, Gonzalez appeared in and started 28 of the Galaxy’s 30 games this season, helping the club record an 18-5-4 record in games that he played. His 28 games started and 2,520 minutes played were the most for any outfield player on the club, playing the full 90 minutes in each of those games. The 22-year-old center back was also active at the attacking end of the field, scoring twice with headers off corner kicks, one of which came in second half stoppage time at Chicago on September 4, earning LA a 1-1 draw, snapping a two-game losing streak. He added the game-winning goal in the Galaxy’s 2-1 win over Seattle in the second leg of their Western Conference Semifinal Series on November 7, heading home a David Beckham freekick.
“I am grateful and humbled to be named to the Best XI, as there are so many great defenders in our league. The fact that this is an award that is voted on by fellow players makes it that much more special and I want to thank everyone who helped to make this possible.”
The 2010 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, Ricketts is making his first appearance on the MLS Best XI. The Jamaican international set a club record with a 0.90 goals against average, allowing 26 goals in the 29 games that he played this season. He had a league-best record of 18-7-4 on the season and kept 11 clean sheets, tying a club record that was set in 1999, while the 26 goals allowed by the club were the second fewest in MLS this season and the fewest in club history. A two-time MLS All-Star and the starting goalkeeper in this year’s All-Star Game against Manchester United, his 0.96 career goals against average is the lowest in MLS history amongst goalkeepers that have played 500 minutes or more. In the two seasons in which Ricketts has played for the Galaxy, the club has allowed 57 goals in 60 regular season games after surrendering 62 in 30 regular season games during the 2008 campaign. He is the first Galaxy goalkeeper since Kevin Hartman in 1999 to be named to the MLS Best XI.
“I am honored to be named to the MLS Best XI and would like to once again thank everyone who voted for me. This is another tremendous award, one that I could not have earned without the assistance of my goalkeeper coach Ian Feuer and fellow goalkeeper Josh Saunders.”
Joining those four Galaxy players on the 2010 MLS Best XI are Real Salt Lake defenders Nat Borchers and Jamison Olave, Toronto FC midfielder Dwayne DeRosario, FC Dallas midfielder David Ferreira, Philadelphia midfielder Sebastien Le Toux, Real Salt Lake midfielder Javier Morales and San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski.
Buddle, Donovan, Gonzalez, Ricketts and the rest of the Galaxy will be back in action next week when they take on the Newcastle Jets in The Quantas Challenge at EnergyAustralia Stadium in Newcastle, New South Wales, Australia on Saturday, November 27. That game will kick off at 12:30 a.m. (PT), with complete broadcast information to be announced later in the week.
2010 MLS Best XI:
GOALKEEPER (1): Donovan Ricketts (LA Galaxy)
DEFENDERS (3): Nat Borchers (Real Salt Lake), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Dwayne De Rosario (Toronto FC), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), David Ferreira (FC Dallas), Sebastien Le Toux (Philadelphia Union), Javier Morales (Real Salt Lake)
FORWARDS (2): Edson Buddle (LA Galaxy), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)