LOS ANGELES – Major League Soccer today revealed the 2018 MLS Best XI, recognizing the league’s top players at each position as determined by media, MLS players and MLS technical staff. Among them is LA Galaxy forward and MLS MVP finalist, Newcomer of the Year Finalist and Comeback Player of the Year finalist Zlatan Ibrahimović.
Signing with the Galaxy earlier this year, Ibrahimović didn’t look back after storming into the league with two stunning late goals during his LA Galaxy debut on March 31 against LAFC. In his first MLS season, he tallied 22 goals and 10 assists, becoming only the third player in league history to record a 20-goal, 10-assist season. His 32 combined goals and assists this season tie for the sixth highest total in MLS annals. His 1.34 goals and assists per 90 minutes is the second-best in MLS history.
2018 MLS Best XI
Goalkeeper: Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC)
Defenders: Kemar Lawrence (New York Red Bulls), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC)
Midfielders: Luciano Acosta (D.C. United), Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact), Carlos Vela (Los Angeles Football Club)
Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy), Josef Martínez (Atlanta United), Wayne Rooney (D.C. United)
The 2018 Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Zack Steffen suits up between the posts on the Best XI after recording the eighth-longest shutout streak in league history this season. Steffen has emerged as a future star for the U.S. Men’s National Team, appearing in six matches since making his debut in January 2018.
Manning the Best XI back line are three standout defenders who led their clubs to postseason appearances. The 2018 MLS Defender of the Year Aaron Long emerged with the U.S. National Team following a breakout season for the New York Red Bulls. The 26-year-old Long is joined by Jamaican National Team and Red Bulls teammate Kemar Lawrence, who also helped New York to the best regular season in MLS history with a league-record 71 points. Rounding out the defense is Seattle Sounders FC defender Chad Marshall, who makes his fourth appearance on the Best XI squad after helping Seattle tie an MLS record with its 10th consecutive appearance in the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.
All five 2018 Landon Donovan MLS MVP finalists compose a talented midfield and forward group on the Best XI squad. LAFC’s Carlos Vela joins Ignacio Piatti of the Montreal Impact, who makes his second appearance on the Best XI squad after an MLS career-high 29 combined goals and assists. Also in the midfield is 24-year-old Luciano Acosta, who finished second in the league with 19 assists for a resurgent D.C. United squad. Rounding out the group is Atlanta United’s Miguel Almirón, the 2017 MLS Newcomer of the Year winner who paced the league’s highest scoring team with 12 goals and 14 assists.
Atlanta United teammate and 2018 Golden Boot winner Josef Martínez headlines a talented trio of forwards after shattering the MLS single-season scoring record with 31 goals. Joining him on the Best XI is world icon and LA Galaxy forward Zlatan Ibrahimović, who recorded the third ever 20-goal, 10-assist season in MLS history. Rounding out the talented group is England’s all-time leading goalscorer Wayne Rooney, who revitalized D.C. United with his midseason arrival, leading the club from bottom of the league to fourth in the Eastern Conference behind his 19 combined goals and assists in a mere 18 games started.
Seven of the players named to the Best XI are first-time selections, with Almirón, Martínez and Piatti making their second appearances, and Marshall making his fourth appearance.