Seattle Sounders FC midfielder Freddie Ljungberg has been named to the 2009 MLS Best XI, it was announced today by Commissioner Don Garber. The Best XI recognizes the League’s top 11 players at each position on the field – one goalkeeper, three defenders, five midfielders and two forwards.
Garber disclosed the Best XI during his annual State of the League address. Six members of the 2009 Best XI are prior recipients of the honor, while Ljungberg was one of five named to the squad for the first time.
Ljungberg, the former Sweden international playing his first season in MLS, made a remarkable recovery from offseason hip surgery and led a dynamic Seattle offense with a team high nine assists, including a league high five game-winning assists, and had two goals in MLS play. He had four assists in the final two regular season games en route to an MLS Cup playoff birth.
Ljungberg was named an MLS All-Star, was MLS Player of the Month for October and was a finalist for the MLS Newcomer of the Year Award.
The Best XI members received the most votes from the media, MLS players and MLS coaches and general managers.
This season 10 clubs are represented on the Best XI. Houston is the only club with two representatives. Of the top 11 players, 10 were members of the 2009 MLS All-Star team, and seven are finalists for the League’s top end-of-season awards. Nine members of the Best XI have senior national team appearances.
Below is a breakdown of the MLS Best XI by position and in alphabetical order:
2009 MLS Best XI
GOALKEEPER (1): Zach Thornton (Chivas USA)
DEFENDERS (3): Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Wilman Conde (Chicago Fire), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Dwayne De Rosario (Toronto FC), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Shalrie Joseph (New England Revolution), Freddie Ljungberg (Seattle Sounders FC)
FORWARDS (2): Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids), Jeff Cunningham (FC Dallas)