Seattle Sounders FC defender Chad Marshall and forward Obafemi Martins have been named to the 2014 MLS Best XI, the league announced today. This marks the third Best XI selection for Marshall after earning the honor in 2008 and 2009, and the first for Martins. The Best XI recognizes the league’s top 11 players on the field – one goalkeeper, three defenders, four midfielders and three forwards.
In his first year with Sounders FC, Marshall became the first player in league history to be named MLS Defender of the Year three times. He led the league with 136 interceptions and recorded an impressive 126 headers won, 206 clearances and an 83% passing accuracy. The 11-year MLS veteran also recorded one goal – an 84th-minute winner against Philadelphia on May 3 – and matched a career-high with three assists.
Martins set a club record with 17 goals (fifth in MLS) and matched a club record with 13 assists (tied for fifth in MLS). His five multi-goal games were tied for second in MLS, and his four game-winning assists were tied for fourth. The forward started 29 of his 31 appearances in 2014 and accumulated 2,600 minutes, and Sounders FC was 12-0-0 in games in which Martins scored a goal.
Martins was named Etihad Airways MLS Player of the Month for September and MLS Player of the Week for week 24, in addition to his seven MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week selections and five AT&T Goal of the Week Awards. Marshall was named to the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week four times. Both players were 2014 MLS All-Star selections.
Marshall and Martins are the fourth and fifth Seattle players to earn MLS Best XI honors, joining midfielder Freddie Ljungberg in 2009, goalkeeper Kasey Keller in 2011 and Osvaldo Alonso in 2012.
The Best XI members received the most votes from the media, MLS players and MLS coaches and general managers.
Below is a breakdown of the MLS Best XI by position and in alphabetical order:
2014 MLS BEST XI
GOALKEEPER (1): Bill Hamid (D.C. United)
DEFENDERS (3): Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC), Bobby Boswell (D.C. United), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers), Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls)
FORWARDS (3): Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls), Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders FC)