Through his four years, Osvaldo Alonso has become a fan favorite in Seattle.
He has been twice been voted the team pick for Most Valuable Player and also earned recognition from the supporter groups.
In Seattle, they know the value of the Cuban midfielder, who is largely considered the best defensive midfielder in Major League Soccer.
So, too, do the players, coaches and media in the league, as Alonso was named to the MLS Best XI on Monday, announced in a teleconference with MLS Commissioner Don Garber.
“I think I did a good job this year, playing for my team,” Alonso said. “Being an All-Star and now the Best XI, I’m feeling so happy and I enjoy this moment.”
Alonso has twice been named an MLS All-Star and played in the game for the first time this summer. He played 2,688 minutes in the 2012 regular season, the top number for the Sounders field players for the second consecutive season. While his durability has improved over his four seasons in Seattle, so has his all-around play on the field.
Prior to their Western Conference Championship series against the LA Galaxy, Landon Donovan had high praise for the man that would be hunting him down each time he had possession throughout the series when speaking to the LA media.
“The key to their team in any circumstance is Alonso. He’s a guy that I'm sure when Sigi puts his lineup out, every time he knows what he's getting out of that guy,” said Donovan. “He’s very good and he’s very influential.”
Added David Beckham, “I like him as a player, he’s very energetic, he tackles, he passes, and he can head the ball. He’s a very good player.”
Alonso was the lone Sounder represented on the Best XI and is the third player to receive the recognition, joining Freddie Ljungberg in 2009 and Kasey Keller in 2011.
The individual accolade comes on the tails of the Sounders FC season coming to an end with a 4-2 series loss to the Galaxy last week after they finished third in the West at 15-8-11, also advancing to the US Open Cup Final for the fourth consecutive year and the Western Conference Championship for the first time in club history.
The task now turns toward 2013, where the Sounders will open the season in the quarterfinals of the CONCACAF Champions League and an eye on more championships.
“We did a good job with the team. We played hard and I think next year is going to be better for us,” Alonso said. “We’re looking for the championship.”
FULL 2012 MLS Best XI:
GOALKEEPER (1): Jimmy Nielsen (Sporting Kansas City)
DEFENDERS (3): Victor Bernardez (San Jose Earthquakes), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Aurelien Collin (Sporting Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS (4): Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders FC), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Chris Pontius (D.C. United), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS (2): Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)