Best XI: The fan-voted starting lineup of the Seattle Sounders' MLS era is revealed

It’s finally here.

A total of 138 players have donned the iconic Rave Green jersey for the Sounders throughout the MLS era. There are countless memories and contributions for each Sounder, but there is only one all-time Best XI.

The vote was weighted with four sets of voting contingents over a four-week period: Fans (25 percent), Media (25 percent), Club Stakeholders (25 percent) and Alliance Council (25 percent).

With over 57,100 submissions, your voices have been heard. Here is your all-time Sounders MLS Best XI:

The lineup is a blend of current stalwarts and club legends, spanning every iteration of the team since 2009.

Goalkeeper

Stefan Frei (2014-Present)

Frei gets the nod in goal for the Best XI. Since joining the team in 2014, he has racked up 61 shutouts and 633 saves in MLS competition. None were more important than ‘The Save’, a logic-defying feat of athleticism and footwork that helped the club win its first MLS Cup in 2016.

Defenders

Chad Marshall (2014-19)

Next up is Marshall, who recently retired from professional soccer after arguably the greatest career of any defender in MLS. The only player to win MLS Defender of the Year three times, the cerebral center back featured in 175 matches across the regular season and playoffs for Seattle. 

DeAndre Yedlin (2013-14)

Next is the club’s first Homegrown Player, Yedlin, who currently plays for Newcastle United in the English Premier League. Although he only spent two seasons with the Sounders before being transferred to Tottenham Hotspur, the O’Dea High School alum made a lasting impression, with two goals and seven assists across 62 MLS appearances. A dynamic, speedy outside back, Yedlin was a critical component of the 2014 Supporters’ Shield-winning team.

Zach Scott (2009-16)

Scott, AKA “Mr. Sounder,” rounds out the defenders. The one-club man played 154 matches for the pre-MLS Sounders, making him one of the longest-serving players in club history. During the MLS era, he tallied another 134 appearances across the regular season and playoffs, helping the team pick up seven trophies.

Midfielders

Osvaldo Alonso (2009-18)

Whether you call him “El Corazon” or “Honey Badger,” you’re probably familiar with Alonso’s body of work. The midfield destroyer burst onto the scene with the Sounders in 2009 and spent 10 seasons with the club, leading the team to four U.S. Open Cups, one Supporters’ Shield and one MLS Cup. Along the way, Alonso, who is arguably the most complete No. 6 in league history, pitched in 13 goals and 25 assists across 302 MLS appearances.

Nicolás Lodeiro (2016-Present)

Our current captain, Lodeiro is the next midfielder on the list. Less than four seasons into his tenure with Seattle, the Uruguayan maestro is already the all-time club leader in regular-season assists with 44, and in 2018 he set the club record for most assists in a single season with 16. Across 101 starts in the regular season and postseason, Lodeiro has amassed 28 goals and 46 assists. His summer arrival in 2016 famously helped turn around the season en route to Seattle lifting its first MLS Cup and Lodeiro being named the league’s Newcomer of the Year.

Cristian Roldan (2015-Present)

A University of Washington product and alleged Rainier Beach native, Roldan is one of three players selected to the Best XI who are currently on the Sounders roster. Roldan, 24, is also the youngest player on the Best XI, a sign of just how quickly he’s etched his name into the club’s history. A true two-way force, Seattle’s box-to-box midfielder has already recorded 17 goals and 17 assists from 137 appearances in the MLS regular season. His versatility is also extremely valuable, as he’s lined up at every midfield and wing position, as well as right back, throughout his five seasons in Seattle.

Brad Evans (2009-17)

Joining the team in 2009 in the MLS Expansion Draft, Evans immediately ingratiated himself into Sounders lore by scoring against the New York Red Bulls in the inaugural match. A Swiss Army Knife on the pitch, Evans scored 22 goals and added 29 assists across his nine seasons and 221 MLS appearances in Rave Green. The former captain helped bring six titles to the Sounders’ trophy case.

Forwards

Clint Dempsey (2013-18)

Arguably the greatest player the United States has ever produced, Dempsey is the first forward on the list. Tied atop the all-time leading goalscorers list for the Sounders — he’s also tied with Landon Donovan for most U.S. men’s national team goals with 57 — Deuce contributed 47 goals and 28 assists across 115 MLS regular season appearances in Seattle. A player built for the big occasion, he also recorded five game-winning goals and scored nine times in nine matches against the Portland Timbers.

Obafemi Martins (2013-15)

One of the most explosive, productive forwards to ever ply their trade in MLS, Martins was a shoe-in on the Best XI. In just 72 MLS regular-season appearances, the Nigerian No. 9 compiled an absurd 40 goals and 24 assists. Between his audacious volley against the San Jose Earthquakes in May 2014 and his ridiculous first touch to set up his goal against the Colorado Rapids in April 2015, Martins scored some of the greatest individual goals in club history.

Fredy Montero (2009-12)

Tied with Dempsey as the club's top scorer, Montero is the final player on the Best XI. The Colombian forward took no time getting acclimated to MLS, scoring a brace in the club’s inaugural match. Throughout his four years with the club, the former Sounder, who was 21 when he joined the team, bagged 47 goals and 34 assists in the regular season.

How Would They Play?

In Sounders Head Coach Brian Schmetzer’s favored 4-2-3-1, Evans would likely slide back a line to play left back, with Roldan and Alonso occupying the double-pivot and Lodeiro lining up as the No. 10. Dempsey and Montero would play underneath Martins as inside forwards, having the freedom to seek out pockets of space all over the final third. With so much attacking prowess on the lineup and a defensive spine of Frei-Scott-Marshall-Roldan-Alonso, the Sounders Best XI would be a goalscoring machine.

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