Olave Earns Second Straight MLS Best XI Nod
REAL SALT LAKE DEFENDER JAMISON OLAVE EARNS SECOND CONSECUTIVE MLS BEST XI NOD
Center Back Becomes First RSL Player Twice Named to Major League Soccer’s Season-ending Top Squad
NEW YORK / SANDY, Utah (Thursday, November 10, 2011) – MLS Commissioner Don Garber today announced the 2011 Best XI during his annual State of the League teleconference call. For a second straight season, Real Salt Lake defender Jamison Olave was named to the league’s Best XI, which recognizes the top 11 players at each position on the field.
This year players, club leaders, and media members voted one goalkeeper, three defenders, five midfielders and two forwards to the Best XI, listed below by alphabetical order within each position:
Goalkeeper – Kasey Keller (Seattle Sounders FC)
Defender – Todd Dunivant (LA Galaxy)
Defender – Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)
Defender – Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake)
Midfielder – David Beckham (LA Galaxy)
Midfielder – Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo)
Midfielder – Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United)
Midfielder – Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)
Midfielder – Brek Shea (FC Dallas)
Forward – Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls)
Forward – Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Also today, MLS announced that Mark Geiger is the 2011 MLS Referee of the Year and Corey Rockwell is the Assistant Referee of the Year. Like the Best XI, Geiger and Rockwell were selected by voting from MLS players, club leadership, and media members.
See below for bios; for video highlights of the Best XI, CLICK HERE.
The 30-year-old Olave now owns two of RSL’s five placements on a Best XI side during the club’s seven-year history, a list that also includes Nat Borchers (2010), Jeff Cunningham (2006) and Javier Morales (2010). The Colombian center back is the first player in Real Salt Lake history to earn the Best XI honor twice and joins Donovan, De Rosario, Gonzalez and Wondolowski as repeat performers from this year’s group. Six players are first-time Best XI: Beckham, Davis, Dunivant, Henry, Keller and Shea.
Olave’s latest Best XI honor comes after the intimidating center back started all 24 of his regular season appearances and racked up 2,128 minutes in league play, the second-most in his four MLS seasons. Olave’s 30 fouls committed were tied for his career low in MLS play, and he was also able to drastically reduce the number of yellow cards received, being cautioned only three times by referees during the 2011 campaign. As in seasons past, Olave also chipped in on the offensive side of the field, scoring a pair of goals (June 8 @ CLB and July 23 v. SJ) and adding his first career MLS assist, his helper on Fabian Espíndola’s late tally on July 4 against New England helping the Claret-and-Cobalt earn a point from a wild 3-3 Independence Day draw in Sandy.
All-time Real Salt Lake MLS Season-ending Award Recipients
2005: Brian Kamler (Humanitarian of the Year)
2006: Jeff Cunningham (Best XI Team & Golden Boot Award), Chris Klein (Fair Play Award)
2008: Will Johnson (Goal of the Year)
2010: Nat Borchers (Best XI Team), Javier Morales (Best XI Team), Jamison Olave (Defender of the Year & Best XI Team), and Álvaro Saborío (Newcomer of the Year)
2011: Jamison Olave (Best XI Team)
2011 MLS Best XI:
Kasey Keller Goalkeeper Seattle Sounders FC Nationality: United States Born: November 29, 1969
The Sounders captain started every league match in 2011 and led all goalkeepers with 18 wins. Keller earned a 1.09 goals-against average (third in MLS) and posted a 75.9 save percentage (second in MLS among those with 20 or more games played). Keller began his professional career in 1992 with Millwall (England) and he played for to Leicester City (England), Rayo Vallecano (Spain), Tottenham Hotspur (England), Borussia Mönchengladbach (Germany), Fulham (England) before joining the MLS club in his home state in 2009. Among goalkeepers, he is the U.S. Men’s National Team’s all-time leader in appearances (102). Keller’s final home game in Seattle drew a crowd of 64,140.
Todd Dunivant Defender LA Galaxy Nationality: United States Born: December 26, 1980
Currently in his ninth MLS season, Dunivant appeared in 32 matches this season while helping LA match the all-time record for regular season shutouts (17) and achieve the second-best record (19-5-10, 67 points) in League history. From his left back position, Dunivant was a reliable link in the Galaxy’s possession game and assisted on four goals this season.
Omar Gonzalez Defender LA Galaxy Nationality: United States Born: Oct. 11, 1988
This year’s MLS Defender of the Year, Gonzalez has established himself as one of the dominant central defenders in the League. While leading the defensive unit that registered the third best regular season goals-against average (0.82) in MLS history, Gonzalez also contributed two goals and an assist. Gonzalez was the 2009 MLS Rookie of the Year.
Jamison Olave Defender Real Salt Lake Nationality: Colombia Born: April 21, 1981
The 2010 MLS Defender of the Year and 2011 Defender of the Year finalist, Olave was an anchor for a Real Salt Lake defense that allowed the second fewest goals (36) in MLS this season. A towering presence with astounding closing speed, Olave also contributed two goals and an assist this season. Olave joined Real Salt Lake in 2008 after playing in Colombia’s first division.
David Beckham Midfielder LA Galaxy Nationality: England Born: May 2, 1975
Appearing in 26 games this season, Beckham ranked second in the League in assists (15), first in game-winning assists (7) and was a creative force for a Galaxy attack that scored 48 goals. He also scored two goals this season, and the Galaxy was 10-1-3 when his name appeared on the score sheet. He helped the Galaxy claim the Supporters Shield for the second consecutive year. For England’s national team, Beckham has appeared in 115 games, scoring 17 times. More than 50 of Beckham’s caps have come as the England captain.
Brad Davis Midfielder Houston Dynamo Nationality: United States Born: November 8, 1981
Davis started all 34 matches for the Dynamo, led the League in assists (16) and scored four goals. His lethal left-foot helped propel the Dynamo into the playoffs on a 4-0-2 run that earned them the second seed in the Eastern Conference. A finalist for the 2011 Volkswagen MLS MVP and MLS W.O.R.K.S. Humanitarian of the Year awards, Davis has five appearances for the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Dwayne De Rosario Midfielder D.C. United Nationality: Canada Born: May 15, 1978
Dwayne De Rosario recently claimed the 2011 MLS Budweiser Golden Boot, finishing the MLS regular season with 16 goals, and registered 12 assists. A finalist for the 2011 Volkswagen MLS MVP award, De Rosario started 31 of 33 matches played this season (11 at forward), totaling 2,781 minutes of action. In 18 games for D.C. United (17 starts), De Rosario recorded 13 goals and seven assists. De Rosario’s sixth Best XI selection is an MLS record – Chris Armas, Landon Donovan, Robin Fraser and Jaime Moreno each have five. Entering the Canada’s FIFA World Cup Qualifying matches against St. Kitts on Nov. 11 & 15, De Rosario has 18 goals in 64 appearances for his national team.
Landon Donovan Midfielder LA Galaxy Nationality: United States Born: March 4, 1982
Donovan led the Galaxy with 12 goals this season while adding three assists in 23 games and captaining the Galaxy to the Supporters’ Shield for the second straight season. Donovan has 138 caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team and is the all-time leader in goals (46).
Brek Shea Midfielder FC Dallas Nationality: United States Born: February 28, 1990
After turning 21 in February, Shea emerged as a rising star for FC Dallas in 2011, helping the club reach the MLS Cup Playoffs despite losing 2010 MLS MVP David Ferreira to injury in April. Shea orchestrated the FC Dallas attack, supplying 11 goals and four assists while appearing in 31 games, starting 30. Shea made his U.S. Men’s National Team on October 12, 2010 and has one assist in six appearances this year.
Thierry Henry Forward New York Red Bulls Nationality: France Born: August 17, 1977
The French World Cup champion shined in his first full season with the New York Red Bulls, scoring 14 goals and adding five assists in 26 games. Henry’s goals-per-game average (0.54) was the best among players with at least 20 games played this season. Henry’s pro career began in 1990 with AS Monaco (France), and included successful stints at Juventus (Italy), Arsenal (England) and FC Barcelona (Spain) before he joined the Red Bulls midway through last season. Henry has 123 caps for France, and is his national team’s all-time leading scorer with 51 goals.
Chris Wondolowski Forward San Jose Earthquakes Nationality: United States Born: January 28, 1983
Wondolowski led the Earthquakes in scoring with 16 goals (tied for most in MLS) and three assists. He is just the third player in MLS history to lead or tie for the League lead in goals in consecutive seasons, joining Stern John and Carlos Ruiz. He tied for the League lead with five game winning goals in 2011. After winning the 2010 Budwieser Golden Boot, Wondolowski was called up to the U.S. Men’s National Team and made his debut January 22, 2011.