Maxi Moralez Named to MLS Best XI for 2019
Maxi Moralez has been named to the Major League Soccer Best XI for 2019.
New York City FC’s 2019 Fans’ Player of the Season had 20 assists to his name, the second-most assists in league history and tied as the highest in the post-shootout era.
In his third year with the club, Moralez has been a strong fixture in the NYCFC midfield, making 30 appearances, scoring seven goals and becoming just the third player in MLS history to rack up 20+ assists in a single regular season.
He is joined in the XI by some of the league's top talents like Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Josef Martinez and Carlos Vela.
The Best XI recognizes the league’s top players at each position as determined by media, MLS players and MLS club technical staff.
Everyone at NYCFC would like to congratulate our resident Spider-Man on his latest achievement.
Major League Soccer today revealed the 2019 MLS Best XI, recognizing the league’s top players at each position as determined by media, MLS players and MLS club technical staff. The 11 players named to the Best XI hail from eight different countries and represent some of the league’s most exciting and accomplished talent comprised of international stars, breakout players and top newcomers to the league. Seven different MLS clubs are represented by this year’s Best XI squad, all of which qualified for the Audi 2019 MLS Cup Playoffs.
2019 MLS Best XI
Goalkeeper: Vito Mannone (Minnesota United FC)
Defenders: Ike Opara (Minnesota United FC), Miles Robinson (Atlanta United), Walker Zimmerman (Los Angeles Football Club)
Midfielders: Eduard Atuesta (Los Angeles Football Club), Carles Gil (New England Revolution), Maxi Moralez (New York City FC), Alejandro Pozuelo (Toronto FC)
Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy), Josef Martínez (Atlanta United), Carlos Vela (Los Angeles Football Club)
All three 2019 Landon Donovan MLS MVP finalists compose a forward trio on the Best XI squad that holds the three highest single-season goalscoring marks in league history. Los Angeles Football Club forward Carlos Vela helped the club to an MLS record 72 points this season while breaking the single-season mark with 34 goals of his own, tied for the third-highest total in the global game this year. Vela added 15 assists to finish the season with a league-record 49 combined goals and assists.
Zlatan Ibrahimović, last year’s Newcomer of the Year winner, makes his second consecutive MLS Best XI after finishing the season with 30 goals, third most all-time in league history. Atlanta United forward Josef Martínez makes his third consecutive Best XI after finishing the year with 27 goals, tied for fourth most in MLS history. The reigning MLS MVP scored in an MLS-record 15 consecutive matches this season, tied for second most in global soccer since the start of MLS in 1996 behind only Lionel Messi.
The midfield is comprised of four players making their MLS Best XI debut, including two newcomers to the league this season. NYCFC midfielder Maxi Moralez garnered 20 assists this season, second highest in league history and tied for the most in the post-shootout era, to help NYCFC post a club record in points. LAFC 22-year-old midfielder Eduard Atuesta recorded 11 assists this season en route to a record-breaking season for LAFC, earning his first call to Colombia’s U-23 National Team in the process. A pair of Spanish newcomers round out the Best XI midfield in Alejandro Pozuelo and Carles Gil, as each was one of only four players this season to record double-digit goals and assists. Pozuelo recorded 12 goals and 12 assists to lead Toronto FC back to the postseason, while the 26-year-old Gil garnered 10 goals and 14 assists for a resurgent New England Revolution squad.
Manning the Best XI defense are three standout Americans who led their clubs to postseason appearances. The 2017 and 2019 MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara led an incredible defensive turnaround for Minnesota United FC en route to the club’s first postseason appearance. Joining Opara is 22-year-old Atlanta United defender Miles Robinson, who helped the club to two trophies this season and a berth in the 2020 Concacaf Champions League. As a result of his stellar play with Atlanta, Robinson earned his first ever calls to the U.S. Men’s National Team during the September and October FIFA windows. Rounding out the defense is 26-year-old Walker Zimmerman who anchored the stingiest defense in the league this season for LAFC, which allowed an MLS-low 37 goals and posted the best goal differential in league history (+48). Zimmerman has emerged as a regular for the USMNT with seven caps this year.
The 2019 Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year Vito Mannone suits up between the posts on the Best XI after leading the third-biggest defensive turnaround in league history for Minnesota United FC. Minnesota allowed 43 goals this season, a 28-goal improvement from the 71 goals allowed in 2018. Mannone ranked second in MLS this season with 129 saves and became the 28th goalkeeper in MLS history to record double-digit saves in a clean sheet performance.
Seven of the players named to the Best XI are first-time selections, with Opara, Ibrahimović, and Vela making their second appearances, and Martínez making his third appearance.