Seattle Sounders FC forward Obafemi Martins and central defender Chad Marshall were named to Major League Soccer’s Best XI team Tuesday.
Sigi Schmid was runner-up for the league’s coach of the year award, and goalkeeper Stefan Frei was third in comeback player voting as the league continued doling out its postseason honors.
Ben Olsen won the coaching award after leading D.C. Untied on a worst-to-first journey that saw them finish atop the Eastern Conference regular-season standings with a 17-9-8 record. United had finished last in the East the previous season — also under Olsen — with a 3-24-7 record.
Olsen was the top choice of all three voting blocs: MLS clubs, players and media. Schmid, a two-time coach of the year selection, finished second, followed by Gregg Berhalter of Columbus and Oscar Pareja of FC Dallas.
Frei finished third for comeback player despite receiving the most votes from clubs and media. However, the players’ votes were enough to give the award to forward Rodney Wallace of Portland, with forward Charlie Davies of New England as the runner-up.
The selection of Marshall and Martins to the Best XI was not surprising as Marshall had already been named defender of the year and Martins is among three finalists for the league MVP award, which will be announced Wednesday.
Martins set a Sounders record and was fifth in the league with 17 goals and tied a club record and was tied for fifth in the league with 13 assists. Seattle went 12-0-0 in games in which he scored a goal.
Here is the full Best XI roster: goalkeeper Bill Hamid (D.C.), defenders Marshall, Bobby Boswell (D.C.) and Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles); midfielders Lee Nguyen (New England), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles), Diego Valeri (Portland) and Thierry Henry (New York); and forward Robbie Keane (Los Angeles), Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York) and Martins.
The Best XI team was announced as part of commissioner Don Garber’s annual State of the League event.
Garber also said:
• No decision has been reached to increase number of playoff teams to 12 next season, but he indicated that is likely.
• He is optimistic a new collective bargaining agreement can be reached without a work stoppage, but that players have been told MLS “isn’t performing financially the way we would like.”
• The league will expand to 24 teams before the end of the decade, but no decisions have been made beyond that. Cities included in the next wave of expansion could be determined within six months, with Minneapolis, Sacramento and Las Vegas among the front-runners.
• Miami will not be among the expansion cities until its stadium situation is settled.
• D.C. United, New England, New York City FC and the Los Angeles team that will replace Chivas USA all are making stadium progress.
• The league plans a farewell tribute to the retiring Donovan as part of the MLS SuperDraft in January.
• He is excited about the new TV deal that will take effect next season with broadcast partners ESPN, Fox and Univision.
Garber also cited Seattle right back DeAndre Yedlin as an example of the league’s homegrown talent and forward Clint Dempsey as a star player who returned from Europe while still in his prime because “he wanted to make MLS a league of choice.”