Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso (center) was an MLS Best XI selection for the first time in his career. / Drew Sellers, Sportspress Northwest
Major League Soccer announced Monday its 2012 Best XI, a squad that includes Seattle Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso. The MLS Best XI recognizes the league's top 11 players -- one goalkeeper, three defenders, four midfielders and three forwards. Alonso is a Best XI selection for the first time, and was the only Sounders player selected.
Four players from Sporting Kansas City and two each from the San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles Galaxy were selected.
Alonso, 27, is the third Sounders player named to a Best XI team, joining midfielder Freddie Ljungberg in 2009 and goalkeeper Kasey Keller in 2011.
Alonso was one of the league's top defensive midfielders this past season, helping anchor a defense that allowed the second-fewest goals in MLS (33), the second-fewest shots on goal (122) and recorded the third-most shutouts (12). With 2,688 minutes played, Alonso led all Seattle field players for the second consecutive season. He also scored one goal and two assists in league play, and added four goals and three assists in outside competitions.
"I'm feeling so good," said Alonso. "I think I did a good job this year playing for my team, being an All-Star and now Best XI, so I'm feeling happy and I enjoy this moment."
Alonso was named to the MLS All-Star team, his second straight selection. He was also named to the MLS Team of the Week a team-high four times, and earned U.S. Open Cup Player of the Tournament honors.
Best XI members were selected through votes from the media, MLS players and MLS coaches and general managers. 2012 MLS BEST XIGOALKEEPER (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 (3): Thierry Henry, New York Red Bulls; Robbie Keane, L.A. Galaxy; Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthquakes.