For the first time since 2010, no Sounders were named to the MLS Best XI, an award that honors the top 11 players in the league.
Seattle previously had representation in Osvaldo Alonso (2012), Kasey Keller (2011) and Freddie Ljungberg (2009).
The Sounders’ main rival, Portland, led the Best XI with three honorees: goalkeeper Donovan Ricketts and midfielders Will Johnson and Diego Valeri.
The rest of the team consisted of defenders Jose Goncalves (New England), Omar Gonzalez (L.A. Galaxy) and Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City); midfielders Tim Cahill (New York) and Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City); and forwards Mike Magee (Chicago), Marco Di Vaio (Montreal) and Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy).
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Notable omissions were Vancouver’s Camilo, who led the league with 22 goals, and anyone from MLS Cup finalist Real Salt Lake, particularly goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
Expansion to Miami, Atlanta?
MLS commissioner Don Garber indicated Miami and Atlanta are the two top markets in line for an expansion franchise in Tuesday’s State of the League address. Garber plans to have 24 teams by 2020, with New York City FC and Orlando City FC already set to expand the league to 21 in 2015. Other possibilities include Minneapolis, San Antonio and St. Louis.
Garber also noted MLS intends to have more transparency when it comes to complicated league rules, an issue in multiple instances this season, particularly with Seattle’s acquisition of Clint Dempsey. Garber added lagging television ratings could be boosted by a consistent programming schedule, like a regular Game of the Week, which will happen in 2014 with Friday night games on the NBC Sports Network starting in late June.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org