Major League Soccer has unveiled the 2023 MLS Best XI presented by Continental Tire, recognizing the league’s top players at each position.

The Best XI – determined by members of the media, MLS players and MLS club technical staffs – represents eight nations and seven clubs, all of which qualified for the Audi 2023 MLS Cup Playoffs. There are eight first-time selections.

Four clubs have two honorees: Atlanta United, Nashville SC, record-setting expansion side St. Louis CITY SC and Supporters' Shield winners FC Cincinnati.

  • F: Dénis Bouanga (LAFC), Giorgos Giakoumakis (ATL), Cucho Hernández (CLB)
  • M: Luciano Acosta (CIN), Thiago Almada (ATL), Héctor Herrera (HOU), Hany Mukhtar (NSH)
  • D: Matt Miazga (CIN), Tim Parker (STL), Walker Zimmerman (NSH)
  • GK: Roman Bürki (STL)

Bouanga secured the 2023 MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi via a late-season surge, finishing with 20 goals and seven assists in 31 matches during his first full LAFC season. As of writing, the Gabon international has 37 goals across all competitions in 2023 – one shy of the calendar-year league record (38) Black & Gold teammate Carlos Vela set in 2019.

Giorgos Giakoumakis
Forward (1st selection) · Atlanta United

Giakoumakis, the 2023 MLS Newcomer of the Year, provided 17 goals and three assists in 27 matches during his debut MLS season. The Greek international, signed from Scotland’s Celtic FC to replace outgoing club legend Josef Martínez, had the league’s best goals-per-90-minutes mark (0.85) with a minimum of 1,500 minutes played.

Forward (1st selection) · Columbus Crew

In his first full season with Columbus, Cucho contributed 16 goals and 11 assists with a league-leading 165 shots. The Colombian international and club-record signing produced the second-fastest hat trick from the start of an MLS match, scoring three goals in just 22 minutes and 51 seconds against Chicago Fire FC on Sept. 20.

Luciano Acosta
Midfielder (3rd selection) · FC Cincinnati

Acosta led MLS with 31 goal contributions (17g/14a) en route to capturing the Landon Donovan MLS MVP award and helping lift Cincinnati’s first-ever Supporters’ Shield. As captain of the Orange & Blue, the Argentine’s 43 regular-season assists since his 2021 arrival in the Queen City are the second-most in MLS during that time. No other MLS player has more goal contributions than Acosta’s 136 (58g/78a) since his MLS debut in 2016.

Thiago Almada
Midfielder (1st selection) · Atlanta United

Almada, the 2023 MLS Young Player of the Year, led the league and set a club record for single-season assists with 19. The Argentine World Cup winner recorded the second-most goal contributions (30) during the 2023 MLS campaign – and also led Atlanta United in shots (109) and key passes (77). 

Héctor Herrera
Midfielder (1st selection) · Houston Dynamo FC

The catalyst behind Houston's turnaround, Herrera contributed a single-season club-record 17 assists as Ben Olsen's group achieved 2024 Concacaf Champions Cup qualification after winning the US Open Cup. The Mexican international, in his first full season after arriving from Atlético Madrid, scored four goals across 30 regular-season games and guided the Dynamo to their first Audi MLS Cup Playoffs appearance since 2017.

Hany Mukhtar
Midfielder (3rd selection) · Nashville SC

Mukhtar, who's earned his third consecutive Best XI nod, became the eighth player in league history to score at least 15 goals in three consecutive seasons. The German star has produced 88 goal contributions (54g/34a) since the start of 2021, 11 more than the next closest player.  

Matt Miazga
Defender (1st selection) · FC Cincinnati

The 2023 MLS Defender of the Year, Miazga anchored FC Cincinnati’s backline as they allowed only 39 goals (1.05 goals per game). The Orange & Blue held their opponents scoreless in 10 of his starts, which is tied for the fourth-most clean sheets among outfield players in the league. A US international, this was Miazga's first full season back in MLS after signing two summers ago from Chelsea FC.

Tim Parker
Defender (1st selection) · St. Louis City SC

Parker helped anchor St. Louis' backline while leading the club to eight shutouts. The veteran center back tallied a career-best four goals, including the expansion club’s first-ever goal in their inaugural match. The first-time MLS All-Star helped guide St. Louis to a first-place finish in the Western Conference.

Walker Zimmerman
Defender (5th selection) · Nashville SC

Zimmerman remains the cornerstone of one of the league’s top defenses, which allowed just 32 goals during the regular season, tied for fewest in the league. The center back is the sixth player in MLS history to be named to the MLS Best XI five or more times and has the most selections among active players. A four-time MLS All-Star, the US international helped Nashville to their fourth consecutive postseason berth. 

Roman Bürki
Goalkeeper (1st selection) · St. Louis City SC

Bürki’s 17 wins were the most by any goalkeeper in their first MLS season during the post-shootout era. The inaugural captain of 2023 expansion club St. Louis, his 123 saves were the second-most in MLS and his save percentage (74.5%) was the fourth-highest among active MLS goalkeepers to play in at least 20 games. The former Borussia Dortmund star and Swiss international, recognized as the 2023 Allstate MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, produced eight clean sheets.