MLS announces 2007 Best XI

Dwayne DeRosario was named to the MLS Best XI for 2007.

Major League Soccer's year-end awards concluded tonight at the annual MLS Gala Awards dinner as the League announced that Honda MVP and Budweiser Golden Boot winner Luciano Emilio won the inaugural MLS Newcomer of the Year award and was named to the Best XI along with seven other first-time Best XI winners and five past Best XI recipients. Also announced was the annual Commissioner's Award, which went to Cobi Jones.

The Newcomer of the Year recognizes a first-year player with previous professional experience that is not eligible for Rookie of the Year honors. The Best XI is an annual award recognizing the best 11 players at each individual position on the field. The MLS Commissioner's Award is presented annually to the group or individual that has made a difference and contributed significantly to the League and the sport in America

Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber presented the Commissioner's Award to Jones, who retired following the 2007 season. Jones is the only player in League history to spend his entire 12-year MLS career with one team, the Los Angeles Galaxy. For his career, Jones played in 306 League games, the third-most in MLS history. He scored 70 goals and added 91 assists.

"While his impact on the field is legendary, it is what Cobi represents as an ambassador for the sport and his commitment to being a role model and citizen athlete that truly sets him apart," Garber said.

Emilio, who joined D.C. United from CD Olimpia of Honduras earned MLS Newcomer of the year after making an immediate impact for United leading the team to its second consecutive Supporters' Shield title with a 16-7-7 regular season finish. The 2007 Honda MVP and Budweiser Golden Boot award winner is the first MLS player to reach the 20 goal mark in one season since 2002 when current FC Dallas forward Carlos Ruiz scored 24 goals for Los Angeles and Taylor Twellman scored 23 for the New England Revolution.

The Brazilian forward also notched four game-winning goals this season, which tied for third most in the League and his five multi-goal games tied Juan Pablo Angel for the league lead. Emilio claimed MLS Player of the Week recognition in Week 11 and Week 18, and earned Player of the Month honors in September. He has played professionally in Brazil, Germany, Honduras, Mexico and the United States.

Displaying the ever increasing quality of talent coming into the League, the 2007 MLS Best XI includes eight first-time recipients. The Best XI defense is an All-American group, with Panasonic Goalkeeper of the Year Brad Guzan (Chivas USA) in net and Visa Defender of the Year Michael Parkhurst (New England Revolution), Eddie Robinson (Houston Dynamo) and Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA) as defenders.

The midfield is made up of four international players and one American: Argentinean attacking midfielders Christian Gomez (D.C. United) and Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Columbus Crew), Grenadian defensive midfielder Shalrie Joseph (New England Revolution), Canadian attacking midfielder Dwayne De Rosario (Houston Dynamo) and versatile American midfielder Ben Olsen (D.C. United) make up the rest of the team.

The two forwards are Emilio and Juan Pablo Angel (New York Red Bulls). Angel is another first-year MLS player and a Honda MVP finalist.

Supporters' Shield winners D.C. United led the way with three members of the Best XI, followed by Chivas USA, Houston Dynamo and the New England Revolution each with two and the Columbus Crew and New York Red Bulls with one each.

The Newcomer of the Year and Best XI MVP was determined by equal voting from the media, MLS players and MLS coaches and general managers.

The MLS Best XI:

GOALKEEPER (1): Brad Guzan* (Chivas USA)
DEFENDERS (3): Michael Parkhurst* (New England Revolution), Eddie Robinson(Houston Dynamo), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Christian Gomez (D.C. United), Shalrie Joseph (New England Revolution), Dwayne De Rosario (Houston Dynamo), Ben Olsen* (D.C. United) Guillermo Barros Schelotto* (Columbus Crew)
FORWARDS (2): Luciano Emilio* (D.C. United), Juan Pablo Angel *(New York Red Bulls)

* First time Best XI recipient

The following are select highlights of the MLS Best XI:

• MLS BEST XI DEBUTANTS: Eight of the 11 players are first-time selections: Guzan, Parkhurst, Robinson, Bornstein, Olsen, Schelotto, Emilio and Angel

• MLS BEST XI VETERANS: Joseph (2005), De Rosario (2005, 2006), Gomez (2005, 2006)

• INTERNATIONALS: Six countries are represented in the MLS Best XI squad: USA (Guzan, Parkhurst, Robinson, Bornstein, Olsen), Canada (De Rosario), Argentina (Gomez and Schelotto), Grenada (Joseph), Brazil (Emilio) and Colombia (Angel)

2007 MLS Best XI:
DOB - Sept. 9, 1984
Citizenship - United States

Guzan, 23, in only his third year as a professional, was awarded the League's top honor for goalkeepers after leading his club to the best record in the Western Conference (15-7-8), ranking first among goalkeepers in shutouts (13), tied for second in wins (14) and second in goals against average (0.93). Guzan's 13 shutouts rank as the second most all-time behind Tony Meola's 16 in 2000. His goals-against average was the fourth best of all-time in MLS.

DOB - Jan. 24, 1984
Citizenship - United States

Parkhurst, 23, a native of Cranston, R.I., had an exception regular season in only his third as a professional. The 2007 winner of the MLS Fair Play award appeared as a First XI selection to the 2007 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star team and he played in and started 25 games at central defender for the Revolution, who finished in second place in the Eastern Conference with a 14-8-8 record.

DOB - June 19, 1978
Citizenship - United States

Robinson, a mainstay in the Houston defense, enjoyed a stellar 2007 season tying his career high in goals (2) to match his two assists on the year. The Greensboro, N.C. native led a backline that allowed opponents to just 23 goals in 20 games, the single-best defensive season in MLS history.

DOB - Nov. 7, 1984
Citizenship - United States

Bornstein, a year removed from being named Gatorade MLS Rookie of the Year, had another successful MLS campaign in 2007. Starting and playing all 90 minutes of his 23 games with Chivas USA this season, Bornstein was a stalwart in the Chivas USA backline. Also finding a way to get into the attack for his team, Bornstein scored one goal and recorded one assist in 2007. Bornstein was also a fixture in the United States Men's National Team during the MLS Regular Season, starting in all but one match of the team's 2007 Gold Cup winning campaign, and starting in two of the three matches played in the 2007 Copa America.

DOB - Nov. 7, 1974
Citizenship - Argentina

Gomez, the winner of the 2006 Honda Most Valuable Player, excelled in his third full season D.C. United. His ten goals in 2007 mark the third consecutive season he has hit for double-digits. His 39 career MLS goals have landed him third among United's all-time club leader in the category. A member of the 2007 MLS All-Star team, he trailed only Emilio for the team lead in goals, while he led the team and ranked fifth in the league with nine assists this season.

DOB - May 15, 1978
Citizenship - Canada

De Rosario, in his seventh MLS season, makes his third consecutive return to the MLS Best XI lineup after seeing action in 24 games this campaign. An aggressive asset for the Dynamo, De Rosario's six goals this season tallied his career total to 44. The 2007 MLS All-Star was an integral part of Houston turning their rocky start around to lead the team to just one point short of the Western Conference regular season crown. De Rosario has made 44 appearances for his country lining up for Canadian national team.

DOB - May 3, 1977
Citizenship - United States

Olsen recorded his 200th appearance in the final game of the 2007 regular season and ranks second on United's all-time list, also becoming the 16th player in league history to hit the double century plateau. His seven goals and seven assists on the campaign tallied his career total to 28 and 48 respectively. Olsen earned Player of the Week honors in Week 10 after scoring his first career hat trick in a game on June against New York and again earned the honor in Week 22 this season.

DOB - May 4, 1973
Citizenship - Argentina

Guillermo Barros Schelotto joined the Columbus Crew in 2007 from storied Argentine club Boca Juniors, and his impact was immediately apparent. Playing in 22 of his team's matches, Schelotto led the Crew with 11 assists, providing pinpoint passing and offensive leadership from his attacking midfield position. Schelotto also tallied five goals for Columbus, three of which were game-winning goals, another team-leading statistic. He was twice named MLS Player of the Week, and also earned MLS Player of the Month for July, keeping Columbus in the playoff race until the final few weeks of the MLS Regular Season.

DOB - Dec. 12, 1978
Citizenship - Brazil

Emilio joined D.C. United in 2007 from CD Olimpia of Honduras and his impact was immediate leading United to a 16-7-7 record and their second consecutive Supporters' Shield title. The Brazilian is the first MLS player to reach the 20 goal mark in one season since 2002 and four of his goals were game winners, which tied for third most in the League. The forward tied Juan Pablo Angel for the most multi-goal games this season with five apiece. Emilio claimed MLS Player of the Week honors in Week 11 and Week 18, and was named September's Player of the Month. He has played professionally in Brazil, Germany, Honduras, Mexico and the United States.

DOB - Oct. 24, 1975
Citizenship - Colombia

Angel joined MLS from Aston Villa of the English Premiere League and helped turn New York into an immediate playoff contender. Ranked second in the league with 19 goals this season, his five multi goal games shared the league lead with Emilio. He was voted to the 2007 MLS All-Star team and was awarded MVP honors in the 2-0 victory over Celtic FC. Angel earned Player of the Week accolades in Week 7 and 9 and his fine play was rewarded with Player of the Month honors in May and June.

The MLS Best XI team was determined by voting from the MLS players, MLS coaches and general managers, and media.