The quality of on-field play in Major League Soccer has improved leaps and bounds over the last decade, that is plan for all to see. Part of that comes down to the signings of expensive foreign talent — Thierry Henry and Robbie Keane, anyone? — as well as MLS teams turning very good college soccer playes into very good professional soccer players — Graham Zusi and Chris Wondolowski come to mind.
Whichever direction you point to explain the uptick in MLS' quality of on-field product, you can be sure of one thing: It's a diverse league. There's enough players in the league from every major soccer continent in the world — North and Central America, South America, Europe — the United States, and even a tiny little Ohio college, to field entire teams and realistically compete with one another.
So that's exactly what we did: We created those regional teams completely out of MLS players. A couple of them might even be able to hang with 2013 MLS All-Star Game opponent, AS Roma, but we'll let you decide which those are. Here's a look at some of MLS' Regional Best XIs.
Zach Loyd, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic
Landon Donovan, Dax McCarty, Kyle Beckerman, Graham Zusi
Jack McInerney, Chris Wondolowski
Elsewhere in CONCACAF XI
Roy Miller, Jermaine Taylor, Víctor Bernárdez, Rodney Wallace
Boniek García, Osvaldo Alonso, Will Johnson
Álvaro Saborío, Blas Pérez, Jairo Arrieta
South American XI
Jair Benítez, Gláuber, Jámison Olave, Michel
Diego Valeri, Juninho, Javier Morales, Jackson
Federico Higuaín, Claudio Bieler
Aurélien Collin, Alessandro Nesta, José Gonçalves, Hassoun Camara
Adam Moffat, Giles Barnes, Sébastien Le Toux
Thierry Henry, Marco Di Vaio, Robbie Keane
Akron Zips XI
DeAndre Yedlin, Perry Kitchen, Kofi Sarkodie
Sinisa Ubiparipovic, Will Trapp, Steve Zakuani, Darlington Nagbe, Ben Zemanski
Darren Mattocks, Ben Speas
Aurélien Collin, Djimi Traore, Jamison Olave, Hassoun Camara
Boniek García, Nigel Reo-Coker, Osvaldo Alonso
Marco Di Vaio, Conor Casey, Omar Cummings
What do you think? Which one of those squads could show best against AS Roma? Who would win if the groups tangled in a five-team group stage round robin tournament? Oh, and where did we mess up and leave guys off a team?