MLS is Back Tournament - Best XI - primary image

Breakout young stars, international icons named to MLS is Back Tournament Best XI presented by BODYARMOR

Breakout young stars, international icons named to MLS is Back Tournament Best XI presented by BODYARMOR
 
Four MLS clubs and eight countries represented in Best XI
 
NEW YORK (Thursday, August 13, 2020) – Major League Soccer today revealed the MLS is Back Tournament Best XI presented by BODYARMOR, recognizing the top players at each position during the historic competition. The 11 players named to the MLS is Back Tournament Best XI hail from eight different countries and represent some of the league’s most exciting and accomplished talents comprised of international icons and breakout young stars. Four different MLS clubs are represented on the Best XI with the champion Portland Timbers having four players, runners-up Orlando City SC and semifinalists Philadelphia Union each with three players, and the Los Angeles Football Club with one player.
 
MLS is Back Tournament Best XI presented by BODYARMOR
Goalkeeper: Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)
Defenders:  Larrys Mabiala (Portland Timbers), Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union), João Moutinho (Orlando City SC), Ruan (Orlando City SC)
Midfielders: Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union), Sebastián Blanco (Portland Timbers), Diego Chara (Portland Timbers)
Forwards: Jeremy Ebobisse (Portland Timbers), Nani (Orlando City SC), Diego Rossi (Los Angeles Football Club)
  • Video highlights and graphics from Best XI players can be found HERE
  • Soundbytes from select Best XI players can be found in each club’s respective team folders HERE
Sebastián Blanco, the MLS is Back Player of the Tournament presented by adidas, headlines a midfield trio in the Best XI after helping the Timbers to the tournament title. The Argentine registered five assists, tied for the most in the tournament, while his three goals were tied for sixth. Fellow Timber Diego Chara also makes the Best XI after anchoring Portland’s midfield, playing a full 90 minutes in each of the club’s seven matches. Rounding out the midfield is 19-year-old Philadelphia academy product and U.S. Men’s National Team breakout star Brenden Aaronson, who registered a team-high three assists, tied for seventh-most in the tournament.
 
International soccer icon Nani is among the three forwards in the Best XI after guiding Orlando to the MLS is Back Tournament Final presented by Wells Fargo behind four assists (tied for third-most) and three goals (tied for sixth-most) in tournament play. Joining the Best XI forwards is LAFC’s 22-year-old Diego Rossi, who captured the Golden Boot presented by Audi with seven goals scored and was named Young Player of the Tournament presented by AT&T 5G after leading all players with a combined 10 goals and assists. Timbers and U.S. Men’s National Team 23-year-old Jeremy Ebobisse rounds out the Best XI forwards after scoring four goals, tied for third most in the tournament.
 
Manning the Best XI defense is 21-year-old Philadelphia academy product and U.S. Men’s National Team defender Mark McKenzie, who anchored a Union backline that posted two clean sheets and allowed a mere five goals in six matches played. Both of Orlando’s starting fullbacks in 22-year-old João Moutinho and 25-year-old Ruan also made the Best XI. A former No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, Moutinho emerged as a breakout defensive force in the tournament while contributing a crucial assist and tournament saving goal in the Knockout Stage. Ruan, meanwhile, played all but six minutes for a backline that allowed seven goals in as many matches. Larrys Mabiala rounds out the Best XI defense after helping Portland to the title, scoring the first goal in the MLS is Back Tournament Final while also registering a game-winning assist in the Knockout Stage.
 
Philadelphia Union's Andre Blake suits up between the posts on the Best XI. The Jamaica National Team captain led all goalkeepers with 32 saves and posted a tournament best 86.5 save percentage. Blake, a former No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft and the 2016 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year, was named winner of the MLS is Back Tournament Golden Glove presented by Allstate after leading the Union to the Semifinals.
 
The MLS is Back Tournament Best XI presented by BODYARMOR was determined by voting from media members who provide regular coverage of Major League Soccer. 
 
MLS is Back Tournament Best XI Bios:
 
Andre Blake | Goalkeeper | Philadelphia Union | Nationality: Jamaica | Born: November 21, 1990 (29 years old)
Blake garnered the MLS is Back Tournament Golden Glove presented by Allstate after leading all tournament goalkeepers with 32 saves and an 86.5 save percentage and helping the Union to an appearance in the Semifinals. The 29-year-old was named the MLS Goalkeeper of the Year in 2016, and on two other occasions has been a finalist for the end-of-season league honor in addition to being a two-time MLS All-Star. The captain of the Jamaica National Team, Blake was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2014 MLS SuperDraft out of the Univ. of Connecticut, the first goalkeeper ever to be taken with the first overall selection in the history of the event.
 
Larrys Mabiala | Defender | Portland Timbers | Nationality: France | Born: October 8, 1987 (32 years old)
Mabiala started and played a full 90 minutes in six of Portland’s seven matches in the MLS is Back Tournament. The defender assisted on the game-winning goal in the Timbers 2-1 victory over the Houston Dynamo on July 18 before scoring a goal in the club’s 2-1 win against Orlando City SC in the MLS is Back Tournament Final. Since joining the Timbers in the middle of the 2017 season, Mabiala has appeared in 70 regular season matches and helped the club to advance to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs in three straight seasons including an appearance in the MLS Cup Final in 2018. A native of France, Mabiala represented the Democratic Republic of Congo internationally and previously played in Ligue 1 with Paris Saint-Germain and Nice.
 
Mark McKenzie | Defender | Philadelphia Union | Nationality: USA | Born: February 25, 1999 (21 years old)
McKenzie played a full 90 minutes in each of Philadelphia’s six matches at the MLS is Back Tournament, leading a backline that posted two clean sheets and allowed a mere five goals in six matches played. A product of the Union Academy, McKenzie signed a Homegrown Player contract in 2018 and went on to become a finalist that season for MLS Rookie of the Year. McKenzie received his first cap for the U.S. Men’s National Team in February 2020 in a friendly against Costa Rica after previously captaining the U.S. at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup. 
 
João Moutinho | Defender | Orlando City SC | Nationality: Portugal | Born: January 12, 1998 (22 years old)
Moutinho played a full 90 minutes in each of Orlando’s seven matches at the MLS is Back Tournament, playing a tournament-best 630 minutes while anchoring a defense that allowed a mere seven goals across those contests. The 22-year-old provided an assist in a 3-1 victory over New York City FC on July 14 and scored the equalizing goal in the 90th minute in an eventual 1(5)-1(4) penalty kick shootout victory over his former club LAFC in the MLS is Back Tournament Quarterfinal. Moutinho is a product of the Sporting Lisbon Academy and played at Akron University for one season before becoming the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft by LAFC.
 
Ruan | Defender | Orlando City SC | Nationality: Brazil | Born: May 29, 1995 (25 years old)
Ruan played all but six minutes across Orlando’s seven matches, recording 624 minutes played on a backline that allowed seven goals across as many contests. The 25-year-old contributed an assist on the game-winning goal in Orlando’s 3-1 Group Stage victory over New York City FC on July 14. Ruan originally joined Orlando on loan from Brazilian side Clube Atletico de Barra da Tijuca and registered five assists across 25 appearances in 2019, leading the Lions to exercise a permanent transfer for the defender.
 
Brenden Aaronson | Midfielder | Philadelphia Union | Nationality: USA | Born: October 22, 2000 (19 years old)
Aaronson emerged as the main creator for Philadelphia at the MLS is Back Tournament, registering a team-high three assists, tied for seventh-most in the tournament. A product of the Union Academy, Aaronson signed a Homegrown Player contract ahead of the 2019 season, registering three goals and two assists across 28 appearances while being named a finalist for the MLS Rookie of the Year award. The 19-year-old received his first cap for the U.S. Men’s National Team in February 2020 in a friendly victory over Costa Rica.
 
Sebastián Blanco I Midfielder l Portland Timbers l Nationality: Argentina l Born: March 15, 1988 (32 years old)
Blanco was named MLS is Back Player of the Tournament presented by adidas after helping the Timbers to the tournament title. The Argentine registered five assists, tied for the most in the tournament, while his three goals were tied for sixth. Blanco joined the Timbers as a Designated Player prior to the 2017 season, helping the club to the Audi MLS Cup Playoffs in each of his three campaigns, including an appearance in the 2018 MLS Cup. Across his three-plus years with Portland, Blanco has totaled 25 goals and 33 assists in regular season play, reaching double-digits with 11 assists in each of the past two seasons.
 
Diego Chara l Midfielder l Portland Timbers l Nationality: Colombia l Born: April 5, 1986 (34 years old)
Chara manned the Timbers midfield, playing a full 90 minutes in each of the club’s seven matches and tying for the tournament lead with 630 minutes played. The defensive midfielder has logged over 23,000 minutes played since joining Portland in 2011, helping the club to MLS Cup appearances in 2015 and 2018, winning the former. Chara was named an MLS All-Star for the first time in 2019. A native of Colombia, Chara has played for the Colombia National Team and previously played for Colombian giant America de Cali.
 
Jeremy Ebobisse | Forward | Portland Timbers | Nationality: USA/France | Born: February 14, 1997 (23 years old)
Ebobisse scored four goals in the MLS is Back Tournament, tied for third most in the tournament. The 23-year-old’s three goals scored during the 2020 MLS regular season are tied for fifth-most on the season. Ebobisse experienced a breakout 2019 season with a team-high 11 goals and was the only Timber to appear in all 34 regular season matches. Selected as the No. 4 overall pick in the 2017 MLS SuperDraft, Ebobisse represents the United States Men’s National Team, receiving his first cap in January 2019.
 
Nani | Forward | Orlando City SC | Nationality: Portugal | Born: November 17, 1986 (33 years old)
Nani helped Orlando to an MLS is Back Tournament Final appearance behind four assists (tied for third-most) and three goals (tied for sixth-most) in tournament play. Nani’s seven combined goals and assists were third most in the tournament. In his first season with Orlando, Nani registered 12 goals and 10 assists, one of four players to register double digit goals and assists in the 2019 MLS regular season en route to an MLS All-Star appearance. Nani represents Portugal on the international stage, playing in the 2014 FIFA World Cup and winning UEFA Euro 2016.
 
Diego Rossi | Forward | Los Angeles Football Club | Nationality: Uruguay | Born: March 5, 1998 (22 years old)
Rossi captured the MLS is Back Tournament Golden Boot presented by Audi with seven goals, two more than any other player. The 22-year-old was also named the MLS is Back Young Player of the Tournament presented by AT&T 5G after leading all players with 10 combined goals and assists. The Uruguay international became the 13th player in MLS history to score four goals in a match in LAFC’s 6-2 victory over rival LA Galaxy on July 18. The five combined goals and assists in that match tied an MLS record and Rossi become the first player in league history to accomplish the feat twice. Rossi leads the 2020 MLS Golden Boot race with six goals this season, following a career-high 16 goals scored in 2019.

 

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