Major League Soccer today announced the 2020 MLS Best XI presented by The Home Depot, an annual list recognizing the league’s top players at each position as determined by media, MLS players and MLS club technical staff. This year’s squad includes three Sounders FC players – midfielder Nicolás Lodeiro, winger Jordan Morris and forward Raúl Ruidíaz. The three selections mark a franchise record for Sounders FC, and is tied with 2020 Supporters’ Shield winner Philadelphia Union for the most players in this season’s Best XI. The Rave Green finished the 2020 regular season with 39 points (11-5-6), earning the second seed in the Western Conference 1.77 points per game. Brian Schmetzer’s also side ranked second in MLS with a plus-21 goal differential and tied for third with 44 goals scored.
MIDFIELDER NICOLÁS LODEIRO
Sounders FC’s captain finished tied for the league lead with 10 assists to go along with seven goals in 2020. After missing the club’s opening two regular-season contests in March, Lodeiro started all 20 of his appearances and was on the field for all but 18 minutes of Seattle’s season following the league’s restart in July. The Uruguayan international tallied six game-winning assists in 2020 – two more than anyone else in MLS – while finishing third in fouls suffered (54) and second in corner kicks (93). Lodeiro’s has 33 goals 58 assists in regular season play since joining Sounders FC in the summer of 2016, the latter of which is both a franchise record and the most in MLS during that span. Lodeiro is one of five finalists for 2020 Landon Donovan MLS MVP.
FORWARD JORDAN MORRIS
Morris appeared in all 22 of Sounders FC’s regular-season matches in 2020, with his 10 goals tied for fifth in MLS and his eight assists tied for fourth. His 18 combined goals and assists are tied for second in MLS with MLS Golden Boot winner Diego Rossi, behind only Alejandro Pozuelo’s 19. This marked the Mercer Island native’s second consecutive season with double-digit goals, after tallying 10 strikes and seven assists a year ago, earning 2019 Sounders FC Team MVP honors. Since signing with Sounders FC prior to the 2016 season, Morris has totaled 35 goals and 20 assists. Morris is also one of five finalists for 2020 Landon Donovan MLS MVP.
FORWARD RAÚL RUIDÍAZ
Leading the Rave Green in goals for the third consecutive season, Ruidíaz finished tied for second in MLS with career-high 12 goals in just 17 appearances, while also recording a career-high four assists. The Peruvian’s four game-winning goals were also tied for second league-wide this season, while his 0.76 goals per 90 minutes was the highest rate in MLS among players with at least 10 goals. Ruidíaz has scored a staggering 33 goals in just 53 regular-season appearances since joining Seattle in the summer of 2018, in addition to seven goals in six postseason fixtures.
The only previous season in which Sounders FC saw multiple players on MLS Best XI was in 2014 when Chad Marshall and Obafemi Martins made the squad. Other previous Sounders to earn the honor were Freddie Ljungberg in 2009, Kasey Keller in 2011, Osvaldo Alonso in 2012 and Marshall again in 2018.
The 11 players named to the 2020 Best XI hail from seven different countries, while seven different MLS clubs are represented by this year’s Best XI squad, all of which qualified for the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs. For the first time in MLS history, three Homegrown Players (Morris, Brenden Aaronson and Mark McKenzie) have also been selected to the Best XI. Eight of the players named, including all three from Seattle, are first-time selections.
Having claimed the Western Conference’s second seed following the recent Decision Day results, Sounders FC is set to face seventh seed LAFC in Round One of the Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs. The Rave Green host LAFC at Lumen Field on Tuesday, November 24 (7:30 p.m. PT / ESPN, ESPN Deportes, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM) in the final match of opening round postseason action.
2020 MLS BEST XI
GOALKEEPER: Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)
DEFENDERS: Mark McKenzie (Philadelphia Union), Jonathan Mensah (Columbus Crew SC), Walker Zimmerman (Los Angeles Football Club)
MIDFIELDERS: Brenden Aaronson (Philadelphia Union), Diego Chará (Portland Timbers), Nicolás Lodeiro (Seattle Sounders FC), Alejandro Pozuelo (Toronto FC)
FORWARDS:Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Diego Rossi (Los Angeles Football Club), Raúl Ruidíaz (Seattle Sounders FC)
SOUNDERS FC ALL-TIME MLS BEST XI SELECTIONS 2009: Freddie Ljungberg2011: Kasey Keller2012: Osvaldo Alonso2014: Chad Marshall, Obafemi Martins2018: Chad Marshall2020: Nicolás Lodeiro, Jordan Morris, Raúl Ruidíaz