Ousted picked up his first All-Star nod and served as the defiant last line of the Whitecaps defense. The biggest step forward for the Danish goalkeeper in 2015: his consistency from match-to-match. His reliability established a firm foundation for the best defensive side in the league.
Ciman emerged as the best individual defender in MLS shortly after his arrival. The Belgium defender combined astute positioning with robust tackling to pull together the tumultuous Impact back four by himself for long stretches this season. He played a particularly important role in the Imapct’s run to the CONCACAF Champions League, though his penchant for picking up red cards hurt his team in the latter stages of the campaign.
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Defender: Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps)
In his first full season in Vancouver, Waston showed why the Whitecaps chased him so ardently. The Costa Rican center back is an imposing figure who allies aerial prowess with the necessary mobility to track opposing defenders. He served as the leader in the Whitecaps’ impeccably organized defense.
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Defender: Tyrone Mears (Seattle Sounders)
There were no fullbacks in the league-issued Best XI, but this selection usually includes one. Mears edged out New York Red Bulls defender Kemar Lawrence (a standout for both club and country this year, but he played just 23 league matches) for the sole berth in this team. Ex-Bolton and Marseille defender Mears marched through an assured debut season by joining the attack at the right times without abdicating his defensive responsibilities. He even added a rasping winner against D.C. United to offer a punctuation mark.
Midfielder: Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew SC)
Finlay announced his arrival a year ago, but he solidified his place among the top MLS midfielders with his performances in 2015. Crew SC relied on his delivery from the wide areas and his willingness to slice inside to pull teams apart in 2015. His proficiency in both departments led to a career year (12 goals, 13 assists) and a prominent role in Crew SC’s berth in MLS Cup.
Midfielder: Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls)
The entire resurgence at the club started with the midfield trio of Kljestan, Felipe Martins and Dax McCarty. Their tidy work in the center of the park established an effective hub of operations for a side designed to push high and put the opposition under immediate. McCarty and Kljestan both staked claims for a spot in the Best XI, but Kljestan received the nod here for his ability to pick apart the opposition (14 assists, fourth in MLS) without jeopardizing the team shape.
Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY SportsVincent Carchietta
Consider this season as the confirmation of Feilhaber’s renaissance in Kansas City. The creative midfielder toiled earnestly off the ball and thrived when he found it. His production (10 goals, 15 assists) reflected his influence on matches and underscored his status as one of the league’s top midfielders. It also earned him a nod as one of the three finalists for the MLS MVP award.
Midfielder: Fabian Castillo (FC Dallas)
This season represented the latest step in Castillo’s continued progression. Castillo posed a reliable threat on the break and rounded off the play consistently (9 goals, 9 assists). His performances earned him full international recognition and prompted considerable speculation about a potential move to Europe or Mexico.
Forward: Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)
Toronto FC tempted Giovinco to swap Juventus for MLS during the close season. It proved a wildly successful decision for both parties: TFC made the playoffs for the first time, while Giovinco shined with a vastly increased role in a team. Giovinco produced perhaps the finest regular season in MLS history (22 goals, 16 assists) and snatched his first MLS MVP award at the end of the campaign.
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Forward: Kei Kamara (Columbus Crew SC)
Columbus spent the past several season searching for a reliable number nine to lead the line. Crew SC finally found one by signing Kamara in time for this season and trusting his reliable target play to produce goals. The former Sporting Kansas City striker feasted on a steady supply of crosses to score 22 goals (tied for tops in MLS) and spur Crew SC to MLS Cup.
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Forward: Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)
Keane submitted perhaps the most quietly effective season during his four-and-a-half-year spell. All of the scrutiny surrounding midseason arrivals Giovani dos Santos and Steven Gerrard obscured his 20-goal haul (his best total in MLS) and his reliability in a team filled with upheaval. Those exploits did not prove enough to retain his MLS MVP trophy from a year ago, but they did secure his place in this Best XI.