Landon Donovan and Robbie Keane have been named to the MLS 2012 Best XI it was announced during Don Garber's State of the League conference call. This is Donovan's fifth straight Best XI and sixth overall, trying Dwayne DeRosario for the most of any player in MLS history. This is Keane's first selection.
The full MLS Best XI is as follows:
Goalkeeper – Jimmy Nielsen (Sporting Kansas City); Defender – Victor Bernardez (San Jose Earthquakes); Defender – Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City); Defender – Aurelien Collin (Sporting Kansas City); Midfielder – Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders FC); Midfielder – Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy); Midfielder – Chris Pontius (D.C. United); Midfielder – Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City); Forward – Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls); Forward – Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy); Forward – Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Donovan led the league in game winning assists this year with five, and was second in the league with fourteen assists to go with nine goals. Robbie Keane won the Galaxy's Golden Boot with sixteen goals to go with nine assists.
Also in his conference call Don Garber mused on David Beckham's time with MLS. The league has added seven teams and ten stadiums since Beckham's arrival, and in Garber's words: "We needed Beckham in 2007....we don't need anything today." Garber also told reporters that Beckham's option to invest in MLS includes anyplace except the New York area.
Attendance is up 25% since 2005, and Garber called 2012 MLS' most successful year. The commissioner hinted at an innovative First Kick for 2013 which aims to create added exposure for the league. He also revealed that MLS catalogs every game in Central and South America and makes that data available to clubs. Explain how MLS has been able to scout that region so well.
In talking about the low seeds moving on to MLS Cup, Garber said he didn't think it was a fluke. He also noted that this is the sixth MLS Cup for Bruce Arena (three with Galaxy, three with DC) and fourth for Dom Kinnear (all with Houston).
Don Garber said that there have been talks about allowing teams to tap into revenue to retain players, but no changes in the short term. This makes it difficult for teams to retain talent like Omar Gonzalez from going overseas.
The commissioner confirmed that he has plans to talk to Landon Donovan about his future. The Galaxy star has another year left on his MLS contract, but has vocalized throughout the year feeling weary of it all. Garber said he sympathized with Donovan's soul searching about his future. He said the Donovan has had to play the game by day, promote it at night his whole career. Which is a very similar situation to how David Beckham has spent his thirties.