Atlanta United midfielder Miguel Almirón and striker Josef Martinez today were named to Major League Soccer’s 2018 MLS Best XI, recognizing the league’s top players at each position as determined by media, MLS players and MLS technical staffs. Both players received repeat selections after being named to the 2017 Best XI. Atlanta is one of three teams with multiple players earning a place in the 11.
Almirón and Martinez join Chad Marshall (4) and Ignacio Piatti (2) as the only players with multiple selections, with the other seven receiving first-time selections. The players named to the Best XI hail from eight different countries and represent some of the league’s most exciting and accomplished talent comprised of international stars, breakout players and top newcomers to the league. Eight different MLS clubs are represented by this year’s Best XI squad.
2018 MLS Best XI
Goalkeeper: Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC)
Defenders: Kemar Lawrence (New York Red Bulls), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC)
Midfielders: Luciano Acosta (D.C. United), Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact), Carlos Vela (Los Angeles Football Club)
Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy), Josef Martínez (Atlanta United), Wayne Rooney (D.C. United)
Almirón scored 12 goals and recorded a team-high 14 assists as the playmaker on the league’s highest scoring attack with 70 goals, one of only four players in 2018 to total at least 12 goals and 12 assists. The 24-year-old Paraguayan is an MVP finalist for the second consecutive season and was named 2017’s Newcomer of the Year. Since his arrival in 2017, no player has recorded more than Almirón’s 28 assists.
Martinez shattered the MLS single-season scoring record with 31 goals this year, winning the MLS Golden Boot by nine goals over Zlatan Ibrahimović. The 25-year-old Venezuelan scored a league-high 10 game-winning goals (No. 2 all time), equaled the MLS record of nine consecutive matches with a goal and recorded his MLS record sixth career hat trick. He has scored a league-high 50 goals over his first two seasons and averaged .912 goals per game in 2018.
Atlanta United returns to action Sunday, Nov. 11 when it hosts the second leg of the Eastern Conference Semi-finals vs New York City FC at Mercedes-Benz Stadium at 5:30 p.m. on ESPN. Atlanta leads 1-0 on aggregate after winning in Yankee Stadium last Sunday.