MLS Aces 2017 Season Recap, Awards, and Best XI

By MLSAces
Oct. 27, 2017

The 2017 MLS regular season has come to an end. I want to thank all the readers of this blog and listeners of our podcast as we finished our second full season of MLS coverage. This article will contain a quick recap of each conference, the MLS Aces award winners, and the MLS Aces Best XI for 2017.

The Eastern Conference was easily the more dominant conference this season... besides two teams. D.C. United and Orlando City SC were absolutely awful this season. D.C. United closed out RFK Stadium by having one of the worst season's in club history, signing Paul Ariolla, and losing long time goalkeeper, Bill Hamid, to Europe, GOOD GOING D.C.! Orlando City wasn't as bad but still looked like a steaming pile of purple lion shit. OCSC opened up a beautiful new stadium, had their supporter section going crazy, traded for Dom Dwyer, brought in some South American talent, bid farewell to soccer legend Kaka, and finished 10th in the East... GOOD GOING ORLANDO! Now let's look at the Eastern teams that were "right there" but couldn't quite make the playoffs. The Montreal Impact fell from glory after their amazing series with TFC last post season. Ignacio Piatti's slow start to the season really hurt them along with an aging midfield. However, the signings of Samuel Piette and Blerim Dzemaili are positive signs for this club moving into 2018. Next, we have the Philadelphia Union. The Union were carried all season long by the remarkable saves of Andre Blake. It seemed like every other player on this Union roster was hurt or inconsistent for most of the season. Now onto the Revs. I had the Revs very low to start the season and even though they were better than I thought, they still missed the playoffs. Oh the Red Bulls. Things looked bleak when the Red Bull's stars BWP and Sacha Kljestan couldn't get anything going to begin the season. NYRB almost missed the playoffs if it wasn't for Tyler Adams and Daniel Royer have great seasons. Tyler Adams is a star by the way. Next, we have the Columbus Crew who relied on young players to carry the load. Zach Steffen was miraculous all season long and Ola Kamara did his goal scoring thing. Also, Federico Higauin bounced back and had 14 assists to end the season. The new expansion club Atlanta United made some waves finishing four in the East and demonstrated their star power of Almiron, Asad, Martinez, and others. I'm excited to see what Tata has in store for 2018. Next... the Fire? The team that finished last in 2017 finished third! The Fire relied on a young backline, Dax McCarty, and oh yeah the Golden Boot Leader, Nemanja Nikolic to have this great season. The pieces are here for Chicago... just not yet. Next, NYCFC finished 2nd once again and strongly relied on David Villa to do so. I am worried for what happens to NYCFC once he decides to retire. Lastly, we have TFC who finished with 69 which is the best ever in MLS history. Take a bow Toronto take a bow.

The West was way more competitive this year and saw three teams fighting for one spot on Decision Day. But let's start at the bottom. Colorado, LA, and Minnesota. Let's be real here, it's no surprise that Colorado and Minnesota finished here, who do they have? But... THE GALAXY?!?!? What an awful year for LA and their fans. The lone bright spot for these teams were Dominique Badji (Colorado), Romain Alessandrini (LA), and Christian Ramirez (Minnesota). The next two teams just barely missed the playoffs and that is Real Salt Lake and FC Dallas. RSL made a head coaching change about half way through the season and had a complete turnaround. Watch out for RSL in 2018, that is all. But FC Dallas... my number 1 team heading into 2017 and they missed the playoffs. Internal struggles loomed around this club and the goal scoring production wasn't there. Major changes need to occur if FCD want to turn things around. Finishing 6th in the West was San Jose. A team with a -20 goal differential skidded into the playoffs and tried rely on a 500 year old Wondolowski to do it, that's not how you win. Finishing about them were Sporting Kansas City and the Houston Dynamo. SKC had the best defense in MLS in 2017 with Ike Opara and Matt Besler leading the way. However, they traded away Dom Dwyer and no other offensive threats could be found. It looks like they are relying on a youth movement for the answer at striker. Houston is already on their youth movement. Houston brought in Romell Quioto and Alberth Elis who played great in 2017. Cubo Torres found his old form and their backline thought it was 2007 again. The final three teams were Vancouver, Seattle, and Portland. Vancouver surprised some people as the resurgence of Fredy Montero lifted this team into a top team in MLS. Seattle had some rough play from Jordan Morris this year but the Deuce, Nico, and Will Bruin took over that offense. Finally, Portland was just Portland. The midfield of Valeri, Blanco, Nagbe, Chara, and Guzman dominated opponents and with Adi up top, wow what a year Portland.

Now that the recap is over it is time for the MLS Aces Awards!

-MLS Aces Coach of the Year: Greg Vanney, Toronto FC (20 wins, 5 losses, 9 ties and 69 points)

-MLS Aces Defender of the Year: Ike Opara, Sporting Kansas City (Lead the best defense in MLS, 30GP, 2700MIN, 3 Goals)

-MLS Aces Goalkeeper of the Year: Tim Melia, Sporting Kasas City (Keeper for the best defense in MLS, 31GP, 2700MIN, 10 Shutouts, 91 Saves, 24 Goals Allowed)

-MLS Aces Rookie of the Year: Julian Gressel, Atlanta United FC (32GP, 5 Goals, 9 Assists, 2,000MIN)

-MLS Aces Newcomer of the Year: Romain Alessandrini, Los Angeles Galaxy (30GP, 2400MIN, 13 Goals, 12 Assists)

-MLS Aces Comeback player of the Year: Clint "Mother Fucking" Dempsey, Seattle Sounders (29GP, 12 Goals, 5 assists, 2200 MIN)

-MLS Aces MVP: Diego Valeri, Portland Timbers (32GP, 21 Goals, 11 Assists, 2800MIN)

Now that the awards have been handed out let us look at the MLS Aces 2017 Best XI:

GK: Tim Melia, Sporting Kansas City

4x MLS Aces Team of the Week

1x MLS Aces Best XI

DEF: Ike Opara, Sporting Kansas City

6x MLS Aces Team of the Week

1x MLS Aces Best XI

DEF: Joevin Jones, Seattle Sounders

5x MLS Aces Team of the Week

1x MLS Aces Best XI

DEF: Leandro Gonzalez Pirez, Atlanta United FC

4x MLS Aces Team of the Week

1x MLS Aces Best XI

DEF: Brandon Vincent, Chicago Fire

5x MLS Aces Team of the Week

1x MLS Aces Best XI

MID: Diego Valeri, Portland Timbers

11x MLS Aces Team of the Week

1x MLS Aces Best XI

MID: Miguel Almiron, Atlanta United FC

7x MLS Aces Team of the Week

1x MLS Aces Best XI

MID: Romain Alessandrini, Los Angeles Galaxy

7x MLS Aces Team of the Week

1x MLS Aces Best XI

MID: Victor Vazquez, Toronto FC

5x MLS Aces Team of the Week

1x MLS Aces Best Xi

FOR: Nemanja Nikolic, Chicago Fire

9x MLS Aces Team of the Week

1x MLS Aces Best XI

FOR: David Villa, New York City FC

9x MLS Aces Team of the Week

2x MLS Aces Best XI

Congratulations to all the players listed above! It was a great regular season and I can't wait to see what the MLS Cup Playoffs, MLS Cup, and the off season has in store!

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