Major League Soccer announced on Tuesday its 2013 Best XI – the “top 11 players at each position on the field,” according to the press release – but there was one glaring omission.
The league’s top scorer, Vancouver Whitecaps striker Camilo Sanvezzo, somehow did not qualify, much to the dismay of local fans.
Sanvezzo led the league in goals with 22, and his six assists helped earn him the league’s Golden Boot. Yet, apparently, that aforementioned achievement did not merit a spot on the Best XI, which is voted upon by MLS players, club leaders and members of the media.
In addition to leading the league in goals, many fell under the category of magnificent. Twice this season he was named MLS Player of the Month and four times as MLS Player of the Week.
It is only the second time in the league’s history that a Golden Boot winner was not named to the Best XI, according to league records.
Some Whitecaps’ fans took to social media websites like Twitter to voice their displeasure with the league’s announcement.
The club wasn’t happy with the news, either.
“It is disappointing. He was the leading scorer in MLS, scored spectacular goals, so we’re disappointed as well that he’s not part of the Best XI, given the season that he’s had,” said Whitecaps president Bob Lenarduzzi in a phone interview with Metro.
“The three (voting) groups are pretty diverse groups. I think that by asking different segments of people that ideally you eliminate any bias. But in this case, it does feel like it’s harsh that he’s not in the Best XI.”
Sanvezzo, originally from Presidente Prudente, Brazil, recorded a hat trick in the final game of the season to capture the Golden Boot.
His 22 goals smashed his previous career-high of 12, back in his first MLS season in 2011.
The three strikers named to the Best XI were Marco Di Vaio of the Montreal Impact; Robbie Keane of the L.A. Galaxy; and Mike Magee of the Chicago Fire.
Magee finished second in goals with 21, Di Vaio finished third with 20 goals and Keane was fourth with 16 goals.
Keane was also credited with 11 assists – five more than Sanvezzo, who also did not qualify as a finalist for the league’s Most Valuable Player award.
Perhaps the MVP award was too far out of his grasp, given the Whitecaps didn’t make the playoffs.
Then again, neither did the Chicago Fire in the Eastern Conference, and Magee is one of the three finalists for MVP.
But it’s understandable for Vancouver’s crop of soccer supporters to feel like their player got snubbed in the Best XI selection.
“That’s good to hear that our fans are disappointed for him,” said Lenarduzzi.
NEW HEAD COACH COULD BE NAMED NEXT WEEK
The search for the Vancouver Whitecaps’ next head coach appears to be coming to an end.
“It’s overdue, but circumstances that aren’t necessarily in our control are resulting in us not announcing as quickly as we’d like,” said Lenarduzzi.
“Hopefully by next week we’re in a position to do so.”
Real Salt Lake coach Jason Kreis and former U.S. and Egyptian national team coach Bob Bradley are believed to be the frontrunners for the vacant job in Vancouver.
Real Salt Lake plays in the MLS Cup final on Saturday. Kreis’ contract with that club expires at the end of this season.
“People have speculated and probably there’s some good reason to speculate,” said Lenarduzzi, “but what I’d like to do is just maintain a consistency and really not comment on any of the candidates that we’ve spoken to.”