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ProSoccerTalk’s MLS Best XI, 2013 season launch edition

MLS Sounders Galaxy Soccer

Los Angeles Galaxy’s Robbie Keane celebrates his goal against the Seattle Sounders during the first half of an MLS Western Conference finals soccer game in Carson, Calif., Sunday, Nov. 11, 2012. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

AP/Press Association Images

As part of our ongoing package previewing start of Major League Soccer’s 18th season, here are the best and brightest MLS men at their positions as we head into Saturday’s first kick.

Goalkeeper:

GK = Sporting Kansas City’s Jimmy Nielsen

Why we like him: The best MLS blend of talent and experience, although Seattle’s Michael Gspurning or Real Salt Lake’s Nick Rimando could easily fill this spot. And who knows … the LA Galaxy’s Carlo Cudicini, just in from his days at Tottenham, could be the wild card here.

Back line:

RB = Vancouver’s Lee Young-Pyo

CB = LA Galaxy’s Omar Gonzalez

CB = San Jose’s Victor Bernardez

LB = New York Red Bulls’ Heath Pearce

Why we like them: Who dares come through the middle against these two big ol’ hosses? Bernardez and Gonzalez would be the baddest, most bang-‘em up central combo around these parts since Alexi Lalas and Marcelo Balboa were knockin’ heads on the 1994 U.S. World Cup side. (And our MLS pair would come equipped with greater skill, too.) As for Pearce at left back, I’ll repeat what I said yesterday in our all-Yank version of this team: Yes, he has been and may still line up centrally. But Pearce has 35 full U.S. national team appearances … all at left back. That’s his best spot.

Midfield:

Defensive MF = Seattle’s Osvaldo Alonso

RMF = Houston Dynamo’s Oscar Boniek Garcia

LMF = D.C. United’s Dwayne De Rosario

Attacking MF = Columbus Crew’s Federico Higuain

Why we like them: Yes, I cheated a little. De Rosario will play centrally this year for D.C. United, somewhere, either as a second forward or as an attacking midfielder. But he has played along the left before in MLS. So there. This arrangement serves to get the best players “on the field.”

Look at it for a second … picture it on the field … and don’t be embarrassed if you drool just a little.

Front line:

FW = New York Red Bulls’ Thierry Henry

FW = LA Galaxy’s Robbie Keane (pictured)

Why we like them: There are a lot of years (not to mention a lot of decoration … a FIFA World Cup crown, Champions League medals, too many World Cup qualifiers to remember, etc.) with these two. Let’s go with, “Old enough to know … but still young enough to do.” Because these two were absolutely getting the business done at the end of last year, especially so with Keane and the Galaxy.