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Montreal Impact attacking midfielder Ignacio Piatti named to MLS Best XI

Montreal Impact attacking midfielder Ignacio Piatti, who scored 16 goals and added a career high 13 assists this season, has been voted to the MLS Best XI.

Montreal Impact attacking midfielder Ignacio Piatti, who scored 16 goals and added a career high 13 assists this season, has been voted to the MLS Best XI.

Piatti joins a star-studded squad that also includes Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney and record goal-scorer Josef Martinez.

The 11 players, chosen by media, MLS players and technical staff, come from eight different countries and eight different MLS clubs. Atlanta, D.C. United and the New York Red Bulls each have two players selected.

It's the second Best XI selection for Piatti, the only player chosen from a Canadian team. He was also honoured in 2016. Piatti collected 17 goals and six assists  in each of the 2016 and 2017 seasons.

The 33-year-old from Argentina has 63 goals and 34 assists in 124 regular-season games over five seasons with Montreal.

Columbus' Zack Steffen, named the 2018 MLS Goalkeeper of the Year earlier this week, went 525 minutes without allowing a goal this season. The 23-year-old had a 1.28 goals-against average with 10 shutouts despite missing five games.

The Best XI backline features Kemar Lawrence and Aaron Long of the New York Red Bulls and Seattle Sounders veteran Chad Marshall.

Long, named MLS Defender of the Year, and Lawrence helped New York to the best regular-season in MLS history with a league-record 71 points, erasing Toronto's record of 69 points. Marshall makes his fourth Best XI appearance after helping Seattle tie an MLS record with its 10th consecutive playoff appearance.

All five finalists for the Landon Donovan MVP Award make the Best XI: Rooney (D.C. United), Miguel Almiron and Martinez (Atlanta United), Ibrahimovic (Los Angeles Galaxy) and Carlos Vela (Los Angeles FC). 

Martínez erased the MLS single-season scoring record with 31 goals, winning the Golden Boot and helping Atlanta United to a second-place finish in the Eastern Conference. The Venezuelan's 37 combined goals and assists are the second most in league history.

Ibrahimovic scored 22 goals and 10 assists, becoming only the third player in league history to record a 20-goal, 10-assist season. The Swede's 32 combined goals and assists this season tie for the sixth highest total in league history.

Arriving in MLS in mid-season, Rooney notched 12 goals and seven assists in 20 games while helping D.C. United into the playoffs. D.C. United was 12-4-4 in matches featuring the former England captain.

In his debut MLS season, Mexico's Vela had 14 goals and 13 assists. Almiron, a Paraguay international, had an MLS career-high 12 goals to go along with 14 assists.



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 Almiron, Atlanta United; Ignacio Piatti, Montreal Impact; Carlos Vela, Los Angeles FC.

Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimovic (L.A. Galaxy); Josef Martínez, Atlanta United; Wayne Rooney, D.C. United.


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Neil Davidson, The Canadian Press