In conjunction with Major League Soccer, Columbus Crew SC today announced that forward Kei Kamara and midfielder Ethan Finlay have both been named to the League's 2015 MLS Best XI, a season-long recognition honoring the most outstanding performers in MLS over the 2015 campaign. The 2015 MLS Best XI recognizes the League’s top 11 players in a common soccer formation as nominated by MLS players, club management and media.
It is the first Best XI honor for both Finlay and Kamara, who combined for a Black & Gold all-time regular-season record 55 goals and assists this year. This is the first time that Crew SC has had a player named to the Best XI since 2009 and it is the fourth time in club history that the Black & Gold have had multiple players represented on the MLS Best XI roster.
SPORTING DIRECTOR AND HEAD COACH GREGG BERHALTER CONGRATULATES KAMARA, FINLAY ON BEST XI: http://bit.ly/BerhalterOnBestXI
An MLS All-Star and Crew SC's Barbasol Most Valuable Player in 2015, Kamara's 22 regular-season goals tied for the regular-season Major League Soccer lead this season. His season-long totals of 135 shots, 57 shots on goal and seven game-winning goals set new all-time single-season club records. Kamara is also a finalist for the Landon Donovan MLS MVP award (announced December 2) after previously becoming the first Crew SC player in club history to win the MLS WORKS Humanitarian of the Year award, presented by Advocare. Kamara was nominated for the Etihad Airways MLS Player of the Month award four times (April, May, August, September) and was named MLS Player of the Week three times (Weeks 12, 23, 28). Crew SC was 10-1-5 when Kamara scored a goal in the 2015 regular season, as well as 5-0-2 when he provided an assist.
KAMARA ON BEING NAMED TO MLS BEST XI: http://bit.ly/KamaraBestXI
Kamara recorded the second-highest amount of goals scored by one player in Crew SC single-season history, and he is just the second player to ever hit the 20-goal plateau in a single regular-season for the Black & Gold. His six braces this regular season were the second-most ever recorded by a single Crew SC player in one campaign. In the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs, Kamara's three goals through three games lead the club. The forward scored the series-winning goal as part of his first postseason brace in the Second Leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Montreal Impact on Sunday, November 8.
A first-time MLS All-Star in 2015, Finlay built upon his breakout 2014 campaign by recording a career-high 12 goals and 13 assists during the regular season. He became just the second player in Crew SC history to ever hit double-figures in both goals and assists during one regular season, joining Jeff Cunningham in 2001, who had 10 goals and 13 assists. League-wide, Finlay was one of only four players to hit those milestones in 2015 (Sebastian Giovinco, Benny Feilhaber, Clint Dempsey) and his 13 assists were fifth overall in MLS.
FINLAY ON BEING NAMED TO MLS BEST XI: http://bit.ly/FinlayBestXI
Columbus was an unbeaten 7-0-2 in the 2015 regular season when Finlay scored and 6-0-7 when he provided an assist. Since Finlay's first Major League Soccer goal on May 17, 2014 at Portland, only two other players across the League have totaled more goals and assists than Finlay's 43 combined in those two categories: Robbie Keane and Bradley Wright-Phillips. In the Audi 2015 MLS Cup Playoffs, Finlay has notched one goal, the series-tying goal in the Second Leg of the Eastern Conference Semifinals against the Montreal Impact on Sunday, November 8.
READ: Crew SC's dynamic duo makes 2015 MLS Best XI - http://bit.ly/DynamicDuoBestXI
Columbus Crew SC is set play the Second Leg of the Eastern Conference Championship this evening at Red Bull Arena (7:30 p.m. ET / FS1, CD 102.5, 103.1 FM La Mega). The Black & Gold are looking to advance to MLS Cup for the second time in club history and the first time since 2008.
2015 MLS BEST XI
Goalkeeper – Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)
Defender – Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact)
Defender – Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Defender – Matt Hedges (FC Dallas)
Midfielder – Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City)
Midfielder – Fabian Castillo (FC Dallas)
Midfielder – Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls)
Midfielder – Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew SC)
Forward – Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)
Forward – Kei Kamara (Columbus Crew SC)
Forward – Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy)
ALL-TIME CREW SC PLAYERS TO EARN MLS BEST XI HONORS
1997: Thomas Dooley, Brad Friedel
1998: Thomas Dooley, Stern John
2002: Jeff Cunningham
2004: Robin Fraser
2007: Guillermo Barros Schelotto
2008: Chad Marshall, Robbie Rogers, Guillermo Barros Schelotto
2009: Chad Marshall
2015: Ethan Finlay, Kei Kamara