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Wednesday January 24th, 2018 4:25AM

Almirón, Martinez named to 2017 MLS Best XI

By AccessWDUN Staff

ATLANTA — Major League Soccer today announced that Atlanta United’s Miguel Almirón and Josef Martinez were named to MLS’ Best XI for the 2017 season.

Almirón was voted MLS Newcomer of the Year and remains a finalist for the Landon Donovan Most Valuable Player award. The 23-year-old scored nine goals and added a team-high 14 assists in 30 appearances in his first MLS season, as the Paraguayan playmaker was at the center of an Atlanta attack that finished second in MLS with 70 goals scored. Atlanta became just the sixth team in league history to reach that number, while also breaking an MLS expansion team record. Almirón was voted an MLS All-Star and was also named the No. 1 player on MLS’ 24 under 24 list in 2017.  He was a two-time MLS Player of the Week, a seven-time MLS Team of the Week selection and a three-time MLS Goal of the Week winner. Almirón also had the top selling jersey in MLS this season.

Martinez was also a finalist for MLS Newcomer of the Year after joining Atlanta from Serie A side Torino FC. The 24-year-old Venezuelan forward scored 19 goals in 20 appearances (17 starts) in his debut MLS season, the most ever by a player on an expansion team. Martínez’s three hat tricks in one season tied an MLS mark while his 0.95 goals per game average ranks third in league history amongst players with a least five goals scored in a single season. Martinez was named MLS Player of the Month for March and September, was a two-time MLS Player of the Week, a four-time MLS Team of the Week selection and MLS Goal of the Week winner.

Seven of the players named to the Best XI are first-time selections, with Waston and Villa making their second appearances, and Giovinco and Valeri making their third appearances. All players on the Best XI squad played for teams that qualified for the 2017 Audi MLS Cup Playoffs.

2017 MLS Best XI

Goalkeeper: Tim Melia (Sporting Kansas City)

Defenders: Justin Morrow (Toronto FC), Ike Opara (Sporting Kansas City), Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)

Midfielders: Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United), Víctor Vázquez (Toronto FC), Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers) 

Forwards: Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Josef Martínez (Atlanta United), Nemanja Nikolić (Chicago Fire), David Villa (New York City FC)

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