North American Soccer League Announces 2015 Best XI

Minnesota United FC, Ottawa Fury FC well represented this year
NASL Staff | Nov 13, 2015

The NASL unveiled its 2015 Best XI on Friday at its official press conference ahead of The Championship Final. Four of the 11 players on this year’s list will play in Sunday’s title game, which features this year’s top two teams – the New York Cosmos and Ottawa Fury FC – at 5 p.m. ET at Shuart Stadium in Hempstead, N.Y.

Here is a full rundown of this year’s NASL Best XI:

GK: Romuald Peiser (Ottawa Fury FC) – The French goalkeeper started 29 of Ottawa’s 30 matches, posting the league’s best goals against average (0.76). Peiser also set records with a 648-minute shutout streak, 14 shutouts, and 15 wins. He made 73 saves, finished with a 15W-11D-3L record, and picked up two Player of the Month honors and six Team of the Week honors. He also claimed the league’s Golden Glove Award.

DEF: Rafael Alves (Ottawa Fury FC) – The Brazilian center back helped anchor the league’s strongest back line, which conceded a mere 23 goals all year. Starting in all 30 of Fury FC’s matches, Alves was not only crucial on defense, but he added four goals and one assist on the other end. He earned one Player of the Week honor and was selected to the Team of the Week four times.

DEF: Justin Davis (Minnesota United) – The Litchfield Park, Ariz., native was selected to the Best XI for a second year running. Davis started in 29 matches for the Loons, tallying five goals and two assists from his fullback position. He was named to the Team of the Week six times.

DEF: Carlos Mendes (New York Cosmos) – For a second straight year, the Mineola, N.Y., native was selected to the Best XI after again serving as a consistent force in the heart of the Cosmos defense. Mendes started in 28 games and helped New York post the second-best defensive record in the league. The center back, who also chipped in with two goals, earned Player of the Week honors once and Team of the Week honors twice.

DEF: Kevin Venegas (Minnesota United) – Another of Minnesota’s attacking fullbacks, the Norwalk, Calif., native chipped in with two goals and six assists to go along with some excellent defensive work. He started in 28 matches as Minnesota conceded the fourth-fewest goals this year, earning five Team of the Week selections along the way.

MID: Richie Ryan (Ottawa Fury FC) – The Irish midfielder was the driving force in the middle of the field for Ottawa. Ryan scored three goals on the season – including a pair of breathtaking free kicks against Indy – and was selected to the Team of the Week twice.

MID: Lance Laing (FC Edmonton) – The Jamaican international scored eight times and added seven assists to return to the NASL Best XI for a second straight season. Laing, who featured in the Copa América for Jamaica this year, earned Player of the Week honors once and was selected to the Team of the Week seven times.

MID: Ibson (Minnesota United) – The Brazilian midfielder was often times the orchestrator of the Loons’ attack this year. Ibson scored six goals and assisted on another four in his 25 league starts, showing the level of class that brought him so much success in some of the world’s top leagues.

MID: James Marcelin (Fort Lauderdale Strikers) – The Haitian international added strength to the Strikers’ midfield and provided a strong shield for the back line. Marcelin also added two goals and two assists, while picking up two Team of the Week honors.

FWD: Stefano Pinho (Fort Lauderdale Strikers) – The Brazilian forward took the league by storm in his first season, winning the Golden Ball and Golden Boot awards. He scored 16 goals and added 7 assists for the Strikers. Pinho also took home a slew of league recognitions over the course of the year, including two Player of the Month honors, four Player of the Week honors, and seven Team of the Week selections.

FWD: Christian Ramirez (Minnesota United) – The native of Santa Ana, Calif. rounded into top form in the Fall Season to earn his second straight Best XI selection. He scored 11 times – 12 total for the year – and added six assists. The 2014 Golden Boot winner earned one Player of the Month honor and was selected to the Team of the Week five times. 

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