Why is this man not in the All XI?
Its the numbers you produce and not the little things that you do on the pitch to improve your team which seems to drive the MLS All XI. Even when you factor in stats it does not seem to add up to why Cuauhtemoc Blanco was left out.
Blanco played 21 matches, started in 15 of them and in 1452 minutes of playing time he scored 5 goals and 8 assists. He scored 1 game winning goal and assisted in three others. The Fire made the playoffs and lost to RSL in the Eastern Conference Finals.
Lets compare his stats to the midfielders who made the All XI roster.
Dwayne De Rosario played 28 matches, started in 27. In 2444 minutes, he came up with 11 goals and 6 assists. He scored two game winning goals. Toronto did not make the playoffs.
Stuart Holden played 26 matches and started in all of them. In 2340 minutes, he scored 6 goals and assisted in 4 others. Of them, 5 were game winning goals and he assisted in 2 others. The Dynamo made the playoffs but lost to the Galaxy in the Western Conference.
Freddie Ljungberg played 22 matches, starting in 21. In 1836 minutes, he scored 2 goals and assisted in 9 others. He scored one game winning goal and assisted in five others. Seattle made the playoffs but lost to the Dynamo.
Shalrie Joseph played 27 matches, starting in 24. He played 2228 minutes and in that duration, scored 8 goals and assisted in 8 others. He scored two match winning goals and assisted in two others. New England made the playoffs but lost to the Fire.
Landon Donovan played 25 matches, starting in 23. In 2152 minutes, Donovan scored 12 goals and assisted in 6 others. He scored three game winning goals. The Galaxy are in the MLS finals.
These five midfielders played between 384 minutes (Ljungberg) and 992 minutes (De Rosario) more than Blanco, yet even in that attenuated time, his stats are comparable. In fact, he had more assists than anyone except Ljungberg and he tied with Shalrie Joseph. He also had three more goals than Ljungberg. And his four game winning contribution is better than Landon Donovan and De Rosario.
More to the point, he is the undisputed catalyst of his team. He takes every free kick, every corner. And he is excellent at them. He is like the director in a movie set who yells out Lights, Camera, Action. The other midfielders distribute their play making capabilities with players like Amado Guevara (Toronto), Brad Evans (Dynamo), Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle), Steve Ralston (New England), and David Beckham (Galaxy).
In my opinion, Freddie Ljungberg and Dwayne De Rosario have weaker cases. I am not saying that they are undeserving but Blanco on the strength of his contribution to his team deserves to be ahead of these two players in the All XI.