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Our MLS Dream Team For 2024

Assembling a Dream Team taps into our desire to create the ultimate soccer squad, blending top talents into a seamless unit. This exercise is especially captivating in the context of Major League Soccer (MLS), a melting pot league distinguished by its diversity and dynamic style of play.

Creating an MLS Dream Team is a speculative challenge for fans while also forcing us to put aside club loyalties, and think about the qualities of players in teams we don’t usually follow.

This exercise goes beyond just star power. It’s about identifying the perfect fit and function – players whose attributes, roles, and chemistry could blend well and lead a squad to MLS glory.

Now let’s explore our selections for the 2024 roster and how these elite players could fuse into an unbeatable force.

Starting XI

  1. Goalkeeper: Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders) – A veteran in goal, known for his reflexes and leadership.
  2. Right Back: Julian Gressel (Inter Miami) – Offers width and deep crossing ability.
  3. Center Back: Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC) – Dominant in aerial duels and defensive organization.
  4. Center Back: Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls) – Solid defender known for his positioning and ball-playing ability.
  5. Left Back: John Tolkin (New York Red Bulls) – Young talent with great potential and attacking flair.
  6. Midfield: Carles Gil (New England Revolution) – A creative playmaker with exceptional vision.
  7. Midfield: Héctor Herrera (Houston Dynamo) – Brings robustness and experience in the midfield.
  8. Midfield: Luciano Acosta (FC Cincinnati) – Dynamic and creative, essential for linking play between the midfield and attack.
  9. Right Wing: Cristian Espinoza (San Jose Earthquakes) – Speedy winger known for his dribbling and crossing.
  10. Left Wing: Lionel Messi (Inter Miami) – Despite his age, his world-class skill and intelligence are unmatched.
  11. Striker: Cucho Hernández (Columbus Crew) – A powerful forward known for his goal-scoring ability.


  1. Goalkeeper: Pedro Gallese (Orlando City) – Reliable second-choice with great shot-stopping skills.
  2. Defender: Miles Robinson (Atlanta United) – Solid backup for central defense, good with both feet.
  3. Midfielder: Sebastián Driussi (Austin FC) – Versatile attacking midfielder, can change the game off the bench.
  4. Forward: Luis Suárez (Inter Miami) – Experienced striker known for his lethal finishing and tactical intelligence.
  5. Winger: Riqui Puig (LA Galaxy) – Creative and technically gifted, offers a different approach on the wing.
  6. Midfielder: Jamiro Monteiro (San Jose Earthquakes) – Excellent central or attacking midfield option with good defensive and offensive balance.
  7. Defender: Kamal Miller (CF Montréal) – Provides additional defensive cover and can play as a left-back or center-back.

Tactical Overview and Player Roles

  • Stefan Frei anchors the team with his goalkeeping experience and composure under pressure.
  • Julian Gressel and John Tolkin provide width and crossing, essential for a formation that leverages wingers and attacking fullbacks.
  • Walker Zimmerman and Aaron Long form a central pairing that combines physical presence with technical ability.
  • Carles GilHéctor Herrera, and Luciano Acosta make up a midfield trio that balances creativity, control, and defensive solidity, allowing the team to dominate possession and quickly transition into defense.
  • Cristian Espinoza and Lionel Messi offer width and depth in attack, creating chances and drawing defenders to open spaces for Cucho Hernández, who serves as the primary goal threat.

This lineup and strategy ensure a balanced team that can adapt to various playing styles and opponents in the MLS, making it versatile and robust for the competitive season ahead.

Why We Chose a 4-3-3 Formation

433 Formation

The 4-3-3 formation is one of the most popular and versatile setups in modern soccer, offering a balanced structure that supports both offensive and defensive play.

The choice of a 4-3-3 for the Dream Team is motivated by the players’ specific strengths and the tactical flexibility required in a league as diverse as the MLS. With star players who excel in wide roles and dynamic midfielders capable of both defending and initiating plays, this formation leverages their skills optimally while providing a solid defensive backbone.

This strategic approach ensures that the team can adapt to different opponents and situations, whether they need to hold onto a lead or press for a winning goal. By balancing attack and defense, the 4-3-3 formation offers the best chance to utilize the high-caliber talents of the dream team effectively, making it a formidable setup against any MLS opposition.

Here’s some key strengths:

Strengths of 4-3-3

  • Offensive Power: This formation allows for three forwards, maximizing the attacking potential. With players like Lionel Messi on the left wing, Cucho Hernández as the central striker, and Cristian Espinoza on the right, the team has formidable firepower upfront.
  • Midfield Control: The three midfielders provide both defensive support and creative play. Carles Gil acts as the playmaker, with Luciano Acosta pushing forward to assist in attacks and Héctor Herrera anchoring the midfield with his defensive prowess.
  • Width in Play: Full-backs such as Julian Gressel and John Tolkin can push up the flanks, providing width and creating crossing opportunities, essential for breaking down compact defenses.

Comparison with Other Formations

  • 4-4-2 Formation: While the 4-4-2 offers more midfield width and can be defensively solid, it often lacks the same level of forward support provided by a 4-3-3. The 4-3-3’s additional forward allows for more dynamic attacking options and can pressure opposing defenses more intensely.
  • 3-5-2 Formation: This setup offers more midfield presence and can be great for dominating possession, but it reduces the number of defenders, which could be risky against teams with strong counter-attacking capabilities. The 4-3-3 maintains a balance with four at the back, ensuring defensive stability while still supporting midfield depth.
  • 4-2-3-1 Formation: Similar to the 4-3-3, the 4-2-3-1 focuses on attacking with a single striker, three attacking midfielders, and two holding midfielders. While this provides a solid defensive base, it can sometimes isolate the striker if the midfielders are unable to push forward effectively. The 4-3-3 ensures that the striker has consistent support from the wings, making it more effective in maintaining an attacking threat.

Fun Facts You Didn’t Know About Our Picks

Stefan Frei Art
From Seattle Sounders

Stefan Frei

  • Artistic Talent: Besides his goalkeeping skills, Frei is also an accomplished artist, known for his impressive painting skills which he often showcases through his social media platforms.

Julian Gressel

  • Multilingual: Gressel is fluent in several languages, including German, English, and Spanish, reflecting his diverse European upbringing.

Walker Zimmerman

  • Music Enthusiast: Zimmerman is known to play the guitar and has a keen interest in various music genres, which he believes helps him relax off the pitch.

Aaron Long

  • Rapid Rise: Long’s journey is unique; he transitioned from playing midfield in college and lower leagues to becoming an MLS Best XI defender.

John Tolkin

  • Local Hero: Tolkin grew up a fan of the New York Red Bulls, the very team he now plays for, achieving his dream of playing professional soccer in his hometown.

Carles Gil

  • Chess Aficionado: Off the field, Gil enjoys playing chess, which he credits with helping improve his decision-making and strategic thinking on the pitch.

Héctor Herrera

  • Community Leader: Herrera is actively involved in charity work, focusing on educational projects for underprivileged children in his hometown in Mexico.

Luciano Acosta

  • Nickname: Acosta is affectionately known as ‘Lucho’, a nickname given to him due to his diminutive stature and high energy on the field.

Cristian Espinoza

  • Racing Fan: Espinoza is a big fan of car racing and often attends races, drawing parallels between the speed of cars and his playing style.

Lionel Messi

  • UNICEF Ambassador: Messi is a global ambassador for UNICEF, using his fame to advocate for children’s rights and education around the world.

Cucho Hernández

  • Nickname Origin: His nickname ‘Cucho’, meaning ‘old man’ in Colombian slang, was given by his family because of his serious demeanor as a child.


Pedro Gallese

  • Wildlife Advocate: Gallese is known for his efforts in wildlife conservation, particularly in protecting marine life in Peru.

Miles Robinson

  • Education Commitment: Robinson completed his college degree while playing professionally, emphasizing the importance of education for athletes.

Sebastián Driussi

  • Gamer: Driussi is an avid video game player, often participating in online gaming tournaments during the off-season.

Luis Suárez

  • Author: Suárez has authored a book detailing his life and football career, providing insights into his journey from Uruguay to global stardom.

Riqui Puig

  • Culinary Skills: Puig enjoys cooking in his free time and is passionate about traditional Spanish cuisine.

Jamiro Monteiro

  • Fashion Enthusiast: Monteiro is keen on fashion and often posts his outfits, showing a different side of his personality off the pitch.

Kamal Miller

  • Advocate for Equality: Miller is vocal about social justice issues, particularly regarding racial equality and inclusivity in sports.