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Vela and LAFC trio headline Goal's MLS Best XI for March

23:07 SAST 2019/04/04
Carlos Vela Los Angeles FC 030920219
Los Angeles FC trio Carlos Vela, Diego Rossi and Walker Zimmerman have LAFC atop MLS, and they lead Goal's picks for the March Best XI

Los Angeles FC was the class of Major League Soccer in March, and the league leaders were powered by a trio of the league's best performers in March.

Carlos Vela was the runaway pick for MLS Player of the Month for March, but he wasn't alone in shining for LAFC, with winger Diego Rossi and central defender Walker Zimmerman also enjoying strong opening months to secure spots on Goal's MLS Best XI for March.

The D.C. United duo of Wayne Rooney and Junior Moreno represent the Eastern Conference co-leaders, while fellow East co-leader Columbus are represented by Zack Steffen and Gaston Sauro.

The March MLS Best XI has a real international fllavor, with Steffen and FC Dallas midfielder Paxton Pomykal the only Americans to earn spots this month.

Here are Goal's selections for the MLS Best XI for the month of March:


Goalkeeper


U.S. national team goalkeeper Zack Steffen wound up missing a match in March due to injury, but when he was on the field he was outstanding for the Columbus Crew, earning Goal's MLS Best XI weekly honors on two occasions. 

Honorable mention goes to Seattle Sounders veteran Stefan Frei, who made a league-best 18 saves in March, posting two shutouts in the process to help Seattle enjoy a strong start to the season.


Defenders


Walker Zimmerman came into 2019 knowing he needed to be a leader in the LAFC defense, and he's been that and more for the MLS leaders. His man of the match performance, including a game-winning goal, helped LAFC exact some revenge against Real Salt Lake.

Australian fullback Brad Smith has become a real two-way threat at left back for the Seattle Sounders, providing defensive support for Victor Rodriguez while also being able to get forward into the attack. Columbus Crew central defender Gaston Sauro has also been a big contributor to his team's attack, scoring two goals while also turning in some steady defensive displays.

LAFC's Steve Beitashour, D.C. United's Steve Birnbaum, Minnesota United's Ike Opara and Seattle's Kelvin Leerdam were also in the running for this month's honors, earning honorable mention.


Midfielders


Carlos Vela had a March for the ages, racking up six goals and three assists to lead LAFC to an unbeaten month. FC Dallas teenager Paxton Pomykal made the most of his breakthrough into the starting lineup, delivering steady performances to help Luchi Gonzalez's men enjoy a solid start to 2019.

While Wayne Rooney and Luciano Acosta get most of the attention for D.C. United, Venezuelan midfielder Junior Moreno has been outstanding as a defensive midfielder capable of breaking up opposing attacks and delivering sharp passes.

There were several worthy contenders for the Best XI midfield spots in March, including Montreal's Saphir Taider, LAFC's Eduard Atuesta and Sporting Kansas City's Ilie Sanchez. Seattle's Cristian Roldan also deserved consideration, as did New England newcomer Carles Gil.


Forwards


D.C. United picked up where it left off last season, starting the 2019 campaign undefeated through March, and Wayne Rooney led the charge, with his four goals and three assists second only to Carlos Vela in overall attacking production.

LAFC's Diego Rossi is the second-youngest player in this month's Best XI, with the Uruguayan terrorizing defenses on the left flank as opposing defenses try to stop the red-hot Vela. Rossi delivered three goals and one assist in the opening month.

Houston's Alberth Elis was the unquestioned driving force behind the Dynamo's excellent start to the season, with his two goals and three assists not doing justice to just how much of an impact he has had in every match for the Dynamo.

Seattle's Raul Ruidiaz ​and Columbus Crew and U.S. national team striker Gyasi Zardes were the top strikers to fall short of Best XI honors, while a stacked stable of impressive wingers narrowly missed the Best XI, led by Seattle's Victor Rodriguez and Jordan Morris, Philadelphia's David Accam, Houston's Memo Rodriguez, Sporting KC's Johnny Russell and Minnesota United's Darwin Quintero.