HARRISON, N.J. — Red Bulls defenders Aaron Long and Kemar Lawrence have been named to the MLS Best XI, Major League Soccer announced Sunday.
Long and Lawrence anchored a Red Bulls backline that allowed a league-low 33 goals in 34 games en route to an MLS record 71 points and 22 wins.
At 26, Long has had quite the season to remember, being named an MLS All-Star, earning his first call-up and start for the USMNT and earning MLS defender of the year honors earlier this week.
He joined the Red Bulls organization prior to the 2016 season, where he was converted from midfielder to center back after signing with Red Bull II, the club’s United Soccer League affiliate. Long excelled in his new role, earning 2016 USL defender of the year honors and a promotion to the first team.
Lawrence, a Jamaica international, earned praise during another standout season. He appeared in a career-high 28 league games, recording two goals and an assist. He also finished in the top five in defender of the year voting. The Red Bulls signed Lawrence to a new multi-year contract in September.
During Lawrence’s four seasons, the Red Bulls have won two Supporters’ Shield and finished top of the Eastern Conference three times. He has also been a key player for the Reggae Boyz during his tenure in New York, helping his country to two Gold Cup Finals, a Caribbean Cup championship and two Copa America appearances.
2018 MLS Best XI
Goalkeeper: Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC)
Defenders: Kemar Lawrence (New York Red Bulls), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC)
Midfielders: Luciano Acosta (D.C. United), Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact), Carlos Vela (Los Angeles Football Club)
Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy), Josef Martínez (Atlanta United), Wayne Rooney (D.C. United)