Error message

  • Notice: Undefined index: nid in views_handler_field_term_node_tid->pre_render() (line 98 of /var/www/html/docroot/sites/all/modules/views/modules/taxonomy/
  • Notice: Undefined index: nid in views_handler_field_term_node_tid->pre_render() (line 98 of /var/www/html/docroot/sites/all/modules/views/modules/taxonomy/


MLS XI Vs. NASL XI: Which League Had Better Players?

The MLS season is quickly approaching. The buildup to the season has been full of interesting new kits and player signings.

MLS has a history of bringing in big-name signings from Europe, most recently Zlatan Ibrahimovic from Manchester United last season. But MLS isn't the only league that brought star players to the states. Some may remember that the old NASL had some of the world's best players at one point.

Pelé was the posterboy of the New York Cosmos, and Johan Cruyff played in both LA and D.C. The NASL eventually met its demise after splurging on talented players, and it's a good thing MLS has a more stable financial model when it comes to Designated Players so that never happens again (hopefully).

Regardless, with all the big names that both leagues brought in, it would be very cool to see how both league's best players line up against each other. 

In celebration of the new MLS season, The18 has compiled its best NASL XI and MLS XI. 

NASL vs MLS Best XIs


Formation: 4-2-1-3 (4-3-3)

Subs: Mausser, Muller, Beardsley, Hurst, Carlos Alberto, Grobbelaar, Suurbier

Between the sticks is the late Gordon Banks, who spent a year with the Ft. Lauderdale Strikers and was a stalwart for the England national team.

At the back, Dutch legend Ruud Krol at left back, a pairing of the formidable Franz Beckenbauer and Bobby Moore and one of the best Chilean defenders of all time, Elias Figueroa, on the right.

In the middle of the park is a midfield three: a double pivot of Teofilo Cubillas and Johan Neeskens is spearheaded by Portuguese legend Eusebio.

Finally, a devastating front three of Johan Cruyff, George Best and Pelé rounds out the team.

World Cup winners and European legends star in this squad. Even the bench is terrifying: Arnie Mausser, Gerd Müller, Peter Beardsley, Geoff Hurst, Carlos Alberto and Bruce Grobbelaar and Wim Suurbier. 


Formation: 3-1-4-2 (3-5-2)

Subs: Howard, Donovan, Dempsey, Cobi Jones, Villa, Valderrama, Stoichkov, Robbie Keane

Julio Cesar is between the sticks, with a back three of Lothar Matthaus, Rafa Marquez and Alessandro Nesta in front of him.

A midfield five with Andrea Pirlo the deep-lying playmaker, with Frank Lampard, Steven Gerrard, Kaka and Beckham playing ahead of the Italian.

Up front, we have Ibrahimovic and Thiery Henry.

This lineup may be a little more controversial since there were so many players to choose from since 1996. Notably, the starting lineup doesn't have any Americans, although on the bench is Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Cobi Jones, Tim Howard (Or Kasey Keller or Brad Friedel, you pick). Others on the bench include David Villa, Carlos Valderrama, Hristo Stoichkov and Robbie Keane. To be honest, there are roughly three different lineups that could be made with MLS players.

Given that soccer has changed a lot since the old days of the NASL, does the MLS side have a chance, or would the legends dominate?

Videos you might like