Elementary, my dear Watson: Northern Irish defender is lone Eddie to make NASL Best XI

FC Edmonton's Albert Watson, left, tries to get around Atlanta's Pedro Mendes.

FC Edmonton’s Albert Watson, left, tries to get around Atlanta’s Pedro Mendes.

FC Edmonton captain Albert Watson is the sole member of the Eddies to make the season-ending NASL Best XI.

Watson, who was one of two Eddies on the MVP ballot (the now-departed Chris Nurse was the other) got enough votes from the league’s eight head coaches, who select the season-ending all-star team.

Watson joins Shaun Saiko (2011) and Paul Hamilton (2012) as Eddies who made the NASL Best XI.

Watson was the backbone for a defence that allowed 26 goals in 26 games this season (though Watson missed a chunk of the spring season as he recovered from an MCL injury). He came to the club from Northern Irish side Linfield FC in 2013, and Eddies’ coach Colin Miller has repeatedly said that he feels Watson is the top central defender in the league.

But, for the first time in three years, there were no Canadians on the Best XI. And, to those who criticized the league for giving the top keeper award to Kyle Reynish, the Cosmos keeper who, like his club, played just half of the NASL campaign, there is some feeling of justice as Marcos Senna was the only New York player to make the Best XI.

Though, it is odd — and it has happened before – that the keeper for the Best XI and the player named best keeper in the league aren’t the same guy.

GOALKEEPER
Joe Nasco, ATL: 19 GP, 7 W, 4 SO

DEFENDERS
Aaron Pitchkolan, MIN: Three-time NASL team of the week selection
Martyn Lancaster, ATL: 23 GP, helped team to spring title
Albert Watson, FCE: 20 GP, team of the week SIX times

MIDFIELDERS
Luke Mulholland, TBR: 11 G, 7 A
Miguel Ibarra, MIN: Team of the week three times, 1 G, 3 A
Richie Menjivar, ATL: 2G, 2 A, four team of the week picks
Marcos Senna, NYC: Five team of the week picks, 13 GP, 5 G, 2 A

FORWARDS
Georgi Hristov, TBR: 12 G, 7 A
Brian Shriver, CAR: 15 goals led NASL
Hans Denissen, SAS: 12 G, 2 A

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About Steven Sandor

I'm currently the colour commentator for FC Edmonton broadcasts on Sportsnet, NASL.com and TEAM 1260. I've covered the Toronto FC beat for four years, worked for the Edmonton Aviators of the USL for a season, covered the Edmonton Drillers of the NPSL and started covering Canadian World Cup qualifiers in 1996. I've covered the CONCACAF Champions League and the U-20 World Cup. I'm passionate about soccer in North America.