COLUMBUS – Columbus Crew SC, in conjunction with Major League Soccer, today announced that defender Jonathan Mensah has been named to the 2020 MLS Best XI, a season-long recognition honoring the most outstanding performers in the League over the 2020 campaign. The 2020 MLS Best XI recognizes the League’s top 11 players in a common soccer formation as determined by media, MLS players and MLS club technical staff. This is the first time that Mensah has been named to the MLS Best XI.
“We want to congratulate Jonathan on earning this worthy recognition as one of the top players in MLS in 2020,” said Crew SC President and General Manager Tim Bezbatchenko. “Jonathan has been one of our key performers since earning the captain’s role, playing every minute of every match for the Club during a long and at times incredibly compact season. He has been pivotal to the success of our backline this year and a large reason why we had one of the best defensive records in the League during the regular season. We are proud of Jonathan’s accomplishments and we know he will continue to perform at a high level during the playoffs.”
WATCH | Jonathan Mensah's wife, Kafui, tells him he has made MLS Best XI
Mensah, 30, becomes the 12th player in Crew SC history to be named to the League’s Best XI, as well as the fourth defender in Club history to earn the honor, joining Thomas Dooley (1997, 1998), Robin Frasier (2004) and Chad Marshall (2008, 2009). Additionally, Mensah is the first player to be named to the MLS Best XI under Crew SC Head Coach Caleb Porter, as well as the first Crew player to receive this accolade since 2018 (Zack Steffen).
A finalist for the 2020 MLS Defender of the Year award, Mensah was one of only two field players in the League to see 2,070 minutes of regular-season action this year, playing every single minute of every match for the Black & Gold. Mensah, in his fourth season with the Crew and his first season as team captain, led the League in blocks (30), passes (1,473) and clearances (114) in regular-season action. The Ghanaian defender helped the Crew post nine clean sheets in regular-season action – tied for most by an MLS team this season – while being named to MLSsoccer.com’s Team of the Week on three occasions, more than any other Black & Gold defender this season.
Mensah – who recently signed a multi-year contract extension with Crew SC – joined Crew SC ahead of the 2017 MLS season and has since made 100 regular-season appearances (97 starts) for the Club, while scoring three goals and providing one assist. The Black & Gold captain made his milestone 100th regular-season appearance on Decision Day in a 2-1 home victory against Atlanta United (November 8).
Internationally, the defender has earned 58 caps with the Ghana National Team since making his debut in a 2010 friendly against Bosnia-Herzegovina (March 3). A two-time FIFA World Cup veteran (2010, 2014), Mensah was a member of the Black Stars squad that reached the quarterfinals in the 2010 edition of the tournament, and he started every group stage match during the 2014 FIFA World Cup. The defender has also represented Ghana in four Africa Cup of Nations tournaments (2012, 2013, 2015, 2017). At the Under-20 level, Mensah helped the Black Stars win the FIFA U-20 World Cup as well as the 2009 African Youth Championship.
Crew SC returns to the pitch for an Audi 2020 MLS Cup Playoffs Eastern Conference Round One match against the New York Red Bulls at MAPFRE Stadium tomorrow, November 21 [3:00 p.m. ET/ UniMas, TUDN, SportsTime Ohio, MLSsoccer.com (stream), MLS App (stream)/ 1460 ESPN AM & 971TheFan.com (English), ColumbusCrewSC.com (Spanish)].
ALL-TIME CREW SC PLAYERS TO EARN MLS BEST XI HONORS
1997: Thomas Dooley, Brad Friedel
1998: Thomas Dooley, Stern John
2002: Jeff Cunningham
2004: Robin Fraser
2007: Guillermo Barros Schelotto
2008: Chad Marshall, Robbie Rogers, Guillermo Barros Schelotto
2009: Chad Marshall
2015: Ethan Finlay, Kei Kamara
2018: Zack Steffen
2020: Jonathan Mensah