13 players have been announced as members of this years MLS All Star Game against Tottenham July 29 in Seattle. A total of 10 players were chosen by the fans, one was chosen via FIFA 15 as part of a promotion include the MLS player who scored the most goals by gamers on FIFA within a time period and two were chosen by Commissioner Don Garber as part of his “Commissioners Picks.”
The players chosen, as well as the players not chosen, have created quite a stir among fans. Choosing two players to play in an All Star Game who haven’t played an MLS game yet will do that. Like any All Star Game that relies on voting by fans, the vote inevitably turns things into a popularity contest and not actually a vote on who was most deserving and had the best first half of the season. Some picks in the Fan XI were right choices, some were not and 32 Flags is here to come up with our best XI out of the hundreds of MLS players not chosen. All given, our XI snubs look like a pretty good team and can possibly compete against the MLS Fan XI.
Here are the 13 players chosen to be in the MLS All Star Game:
Nick Rimando (GK) – Real Salt Lake
DaMarcus Beasley (DEF) – Houston Dynamo
Omar Gonzalez (DEF) – LA Galaxy
Matt Besler (DEF) – Sporting Kansas City
Michael Bradley (MID) – Toronto FC
Kaka (MID) – Orlando City SC
Graham Zusi (MID) – Sporting Kansas City
Benny Feilhaber (MID) – Sporting Kansas City
Frank Lampard (MID) – New York City FC (Commissioner’s Pick)
Steven Gerrard (MID) – LA Galaxy (Commissioner’s Pick)
David Villa (FW) – New York City FC
Clint Dempsey (FW) – Seattle Sounders FC
Obafemi Martins (FW) – Seattle Sounders FC (FIFA Winner)
And now here’s our lineup of All Star snubs. A very diverse lineup, a total of eight teams are represented on this team.
Stefan Frei – Seattle Sounders FC
This was tough because I really had this down to between two goalkeepers and both are deserving. The nod went to Frei because he has had to deal with a team in front of him who very recently has been in shambles. Stars are suspended, players are off in the Gold Cup and the depth has been tested. All the while, Seattle is still 1st place in the Western Conference standings and a big part of that is because of Frei. He is one of three goalkeepers to concede less than a goal per game (.97) and has an 80% save percentage.
Honorable Mention: Tim Melia – Sporting Kansas City
Tyrone Mears – Seattle Sounders
Tyrone Mears has been the rock of the Seattle Sounder back line. Among all the back line changes that have had to take place with this team, the right back has started in 19 of 20 games this season and has three assists.
Bobby Boswell – DC United
Bobby Boswell, as center back, has been part of a back line that only allowed 18 goals in 21 games. Even though DC had to change goalkeepers due to Bill Hamid’s surgery, it hasn’t affected the stingy defense one bit. That’s due to reliable players like Boswell.
Matt Hedges – FC Dallas
Matt Hedges and FC Dallas have had a rather inconsistent run but they do have nine clean sheets this year and seven of their nine wins have been off of clean sheets. It just goes to show that when FC Dallas needs to get a win, they make it tough for their opponents.
Liam Ridgewell – Portland Timbers
I have to admit, the left back position has been tough to fill because it hasn’t really been a position where that many have particularly excelled. Liam Ridgewell has been regarded as one of the best left backs in MLS and since nobody else has been impressive, Ridgewell gets the spot by default.
Honorable Mention: Kendall Watson – Vancouver Whitecaps FC
Perry Kitchen – DC United
Perry Kitchen doesn’t have the stats to back up his inclusion in the squad but in order to round out this team, a defensive midfielder must be involved and Kitchen is the guy to do it. Just like with Boswell, Kitchen helps out on one of the stingiest defenses in MLS. That kind of play is worth a spot.
Sebastian Giovinco – Toronto FC
No brainer. All you need to do is see his game against NYCFC this past weekend and that alone clinches him as an All Star and maybe even MVP consideration.
Ethan Finlay – Columbus Crew SC
The pair of Ethan Finlay and Kei Kamara (who we’ll talk about very soon) have been a match made in heaven. Kamara scores the goals and Finlay provides the assists. Finlay has the league lead in assists with 10 while Kamara leads MLS with 12 goals. We’ll talk more about Kamara’s accomplishments later but a 1-2 punch of Finlay and Kamara on this team will make for an incredible combo on this squad.
Honorable Mention: Cristian Maidana – Philadelphia Union
Kei Kamara – Columbus Crew SC
As we talked about just earlier, the tandem of Finlay and Kamara have been lethal. They lead the goals and assists stats and in terms of Kamara, he has seen a renaissance in his career since he came back to MLS from Middlesbrough. Kamara has already broken his career high in goals and has 15 more games left. This could be a career season for Kamara and it should be capped off with an All Star Game.
Krisztian Nemeth – Sporting Kansas City
I understand why Sporting KC fans voted for Graham Zusi to be in the All Star Game but I think they got that wrong. No offense to Zusi but he has been hurt for a third of the season and hasn’t really gotten back to his form from previous years. If anyone out of the SKC wingers/strikers who deserve to be going to the All Star Game, it’s newly signed Krisztian Nemeth. The former Liverpool player came to Kansas City and made an impact right away. Not only that, Nemeth scored on his first seven shots on target to start his MLS career and has scored on seven out of eight shots. An 88% goal scoring rate is unheard of.
Chris Wondolowski – San Jose Earthquakes
Yes, Chris Wondolowski. Wondo gets a bad rap because of his miss in the World Cup but let’s not let that mask that he’s a great player. After scoring 27 goals in 2012, he has understandably cooled off a bit but Wondo has still had respectable numbers. With his nine goals so far in 2015, he sits tied for 4th in goals scored and became the 10th player to score 100 goals in MLS. Of course he should have a spot.
Honorable Mention: Bradley Wright-Phillips – New York Red Bulls
That is our team of MLS All Star snubs. I’m going to be honest, I would like to see a match between this lineup and the Fan XI because that would make for a close and entertaining game. I really like the chances for this team. Anyway, there’s still a chance some of these players will be on the actual All Star team. Colorado Rapids manager Pablo Mastroeni will choose the other players.