On July 24, many of Major League Soccer’s best will head north of the border to contest the 13th edition of the MLS All-Star Game, with this year’s group of all-stars taking on West Ham United at BMO Field, home of Toronto FC.
The MLS All-Stars beat Celtic 2-0 in last year’s contest, and they’ve won each of the two previous matchups against Premier League competition, a 4-1 win over Fulham in 2005 and a 1-0 win over Chelsea in 2006.
They’ll have an excellent chance of making it three for three, with the lineup they’re set to field in two weeks. On Thursday, the league announced the All-Star First XI, the top vote-getters at their respective positions and the group who’ll make up most, if not all, of the starting lineup for the match against the Hammers.
David Beckham earned a combined 62.6% of the votes among the midfielders, which was the leader by far at his position, but as surprising as it may be to some, he wasn’t the leading vote-getter overall. That honor goes to Los Angeles Galaxy teammate and the MLS’ current co-leading scorer, Landon Donovan, who netted a combined 67.9%.
While Beckham unsurprisingly did well with the fans (38.9% to Donovan’s 29.3) and the media (both with 82.2%), Donovan did much better with those who have the most up-close view, fellow players (66.8 to 49.6) and coaches/GMs (93.2 to 79.6).
Having names like Becks and Blanco in the lineup is good for the viewers, but some of America’s top young talents will be on display in midfielders Sacha Kljestan of Chivas USA and Robbie Rogers of Columbus and FC Dallas forward Kenny Cooper.
The New England Revolution currently have the league’s best record (10-4-3), and they’re the most represented side, with three players in the First XI. Columbus, who has the league’s second-best record behind New England, has two players in the group along with L.A.
There are seven more selections to be made, as New England’s Steve Nicol, who’ll be coaching the All-Stars, will select five players on Tuesday, with the final two players getting in as Commissioner selections.
So, the likes of Brian Ching, Luciano Emilio, Gullermo Barros Schelotto, and Dwayne De Rosario, who all missed the cut for the First XI, still stand a good chance of getting into the squad.
Here’s the first XI:
Matt Reis, New England Revolution
Jimmy Conrad, Kansas City Wizards
Frankie Hejduk, Columbus Crew
Michael Parkhurst, New England Revolution
David Beckham, LA Galaxy
Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Chicago Fire
Shalrie Joseph, New England Revolution
Sacha Kljestan, Chivas USA
Robbie Rogers, Columbus Crew
Landon Donovan, LA Galaxy
Kenny Cooper, FC Dallas