Analysis / MLS

MLS All-Star Game: Here’s How I Voted

Photo: Earl Gardner

MLS All-Star ballots were due on Friday, May 22.

Media members that participate in the process are asked to create the primary online ballot from which fans make the final selections.

The rules are simple enough. We’re tasked with selecting eight (!) players from each team, including one player at each position. That means we’re selecting a goalkeeper, a defender, a midfielder, and a forward from each of the 20 MLS clubs. The criteria for selection is simple; players we choose should be “worthy of all-star consideration based on league play in 2015”. That creates problems with a couple of superstar players who have been injured (Diego Valeri), and teams like Montreal that have only played five league games so far.

There are also a few teams that don’t have eight players worthy of consideration, such as the Union. There are some case where you just have to fudge it and write something in.

In the interest of transparency, here’s what my ballot looked like. You can place your votes for the MLS All-star Game roster here.

Philadelphia Union – John McCarthy (GK), Steven Vitoria, Maurice Edu, Eric Ayuk, Cristian Maidana, Zach Pfeffer, Vincent Nogueira, Fernando Aristeguieta

I went with John McCarthy as the goalkeeper, because my other options were Rais Mbolhi and Brian Sylvestre. There’s not much you can do about that one.

Maurice Edu is listed as a midfielder, so I chose Steven Vitoria as my required defender. Edu, in my opinion, is the only Union player worthy of all-star consideration. I thought about putting Ray Gaddis in there instead of Vitoria, but I don’t think Ray is having a great season. I thought his 2014 campaign was much better than this season (so far).

Eric Ayuk was my final choice, which probably would have gone to C.J. Sapong if he had not been arrested/suspended/injured.

Photo By Earl Gardner

The only Union player worthy of an all-star nod, Maurice Edu. Photo: Earl Gardner.

Chicago Fire – Sean Johnson (GK), Adailton, Jeff Larentowicz, Harry Shipp, Shaun Maloney, Joevin Jones, Matt Polster, David Accam

Pretty easy here. Matt Polster is a rookie of the year candidate, and I really like new signing Joevin Jones.

Colorado Rapids – Clint Irwin (GK), Michael Harrington, Axel Sjoberg, Lucas Pittinari, Dillon Powers, Juan Ramirez, Marcelo Sarvas, Gabby Torres

Colorado has a super-stingy defense, but they’ve used three different center backs, so I picked the rookie Sjoberg out of the bunch. The rest of the selections were pretty straightforward.

Columbus Crew – Steve Clark (GK), Michael Parkhurst, Waylon Francis, Tony Tchani, Justin Meram, Federico Higuain, Ethan Finlay, Kei Kamara

You could make a case to get Emmanuel Pogatetz in here, maybe in place of Waylon Francis, but I like what the Costa Rica left back has done. I don’t think last year’s all-star team even had a bona fide left back until Liam Ridgewell was added. Columbus has a ton of firepower, and all of these players are worthy of ASG consideration.

D.C. United – Bill Hamid (GK), Bobby Boswell, Sean Franklin, Davy Arnaud, Perry Kitchen, Chris Pontius, Jairo Arrieta, Chris Rolfe

I left Fabian Espindola off the ballot because he hasn’t played much. I’d like to see Perry Kitchen get an all-star nod if he continues to play at a high level.

FC Dallas – Chris Seitz (GK), Matt Hedges, Moises Hernandez, Victor Ulloa, Mauro Diaz, Tesho Akindele, Fabian Castillo, Blas Perez

Union - FC Dallas by Daniel Studio

The best winger in MLS, Fabian Castillo. Photo: Daniel Studio.

Castillo is a no brainer here. I also like Hedges, and the unsung duo of d-mid Ulloa and left back Hernandez.

Houston Dynamo – Tyler Deric (GK), DaMarcus Beasley, Raul Rodriguez, Ricardo Clark, Brad Davis, Oscar Boniek-Garcia, Giles Barnes, Will Bruin

Giles Barnes needs to get an all-star selection. He’s having himself a monster year. I also like Raul Rodriguez as a newcomer, especially if he continues to play well at his new right back position.

Sporting Kansas City – Luis Marin (GK), Jalil Anibaba, Matt Besler, Roger Espinoza, Benny Feilhaber, Graham Zusi, Dom Dwyer, Krisztian Nemeth

Feilhaber is the easy pick here. Anibaba has been good. I’m not sure if KC gets anyone else besides Benny into the ASG, maybe Dwyer if he keeps scoring goals.

Los Angeles Galaxy – Jaime Penedo (GK), Omar Gonzalez, Baggio Husidic, Stefan Ishizaki, Juninho, Robbie Rogers, Alan Gordon, Gyasi Zardes

I left Robbie Keane off the ballot since he’s been injured for most of the year. It’s definitely a dilemma, because he is a perennial MVP candidate. But the criteria is for on-field performance, and so that’s what I decided to go with. Not sure if LA has anyone worthy right now outside of Omar Gonzalez or Juninho.

Houston has left Philadelphia behind in the Union's short MLS tenure. (Photo: Paul Rudderow)

Giles Barnes has 6 goals and 1 assist for Houston this season. Photo: Paul Rudderow.

Montreal Impact – Evan Bush (GK), Laurent Ciman, Bakary Soumare, Donny Toia, Dilly Duka, Ignacio Piatti, Andres Romero, Dominic Oduro

Only five regular season games played, so I had to take a little bit of influence from the CONCACAF Champion’s League. Laurent Ciman is one of the best new signings in MLS. I also really like Nacho Piatti. Should be interesting to see what Montreal does in the next few months with all of those games in hand.

New England Revolution – Bobby Shuttleworth (GK), Andrew Farrell, Chris Tierney, Scott Caldwell, Kelyn Rowe, Juan Agudelo, Teal Bunbury, Charlie Davies

I think Chris Tierney is the best left back in the league, at least going forward. I think he’s underrated by a lot of fans and pundits. Andrew Farrell is also having himself a very nice season, playing mostly at center back to cover for Jose Goncalves and other absences. I left Jermaine Jones off for the same reason that I left Robbie Keane off.

New York City FC – Josh Saunders (GK), Chris Wingert, Mehdi Ballouchy, Mix Diskerud, Ned Grabavoy, Patrick Mullins, Khiry Shelton, David Villa

There weren’t eight players worth of consideration, especially with that defense. I picked Wingert out of the bunch.

New York Red Bulls – Luis Robles (GK), Damien Perrinelle, Sacha Kljestan, Felipe, Dax McCarty, Lloyd Sam, Bradley Wright-Phillips, Mike Grella

Great defense, but I only went with Perrinelle because it’s more of a “team defense” setup, if that makes sense. New York is playing this “high press” system that really involves their strong midfield and forward line. That’s probably why I ended up with Grella on here, instead of someone like Duvall, Miazga, or Lawrence.

Orlando City SC –  Donovan Ricketts (GK), Aurelien Collin, Brek Shea, Rafael Ramos, Darwin Ceren, Kaka, Amobi Okugo, Cyle Larin 

Heavy on midfielders and defenders because of their early struggles at the forward position.

Portland Timbers – Adam Kwarasey (GK), Nat Borchers, Liam Ridgewell, Diego Chara, Darlington Nagbe, Rodney Wallace, Fanendo Adi, Dairon Asprilla

I left Valeri off the list since he’s been injured all season long, same with Will Johnson. Borchers has been good, and I like Ridgewell as a distributor out of the back. Everyone else for the Timbers has been underwhelming, as usual.

Real Salt Lake – Nick Rimando (GK), Tony Beltran, Jamison Olave, Jordan Allen, Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales, Luke Mulholland, Alvaro Saborio

Seems like a down year for RSL. They’ve got some nice pieces, but they need some of their fringe players to start contributing more.

San Jose Earthquakes – David Bingham (GK), Clarence Goodson, Marvell Wynne, Sanna Nyassi, Matias Perez-Garcia, Shea Salinas, Adam Jahn, Chris Wondolowski 

Could make a case for Victor Bernardez over Clarence Goodson. Bernardez has played more games this year and made fewer mistakes. Wondo is the only slam-dunk selection.

Seattle Sounders – Stefan Frei (GK), Chad Marshall, Ozzie Alonso, Lamar Neagle, Marco Pappa, Gonzalo Pineda, Clint Dempsey, Obafemi Martins

Tyrone Mears has had a nice season, so it was hard to leave him off. I might have swapped Pineda out. But Seattle is all about offense, and their entire front line gets a nod.

Toronto FC – Joe Bendik (GK), Ashtone Morgan, Justin Morrow, Damien Perquis, Michael Bradley, Benoit Cheyrou, Jozy Altidore, Sebastian Giovinco

The first seven choices were pretty easy. I went with Morgan as the #8, because I think he’s come in and played pretty well on a backline that’s had a lot of injuries.

Vancouver Whitecaps – David Ousted (GK), Steven Beitashour, Kendall Waston, Matias Laba, Pedro Morales, Kekuta Manneh, Darren Mattocks, Octavio Rivero

One of the best teams in the league, there are a number of deserving players. Waston deserves to go, as does Rivero and probably Laba. Ousted has been excellent as well.

4 Comments

  1. FYI, we had to get the votes in before the weekend win over the Red Bulls, so that game isn’t taken into consideration.

    -kk

  2. Who do the MLS All Stars play this season?
    .

  3. Old Soccer Coach says:

    I find the selection criteria interesting in that they ignore the differences between central channel players and flank channel ones in the defensive line and the midfield. Rarely in fact are the two types of channels as interchangeable as the selection criteria’s simplicities would seem to suggest.

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