All-Star coaches Bruce Arena and Dominic Kinnear, along with league commissioner Don Garber, added the final pieces of the puzzle for this year's All-Star Game against the mighty Manchester United. A total of 13 players were added to the mix, which means a whole bunch of great players were left out of the summer classic. But who was the most deserving of an All-Star nod? Our editors give their two cents. Oh, and you can, too: Check out the poll and make your selection.
In Dallas they are certainly happy to see David Ferreira and Heath Pearce named to the All-Star team. Both have been valuable cogs in what is certainly an underrated FC Dallas side. Missing from the All-Star team, though, is the heart and soul of FC Dallas, their captain, Daniel Hernandez. Hernandez does all the dirty work in the middle of the field for Dallas, but at the same time, he provides the most important link between their defense and attack. He is often the one winning the ball and starting the charge up field for the counter-attacking Dallas side. On top of all that he possesses a rocket of a shot that has tested many a ‘keeper this throughout his career.
Bobby Convey is having the best season of his career. Yes, I said "career." Forget his decent but injury-plagued years in England. Forget his teenage phenom years in DC. It is in 2010 in San Jose that he is reaching his full potential as an attack-minded winger. This is the Convey we all imagined we'd see--if he'd stayed healthy--blazing down the left wing in South Africa. That wasn't to be. And we get to enjoy watching him in San Jose, playing with a confidence he hasn't expressed in years. He is second in the league in assists and on this All-Star team could've provided the width that the side is lacking.
I know folks in KC and DC are going to scream over the exclusions of Jimmy Nielsen and Andy Najar – and I don't disagree. But the one guy who has been absolutely electric for me is Alvaro Saborio. The Costa Rican international is doing everything Jason Kreis and Garth Lagerwey hoped he would for RSL. In his first season in MLS, the big striker is fourth in the league in scoring and already has two multiple-goal games. And he scores with his head, his feet, his chest – you name it. Sure, he'll probably be rewarded with Newcomer of the Year by the time the year is done. But "Sabo" deserves to be in Houston, too.
What does Conor Casey need to do to earn respect and recognition this year? As this past weekend proved, he's always a dangerous goalscorer, and—once again—he finds himself in the mix for the Budweiser Golden Boot as we enter the halfway point of the season. Just when the poor lad had gotten over his World Cup snub—and yes, the Yanks coud have used him in South Africa—he's now been left out in the cold for the All-Star Game. And though I understand the other picks, can you honestly say any striker other than Buddle is having a better season than Casey?
It is not even open to argument that FC Dallas winger Brek Shea has had a better season than Houston’s Brad Davis. Shea will cover more ground, he’ll run all day and he has even shown he’s capable of being a threat in front of goal. Especially with a forward line that will see Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle play limited minutes, it would have helped to have another goal-scoring option. Speedy Manchester United winger Gabriel Obertan played on the right flank for the Red Devils on Friday vs. Celtic. Shea would have been able to keep up with the Frenchman. But Davis?
Stephen Strasburg isn’t the only D.C. youngster folks wanted to see in the All-Star game. Part of me seriously wants to see what Andy Najar can do against Manchester United after a promising first half of 2010. No, he hasn’t all together earned this selection anymore than, say, Jeff Larentowicz or Brad Davis, but is there any other youngster in the league you’d like see test his mettle against one of the best clubs in the world? If MLS (and maybe US soccer, for that matter) are pinning its hopes to young playmakers like Najar, let’s see them on the biggest stage. Just like Strasburg: bring the heat.
Alvaro Saborio’s omission from the All-Star team is puzzling. The Costa Rican newcomer has seven goals and four assists in 16 games, and he has been the most-impressive player for one of the league’s best teams and certainly seems like a candidate for Newcomer of the Year. Sure, there are already four other RSL players on the roster but that shouldn’t be held against him, especially with a Goals v. Shots on Goal average hovering around 50 percent Hopefully his omission wasn’t a case of him being cut to meet a quota.