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MLS All-Star team finalized; where were the “snubs”?

Jul 16, 2012, 10:10 AM EDT

Columbus Crew v New England Revolution Getty Images

Major League Soccer finalized its All-Star roster Sunday, adding seven names to the fans’ choices.

D. C. United manager Ben Olsen, in charge of the All-Stars for the July 25 match against Chelsea, added five names: Goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, midfielders Osvaldo Alonso and Kyle Beckerman and forwards Eddie Johnson and Chris Pontius.

Then commissioner Don Garber added two more Commissioner’s picks, both defenders: Philadelphia’s Carlos Valdes and San Jose’s Ramiro Corrales.

Valdes was added because he plays for the host club, Philadelphia, which didn’t have a player otherwise. (Well, also because Valdes is a quality center back; but having a Union player involved was the tipping point, of course.) And Corrales is the last remaining “96er,” the final man still playing from Major League Soccer’s debut year. There are better left-sided players, but it’s hard to argue the pick.

So the MLS roster looks like this:

Goalkeepers: Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA), Jimmy Nielsen (Sporting Kansas City)

Defenders: Steven Beitashour (San Jose Earthquakes), Aurélien Collin (Sporting Kansas City), Ramiro Corrales (San Jose Earthquakes), Jay DeMerit (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Heath Pearce (New York Red Bulls), Carlos Valdes (Philadelphia Union)

Midfielders: Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders FC), David Beckham (LA Galaxy), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Forwards: Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Pontius (D.C. United), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

Now for the “snubs.” A trio I would like to have seen at PPL Park next week:

New York’s Dax McCarty

The Red Bulls sit third in the East, and no one has done more than the team’s ridiculously busy holding midfielder to get the injury-battered club there. Thierry Henry certainly has contributed mightily, but the DP striker just hasn’t been around as much. McCarty has played all but six minutes this year, and his work rate and steady distribution is the very engine of this team. Henry has missed 8 of 19 starts so far, and McCarty was more responsible than anyone else as Hans Backe’s team has kept right on grinding, scooping up just enough points without their top man.

Columbus’ Andy Gruenebaum

What a story this guy has been. The longtime backup to William Hesmer has demonstrated everything you’d want in a starting goalkeeper, doing all the little things to communicate with his defenders and handling all the routine plays. Meanwhile, he’s been a shot-stopping beast, keeping Columbus in games repeatedly with the big save. The Crew has just 17 goals in 17 games, 18th of 19 teams in MLS. But thanks to Gruenebaum’s heroic stuff between the pipes, Robert Warzycha’s team remains within the playoff contention zone.

San Jose’s Marvin Chavez

As it is, San Jose has three of 18 All-Star roster spots, so I get it. Four is just too many. Still, Chavez’s work deserves recognition (even if it’s just in places like this blog). The speedy two-way midfielder has been the “final piece” in a lot of ways at Buck Shaw, an effective wing presence whose speed can stretch defenses vertically and across the field. Wondolowski can clearly score goals, but he’s more effective with steady service and when defenders have to come out of the middle, reducing the crowd and cluster effect closer to goal. Chavez, easily one of the top off-season pickups, coming over in a lopsided trade from Dallas, is just the man to do that – and San Jose has the league’s best record as a result of it all.

  1. teamperkins11 - Jul 16, 2012 at 1:00 PM

    I completely agree with Marvin Chavez as an omission and I think another argument could be made for Victor Bernardez, the SJ centerback. I think both were more deserving based on their performance on the field than Corrales, though honoring Corrales is a great thing to do. The hardest part in selecting players off the Earthquakes is that while Wondo scores a lot of the goals, it has been a complete team effort behind that so how do you give proper recognition in an all-star game. Either the team would be flooded with Quakes or there are going to be omissions. It would have been fun to see what Chavez’s speed could have done on the wings and how Bernardez would have held down the middle.

  2. Steve Davis - Jul 16, 2012 at 1:47 PM

    In my opinion, Bernardez is a better center back than Carlos Valdes (and probably the other two All-Star starters, for that matter). But he DID miss seven games due to injury, and that makes him a lot harder to justify. Plus, as stated, the Earthquakes quota was pretty much full.

    • teamperkins11 - Jul 16, 2012 at 1:51 PM

      Henry has missed 7 games as well, though I think Henry has a little bit more star power than Bernardez.

  3. tylerbetts - Jul 16, 2012 at 3:07 PM

    It’s really difficult to find a true snub to All-Star games anymore. But I’m glad you included Andy Gruenebaum on your list. I know there are a lot of ways to measure statistics for a GK, but Andy is not only near (or at) the top for just about all of them, he also passes the eye test. It’s also important to remember that Andy’s done a vast majority of his work this season without Chad Marshall on the pitch.

    • east96st - Jul 16, 2012 at 11:35 PM

      No only missing Chad, but also dealing with inexperienced players on defense, dealing with a coach who undermines his goalie by continuously changing the defensive line up and playing defenders out of position — including the inexplicable move of having a midfielder play defense while sitting a healthy defender who had started 50 plus games, and absolutely no support from his offense. The pressure on Andy has been back breaking because the Crew simply can’t put the ball into the net – even when it’s an open shot! This is not a “snub”, it’s a mistake. The guy has earned a spot on the team.

      • tylerbetts - Jul 17, 2012 at 9:34 PM

        Don’t get me started on Warzycha. I could be here for a while if I started in on him.

  4. bishopofblunder - Jul 16, 2012 at 9:29 PM

    No love for Dax. Oh well, nothing new there. Unfortunately, he belongs to the “very solid but not flashy enough to be noticed” club. A shame, really.

    • Steve Davis - Jul 17, 2012 at 1:21 PM

      Huh? Bish of Blun, did you read this post? I suspect not — since McCarty was one of three men that this post was all about.

      • bishopofblunder - Sep 14, 2012 at 9:23 PM

        Sorry Steve, I meant no love from the all-star voters. Obviously, you appreciate Dax.

  5. slxc - Jul 17, 2012 at 4:38 PM

    Esa lista no sirve, Donde esta Marco Pappa??

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