United irked by lack of defensive nods on All-Star ballot
WASHINGTON – With a league-high 31 goals to their credit, it figures that D.C. United’s attack would be well represented on the Major League Soccer all-star ballot. No team in MLS had more midfielder players (four) nominated than the Black-and-Red, and it’s impossible to argue the merits of the club’s two forward nominees in Dwayne De Rosario and Maicon Santos.
But with offensive players drawing a majority of the attention, the D.C. defense was shut out. Not a single United defender earned an All-Star nomination; this from a team tied for first place in the Eastern Conference.
“I don’t think anybody is happy about it,” said central back Brandon McDonald (above), who leads the unit in minutes played. “Looking at it, I was pretty disappointed. I think being in first place, there should have been at least one of us on there.”
Despite the club’s standing atop the table, the early portions of 2012 have been a test for the D.C. back four. Injuries forced the unit to overcome constant shuffling through much of April and May, as only McDonald and Daniel Woolard managed to become fixtures in the starting XI. Despite the inconsistencies in personnel, United rank in the top half of the Eastern Conference with 1.29 goals allowed per match.
The slight becomes more obvious when looking at the rest of Major League Soccer’s ballot. Houston – who have a GAA of 1.53 – lead the league with three defensive nominations. In fact, D.C. were the only MLS team without a defender nominated at all.
“It was very disappointing because we’ve had some very consistent players,” added goalkeeper Bill Hamid, who did earn a nomination for the July 25 showdown against Chelsea in Philadelphia. “Daniel Woolard has stayed healthy and Brandon McDonald has stayed healthy so they are definitely deserving of it.”
While some players acknowledged disappointment, others hardly registered the oversight.
“I don’t care,” said veteran Robbie Russell. “As long as we are in first place, I’ll take that over All-Star balloting any day.”