Commissioner picks Bravo, Agudelo for All-Star squad
NEW YORK – Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber has selected New York Red Bulls forward Juan Agudelo and Sporting Kansas City captain Omar Bravo as 2011 AT&T MLS All-Stars.
The MLS All-Stars will take on reigning English Premier League champions Manchester United on July 27, 2011 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, New Jersey (8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN2, Galavisión, TSN2).
Agudelo, 18, burst on to the scene at the end of the 2010 MLS season after signing as a Homegrown Player from the Red Bulls Academy. Since then, he has established himself as one of the most exciting young forwards in the league. A native of Colombia who moved to New Jersey at age 8 and joined the Red Bulls Academy in 2007, he was the first graduate of the academy in the club’s history to make a first-team appearance.
The first MLS Homegrown player named to an MLS All-Star team, Agudelo has received significant playing time for the Red Bulls this season, scoring four goals in 14 appearances for the league’s highest-scoring team. He has also earned 10 caps with the US national team and scored two goals since making his international debut in November of 2010.
“Juan Agudelo is one of the bright young stars in Major League Soccer and a prime example of the benefits of the MLS Homegrown player initiative and our focus on MLS club academies,” Garber said. “Juan also is one of the most promising young US national team players and competing against one of the best clubs in the world is an important part of his development.”
One of the top goal scorers in Mexican soccer history, Bravo joined Sporting Kansas City as a Designated Player before the 2011 season, and the forward was named captain of the team midseason. Bravo has been a key figure in the club’s dramatic turnaround from the bottom of the standings in May to its current 10-game unbeaten streak in MLS play. He has played 12 games this season for Kansas City, scoring four goals and adding two assists.
Bravo has a terrific history in Mexico’s First Division, where he has scored more than 150 goals, and ranks second all-time in goals scored for Club Deportivo Guadalajara (Chivas). He also has 65 appearances with the Mexican National team, scoring 16 goals.
“Omar Bravo is a player with big-game experience, and that was a key factor in my decision to name him as one of my commissioner’s picks,” Garber said. “His quickness and unpredictable nature will create scoring chances, and that will be critical to our success against Manchester United.”
All-Star coach Hans Backe and his staff will select the entire game day roster, which will be announced on MLSsoccer.com this Monday, July 18. Backe will determine the starters for the 2011 AT&T MLS All-Star Game based on player availability and tactical considerations. Under the Collective Bargaining Agreement, a total of 32 players will be named All-Stars. After the gameday roster is announced, the remaining pool of 32 All-Stars will be selected by a combined vote from all players.
All-time list of Commissioner's Picks
2000 Luis Hernandez, Brian McBride
2001 Luis Hernandez, Santino Quaranta
2002 Marco Etcheverry, Joselito Vaca
2003 Mauricio Cienfuegos, Hong Myung-Bo
2004 Freddy Adu, Jason Kreis
2005 Christian Gomez, Taylor Twellman
2006 Alecko Eskandarian, Richard Mulrooney
2007 Cobi Jones, Eddie Pope
2008 Edson Buddle, Dwayne De Rosario
2009 Kyle Beckerman, Javier Morales
2010 Brian Ching, Jaime Moreno