The 2005 All-Star Game snubs
11 from the voting system, five picked by the All-Star coach, plus two Commissioner's selections -- rather than between 36 and 40 for an East vs. West type of affair, it's not a case where there are a dozen players who should feel left out.
But, of course, there are a few snubs, as always. At least in my mind there are. If you happened to read the piece I wrote two weeks ago on ESPN.com naming my starting XI for the July 30 match against Fulham FC, you can already guess the names I'm about to throw out there to go along with a handful of others who are deserve the right to visit Katzinger's Deli in Columbus over the All-Star weekend.
Before we get to those, we must start with Brad Davis of the San Jose Earthquakes. Somebody explain this one. All he's done is revitalize Dom Kinnear's midfield after the side lost Landon Donovan, Richard Mulrooney, Ramiro Corrales and Ronnie Ekelund from a year ago. His eight assists lead the league and his all-around excellence caught the eyes of Bruce Arena for a call-up to the U.S. national team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. If there's a reason to be outraged with one snubbing, this is the one. (Quakes fans can't buy a break, can they?)
Michael Parkhurst of the Revolution deserves to at least be a substitute. Not a perfect half-season, I agree. A few uneven performances over the past six weeks or so, I'll give you that. However, how does a player who has stepped in as a rookie to play as the lone center back in a 3-5-2 for arguably the top team in the league (when the full roster is together), that has allowed less goals (15) than everyone else, not get a spot? We love ya, Eddie Pope, but this hasn't been your year. If Pope's ankle doesn't get better, Parkhurst should be the one to get the call.
Moving on, what about Chris Klein? The Kansas City Wizards veteran has been dominant on the right side of the midfield all season long. What's amazing is that he only has six assists. With better finishing, he'd be well on his way to taking on Carlos Valderrama's MLS record of 26 he set in 2000 with Colorado come the second half of the season.
I'll be able to sleep at night over Jeff Cunningham not being selected for this team despite leading the league in goals with eight. But it doesn't sit well seeing Nate Jaqua's name missing from the All-Star list. Would Chicago be leading the East without this third-year striker? Of course not. He belongs.
The only other name I'll throw out there just to help fuel the discussions that always follow in the aftermath of an all-star roster announcement, is that of Chicago Fire rookie Gonzalo Segares. Getting to the All-Star Game isn't predicated on stats, but when you somehow score three goals to go with two assists in only 11 games as a defender, it seems as though you're doing just fine.
What I am happy to see is that Commissioner Don Garber didn't add a player from Chivas USA just to make sure that all 12 teams were represented. His selections of New England's Taylor Twellman and D.C.'s Christian Gomez are hard to argue with. Twellman would probably be leading the league in goals had he not missed several matches with a hamstring injury, and Gomez is pure class.
You know very well that you figured he'd select Freddy Adu, right? You know you did. OK, at least, I did. If Garber was to go that route and make a "novelty" selection, I was hoping to see it go to the MetroStars' Youri Djorkaeff since he's still as fun to watch as he ever was.
What's probably most important is that MLS has a strong roster in order to give Fulham FC a good match. A club team with players who know each other well and involved in a system that is tried and true should always beat a collection of all-stars. Yet, when you consider that seven of the starting 11 players and five of the seven reserves have been in with the U.S. national team, it's clear to see that this won't exactly be a side that is foreign to each other.
It'll be a good match on July 30. I don't doubt that. I just wish a few different players were involved than the one's selected.
All-Star snubs. Every league has them on an annual basis. What fun would All-Star season be without them?
Marc Connolly writes for ESPN.com and several other publications. This column runs each Wednesday on MLSnet.com and Marc can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.