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Donovan leads All-Star fan balloting

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    San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Landon Donovan leads all players, while a pair of MetroStars lead their respective positions in the latest fan balloting for the 2004 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game, set to be played on July 31 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C.

    The 22-year-old Donovan has been selected on more than 55 percent of the ballots submitted online at Major League Soccer's official website, MLSnet.com, the only player who has been named on more than half of the selections for the match between the Eastern Conference and the Western Conference.

    Two members of the MetroStars - defender Eddie Pope and goalkeeper Jonny Walker - lead at their positions, Pope garnering the second-most votes on the ballots submitted. The forward position is led by Carlos Ruiz of the Los Angeles Galaxy.

    Fan balloting will account for 25 percent of the final selection of the teams for the 2004 All-Star Game, with the remainder coming in equal parts from voting by the league's players (25%), coaches and general managers (25%), and the media (25%).

    Fans are asked to select 16 players in all: two goalkeepers, five defenders, five midfielders and four forwards. The starters for both conferences will be announced on July 6, with each starting team set out in a 4-4-2 formation. The reserves for each team will be announced on July 9.

    At the midfield position, Donovan is followed by three players from the Eastern Conference - a pair of Chicago Fire standouts in DaMarcus Beasley (second, 47% of all ballots) and Chris Armas (fourth, 24%), and D.C. United's Bobby Convey (third, 30%). Rounding out the top five from Eastern Conference clubs are Amado Guevara of the MetroStars (sixth, 18%) and the Chicago Fire's Andy Williams (eighth, 14%).

    After Donovan, a pair from the Los Angeles Galaxy are next among Western Conference midfielders - Andreas Herzog (fifth, 22%) and Cobi Jones (seventh, 14%). Ronnie O'Brien of the Dallas Burn (11th, 12%) and the Earthquakes' Richard Mulrooney (14th, 10%).

    Among defenders, after Pope, three different clubs are represented among the top Eastern Conference vote-getters. Frankie Hejduk is second overall among defenders (34% of all ballots), followed by Jim Curtin of the Chicago Fire (fifth, 20%) and D.C. United's Ryan Nelsen (eighth, 16%). The top five in the East is rounded out by the Fire's C.J. Brown (10th, 11%).

    The Western Conference also has players from different clubs in the top four vote-getters from that division among defenders: Pablo Mastroeni of the Colorado Rapids (third, 33%), Jeff Agoos of the San Jose Earthquakes (fourth, 25%), the Los Angeles Galaxy's Chris Albright (sixth, 19%) and Cory Gibbs of the Dallas Burn (seventh, 19%). Danny Califf of the Galaxy completes the Western top five defenders (ninth, 14%).

    At the forward position, both halves of the Los Angeles Galaxy strike force are in the top four, Ruiz (44% of all ballots) and Jovan Kirovski (fourth, 25%). Both halves of the San Jose Earthquakes forward partnership are also in the Western Conference's top five - Brian Ching (sixth, 21%) and Dwayne De Rosario (12th, 12%). The top five in the West is completed by Josh Wolff of the Kansas City Wizards (eighth, 20%).

    The Chicago Fire and D.C. United also have two forwards each in the top five vote-getters at forward in the Eastern Conference. Damani Ralph (second, 35%) and Ante Razov (fifth, 21%) are both in the top five of all strikers, while United has Freddy Adu (third, 28%) and Jaime Moreno (ninth, 17%). The East's top five is rounded out by the New England Revolution's Taylor Twellman (seventh, 20%).

    Two of the top three vote-getters between the posts are in the Eastern Conference, Walker, listed on 27% of all ballots and Chicago Fire 'keeper Henry Ring (25%). They are followed by three Western Conference 'keepers - Kevin Hartman of the Los Angeles Galaxy (23%), the Kansas City Wizards' Tony Meola (22%) and Pat Onstad of the San Jose Earthquakes (21%). Rounding out the East's top three is Jon Busch of the Columbus Crew (12%).

    This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.


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