Four Wizards named to All-Star team
honoring the past, present and future of MLS," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. "The selection of the league's all-time leading goal scorer in our nine-year history and the inclusion of one of the top youth prospects in the world helps recognize the founders of this league and celebrates the promise the future holds."
Both Schmid and Eastern Conference coach Peter Nowak of D.C. United stuck with players they know in choosing their reserves, with each coach selecting three players from his own squad. Including the starters, both United and the Galaxy have six All-Stars, the most of any team.
Nowak will have three United strikers on his roster as Alecko Eskandarian -- who split time with Adu early in the season but now leads United with six goals -- joins Adu and All-Star starter Jaime Moreno on the East roster. Also selected for the All-Star Game were United midfielders Bobby Convey and Ben Olsen.
In the West, Schmid picked from the Galaxy goalkeeper Kevin Hartman, striker Jovan Kirovski and defender Danny Califf. Hartman has helped cover for an often injury-stricken Galaxy back line, while Kirovski has scored six goals in making a nearly seamless transition to MLS after several years in Europe. Califf, who has been hampered by injuries all season and has made just seven appearances for the Galaxy in 2004, will miss the All-Star Game due to a torn meniscus in his left knee. As a result, Schmid was allowed an extra reserve selection.
The four non-Galaxy reserves for the Western Conference all come from the Kansas City Wizards, the team most notably absent from the starting lineups that were announced Thursday. Both Chris Klein, who is currently tied for second in the league in assists with six, and Kerry Zavagnin were selected for midfield duty, while Jimmy Conrad, the heart of the Wizards' back line, and striker Josh Wolff were also chosen.
Among the West reserves, Conrad, Kirovski and Zavagnin have been selected to the league honor for the first time. Wolff and Klein were selected to the All-Star Game for the second time, while Hartman celebrates his third and Kreis was honored with the seventh selection of his career.
Rounding out the reserves in the East are midfielder Clint Dempsey and forward Pat Noonan of the New England Revolution -- another team absent from the starting lineup -- and Columbus Crew goalkeeper Jon Busch. Dempsey, who has quickly become a fixture in the Revs' first XI in his first season, joins Adu as the only rookies on either squad, while 2003 rookie sensation Noonan gets his first All-Star nod. Busch's strong play helped turn around the Crew's season after a rough start, and he now owns the fourth-best goals-against average in MLS.
Five of the East reserves -- Adu, Busch, Dempsey, Eskandarian and Noonan -- were selected to the All-Star Game for the first time. For Convey, it is his second, while Olsen was chosen for the fourth time.
Missing from the Western Conference reserve squad is Colorado Rapids 'keeper Joe Cannon. The 2002 Goalkeeper of the Year has a 0.93 goals-against average, good for second in the league to Wizards 'keeper Tony Meola (0.88), who also was not named to the West team. Davy Arnaud, the league's third-leading point-scorer thanks in part to a hat trick registered a week ago, was also left off Schmid's roster. In the East, Crew striker Jeff Cunningham missed out despite leading the Crew and being tied for second in the Eastern Conference with six goals.
Jason Halpin is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.