The people's choice: Landon Donovan
which accounts for 25 percent of the total balloting used to select the 11 starters that will square off with Fulham FC on July 30 in Columbus, Ohio (3:30 p.m. ET, ABC) -- ended Friday afternoon with Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy) leading all players on the ballot.
The remaining 75 percent of the vote (25 percent from general managers and coaches, 25 percent from players and 25 percent from media) will be combined with the fans' selections and the starting 11 will be announced on July 13.
Donovan appeared on 38.82 percent of all ballots cast and is joined in the midfield by fan selections Clint Dempsey (New England Revolution, 27.41 percent), Freddy Adu (D.C. United, 20.65 percent), Cobi Jones (Los Angeles Galaxy, 15.34 percent) and Ronnie O'Brien (FC Dallas, 15.25 percent).
Donovan leads the Galaxy this season with six goals and four assists. His numbers are not entirely representative of his importance to the team, however, since he has already missed significant time during the campaign due to national team call-ups. Dempsey has also been splitting time between club and country, the Texas native having made 12 appearances in the Revolution's first 15 games. That hasn't stopped him from racking up six tallies and seven assists to land him in sixth place on the Budweiser Golden Boot chart.
Adu, who became the youngest MLS All-Star last season after earning one of the commissioner's picks, has mostly been used as a substitute for D.C. United this season, only five of his 11 appearances coming as a starter. His fancy footwork and pace never fail to excite fans no matter where the Black-and-Red are playing. Jones is experiencing a surge in form this season that has helped the Galaxy become one of the best teams in the West. He has played in every game so far this season for L.A. and has scored three goals and added three assists. O'Brien also has been at the top of his game and the Irishman has five goals in 15 games including several of the highlight reel variety. He is also among the leaders in the league in assists with seven.
O'Brien's combination play with teammates Carlos Ruiz and Eddie Johnson helped that pair earn the top two forward selections by fans. Johnson appeared on 21.89 percent of the total ballots cast, while Ruiz was present on 19.35 percent. Both have missed several games this year through both injury and national team call-ups, but they are still among the most productive strikers around. Ruiz has seven goals and two assists in 11 games, while Johnson has five goals and one assist in nine games.
U.S. national team veteran and Real Salt Lake center back Eddie Pope leads the defensive fan selections. Just over 27 percent of ballots submitted included Pope. While RSL have struggled of late to find results, Pope's solid play in the back has helped the club to get moving. He also has scored one goal for John Ellinger's side.
The other two fan selections in defense are Columbus Crew veteran Frankie Hejduk (14.25 percent) and Chris Albright (12.22 percent). Both backs are known not only for their defensive capabilities, but they often also find themselves involved in the attack after long runs up the sidelines. Hejduk's tireless work ethic has kept him in the national team picture and often away from the club, while Albright received a setback when he sprained the MCL in his left knee and has played in only half of his club's 16 matches.
Shoring things up between the pipes for MLS fans is Revolution 'keeper Matt Reis. He has allowed only 14 goals in 15 games this season for New England, catching the eye of U.S. national team head coach Bruce Arena and being called into the Red, White and Blue for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Reis has seven shutouts, a 0.93 goals against average and a 9-5-1 record, the best in MLS.
FC Dallas head coach Colin Clarke and his staff will lead the All-Star team, an honor they received for being the top team in the league after last weekend's action. They will select five additional players that will make up the bench for the MLS All-Stars bench, along with two Commissioner's picks that will be chosen by Don Garber. The starters will be announced on Wednesday, with the announcement of the bench players to follow on Thursday.
The 2005 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game is scheduled for July 30 at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio, with kickoff set for 3:30 p.m. ET and the match being broadcast live on ABC. The MLS All-Stars will face stiff competition from English Premier League side Fulham FC, which also features former MLS stars Brian McBride and Carlos Bocanegra. Tickets for the MLS All-Star Game are on sale now.
Jonathan Nierman is a contributor to MLSnet.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Soccer or its clubs.