COLUMBUS, Ohio - Major League Soccer announced today that Crew defender Robin Fraser is one of four players added to the Eastern Conference roster for the 2004 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game to be played on Saturday, July 31, at 2 p.m. (ET) at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C. The game will be televised live on ABC Sports.
"Obviously it's an honor to be named to any all-star team," said Fraser. "It really speaks a great deal about our team. I know it's an individual honor but it helps when your team does well. It truly is a tribute to everyone who works so hard in front of us."
In addition to Fraser, the East has also added D.C. United midfielder Dema Kovalenko and New England Revolution teammates Steve Ralston and Shalrie Joseph.
The four standouts replace two previously named East starters - D.C. United defender Ryan Nelsen and former Chicago Fire winger DaMarcus Beasley - as well as reserves Clint Dempsey (New England Revolution) and former United midfielder Bobby Convey on what will be the final 17-man roster for the 2004 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game. East Head coach Peter Nowak will determine the remaining two slots in his starting lineup later in the week, as well as unveil the name of the East captain.
West Head Coach Sigi Schmid will also be forced to field 17 players in the midsummer exhibition, as Colorado Rapids midfielder Pablo Mastroeni will miss the next 4-6 weeks due to an injured left quadriceps. Schmid will also announce his captain and starting lineup later in the week.
Fraser will join The Crew's Frankie Hejduk and Jon Busch on the East All-Star team. Hejduk was voted one of the 11 starters for the East and Busch was named as a reserve.
Fraser returns to the MLS All-Star festivities for the first time (fifth overall) since the 2000 season, when he was a member of the West representing the Los Angeles Galaxy. Fraser, 37, has been the rock in a Crew defense that has allowed just 17 goals in 16 games this year. One of only two 2004 All-Stars to have participated in the Inaugural 1996 MLS All-Star Game (Jeff Agoos), Fraser is a four-time MLS Best XI selection and currently ranks seventh on the all-time MLS games played list. He was also the 1999 MLS Defender of the Year.
Busch is making his first All-Star appearance, and despite being among the shortest goalkeepers in MLS today, Busch commands his penalty area like few others in MLS. Since winning the starting job in 2002, when he registered the second lowest goals-against-average in the League (1.09) and played every minute en route to the U.S. Open Cup championship, Busch has exhibited the reflexes and alertness which have made him one of the toughest goalkeepers to beat. A former A-League Goalkeeper of the Year and a college standout with the University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Busch has six shutouts and a 1.06 goals-against-average thus far in 2004.
The 2004 All-Star Game will mark Hejduk's second consecutive All-Star selection since returning to MLS last year after his time in the German Bundesliga. Although elected as a defender, the versatile Hejduk has assumed more of a midfield role with the Crew this year and he has been able to contribute two goals. Known for his tireless work rate on the flank since being selected to his first All-Star Game back in 1998, the two-time World Cup veteran is arguably the best flank player in MLS and his performances have made him a regular on the U.S. National Team.
The 2004 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game featuring MLS All-Stars, as well as the MLS Celebration Game honoring the legacy of the 1994 World Cup, is currently on sale.