It’s why All-Star squad selections create such great debate in any sport: the snubs.
There are invariably a handful of players who are left on the outside looking in because the manager just has his own preferences.
Granted, New York Red Bulls and All-Star manager Hans Backe had a tougher-than-normal assignment to pick his game-day roster, given the fans voted in four players who cannot participate beacuse of CONCACAF Champions League or injury: Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Kasey Keller (Seattle Sounders), Rafa Márquez (New York Red Bulls) and Brek Shea (FC Dallas).
That justifies Backe's naming Heath Pearce (Chivas USA), Corey Ashe (Houston Dynamo) and Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), who offer cover at multiple positions. That’s why it's difficult to argue for the selection of Carlos Valdés (Philadelphia Union), Sheanon Williams (Philadelphia Union) or Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew).
The biggest issue that Backe faces is that the MLS All-Star gameday roster is overloaded with central midfielders and virtually no wingers with pace outside of Landon Donovan and Omar Bravo. In their 4-1 win over the New England Revolution, Manchester United showed a propensity for attacks and overlapping runs down the flanks led by Ashley Young, Nani and the da Silva twins.
That lack of a true wide attacking player, who also offers defensive cover, makes one particular Frenchman the No. 1 snub this year.
#5 Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA) – The Goats netminder did not have the drop of form that Houston’s Tally Hall experienced earlier this season. He may not have some of Hall’s instinctive reflexes, but his steadiness arguably makes him more attractive in a match which will undoubtedly feature high-pressure situations.
#4 Benny Feilhaber (New England Revolution) – His team may not be enjoying the best of seasons, but there is no question about the level of skill, composure and experience Feilhaber brings to the table. His ideas in attack would have made him useful, especially off the bench. What’s good enough for the national team is good enough for the All-Stars in this case.
#3 Charlie Davies (D.C. United) – While Omar Cummings has a skill set that is difficult to replicate this year, he’s coming off a recent injury and is not exactly peaking into form. D.C. United’s forward would have made a better option as a pure center forward with Chris Wondolowski the only real No. 9 on the current roster.
#2 Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United) – It would have probably made for one seriously awkward situation for Backe to have called up De Rosario to the All-Star Game. But the Canadian’s creativity and his ability to attack from anywhere on the field – he can line up at support forward or attacking midfielder – would have proven invaluable.
#1 Sébastien Le Toux (Philadelphia Union) – Sure, the Frenchman and 2010 MVP candidate is nowhere near the 14 goals he scored last year, but that’s no fault of his. He’s played more of a winger than at forward this year and still has an engine that is unmatched around the league. If there’s one player who can keep up with Ashley Young and out run Patrice Evra, it’s Le Toux.