NEW YORK — Seattle Sounders goalkeeper Kasey Keller will be at the 2011 AT&T MLS All-Star Game after all.
Although players from the Sounders, FC Dallas and Toronto FC were ruled out from participating in the July 27 event due to CONCACAF Champions League preliminary-round commitments, the league will be making an exception for Keller, who was one of the fans’ original selections to the All-Star First XI and will get to experience his final All-Star Game before retiring at the end of this season.
“He’ll be the third goalkeeper and the 23rd player on the gameday roster,” an MLS spokesperson told MLSsoccer.com on Wednesday night. “The league had to look into getting the club’s permission and examine the feasibility of his traveling from Panama directly to [Red Bull Arena] in time for the day of the game.”
While Toronto FC host Real Estelí on the same day as the All-Star Game and FC Dallas play at El Salvador’s Alianza the day after, the Seattle Sounders have a first leg meeting at Panamanian side San Francisco FC the night before the MLS All-Stars play Manchester United.
Due to his travel the night before the All-Star Game, Keller will likely only suit up in the case of an injury or red card.
It won’t hurt the MLS All-Stars to have a third goalkeeper. During the 2009 edition against English Premier League side Everton, Keller was a starter and made way for Zach Thornton at halftime. However, the lack of a third ‘keeper meant that when Thornton suffered a right quad injury, Keller had to be subbed back into the match.
With Keller’s inclusion in the gameday roster, only three First XI selections made by the fans will miss out on the All-Star Game: Brek Shea (FC Dallas/Champions League), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy/injury) and Rafael Márquez (New York Red Bulls/injury).