On Monday, Peter Vermes revealed three players that will be in the Starting XI on Wednesday against AS Roma in the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game: Thierry Henry, Graham Zusi and Raúl Fernández.
Vermes also made it clear that each player will be participating in the game, whether it be a half or the entire game. Since both Robbie Keane and Tim Cahill will miss the game due to injury, two players on the 20-man game day roster will have to play the full 90 minutes.
Given the fact that each MLS All-Star will be involved in a game on Saturday, except Omar Gonzalez and Landon Donovan (whose LA Galaxy have a bye this weekend), Gonzalez should be a lock to go the distance on Wednesday night — especially since he made only a cameo appearance in Sunday's Gold Cup final. Donovan, on the other hand, will likely be subbed on at halftime after playing such a big role for the US national team over the past few weeks.
This brings us to the dilemma at fullback. Some of you might be wondering how Vermes is going to split time between Tony Beltran, Corey Ashe and DeAndre Yedlin. Given the fact that Yedlin didn't arrive in Kansas City until Monday night, I don't see him being included in the Starting XI.
This means that Corey Ashe and Tony Beltran should be the starters. Since Beltran has yet to serve his one-game suspension for the red card he received against Toronto FC on June 29, I see him going the full 90 minutes as well.
With Gonzalez and Beltran expected to go the distance, every other player should be on the field somewhere between 30-60 minutes. All players will reunite with their individual teams on Thursday, except for Zusi, Aurélien Collin, Matt Besler and Henry, who will not be affected by additional travel arrangements.
Here are my predictions on the Starting XI and second-half substitutions. I've also included each player's regular-season fixture for Saturday to help you better understand the traveling that's involved.
- Raúl Fernández - Starting XI, subbed OFF at 60-minute mark, away vs. Seattle Sounders
- Nick Rimando - Substitute, subbed ON at 60-minute mark, away vs. Colorado Rapids
- Corey Ashe - Starting XI, subbed OFF at half, home vs. Columbus Crew
- Tony Beltran - Starting XI, full 90 minutes, away vs. Colorado Rapids (suspended)
- Matt Besler - Substitute, subbed ON at half, home vs. New York
- Aurélien Collin - Starting XI, full 90 minutes, home vs. New York
- Omar Gonzalez - Starting XI, suubed OFF at half, bye week
- DeAndre Yedlin - Substitute, subbed ON at half, home vs. FC Dallas
- Kyle Beckerman - Substitute, subbed ON at half, away vs. Colorado Rapids
- Patrice Bernier - Substitute, subbed ON at half, away vs. D.C. United
- Brad Davis - Substitute, subbed ON at half, home vs. Columbus Crew
- Will Johnson - Starting XI, subbed OFF at half, home vs. Vancouver Whitecaps
- Mike Magee - Starting XI, subbed OFF at half, away vs. Philadelphia Union
- Graham Zusi - Starting XI, subbed OFF at half, home vs. New York
- Marco Di Vaio - Starting XI, subbed OFF at half, away vs. D.C. United
- Landon Donovan - Substitute, subbed ON at 55-minute mark, bye week
- Thierry Henry - Starting XI, subbed OFF at 55-minute mark, away vs. Sporting KC
- Jack McInerney - Substitute, subbed ON at half, home vs. Chicago Fire
- Camilo Sanvezzo - Starting XI, subbed OFF at half, away vs. Portland Timbers
- Chris Wondolowski - Substitute, subbed ON at half, home vs. Chivas USA
Not playing due to injury - Tim Cahill, Robbie Keane
First Half: Raúl Fernández, Tony Beltran, Aurélien Collin, Omar Gonzalez, Corey Ashe; Mike Magee, Will Johnson, Graham Zusi; Camilo Sanvezzo, Marco Di Vaio, Thierry Henry
Second Half: Nick Rimando, DeAndre Yedlin, Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Tony Beltran; Landon Donovan, Kyle Beckerman, Patrice Bernier, Brad Davis; Jack McInerney, Chris Wondolowski