CHESTER, Pa. – Saturday's announcement of the 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Fan XI brought positive vibes to the Philadelphia Union locker room, as two of their own were selected.
Goalkeeper Andre Blake and fullback Keegan Rosenberry were both selected to their first All-Star games on Saturday night, marking just the second time in the club’s seven seasons that it’s had two selections.
“It’s excellent, it’s great for the club, because the Union logo will be on display against [All-Star opponents] Arsenal. That’s a special thing,” Union head coach Jim Curtin said. “I think Keegan and Andre getting rewarded is a product of a good team, though. If the team plays well and the team has success, individuals will start to get recognition.”
It’s a testament to the Union’s faith in youth that their All-Stars are the two youngest players on the Fan XI.
Rosenberry is the first rookie to be named an MLS All-Star since 2013, and is only the second since 2005. The No. 3 draft pick in the 2016 SuperDraft, he’s the only Union player – and the only rookie in MLS – to play every minute of the season thus far.
A 22-year-old from Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the Georgetown product has won praise for his ability to get forward on the right wing while also successfully marking some of the league's top attacking players.
“Exciting, obviously, and I’m thrilled. Wouldn’t have imagined it coming into my first year, of course,” he said. “[The season has been] better than I imagined, for sure. I think my family was maybe more excited than I was when the draft occurred, but yeah, it’s been everything I dreamed of.”
Blake, the No. 1 pick in the 2014 SuperDraft, recorded his fourth shutout of the season and sixth clean sheet of the season on Saturday night as the Union blanked D.C. United 3-0.
The 25-year-old Jamaican 'keeper isn’t just content to go to San Jose, however. He wants to impress against one of the best clubs in the world when the MLS All-Stars take on Arsenal in San Jose on July 28.
“Making the All-Star team is definitely a great achievement for me. But more importantly is not just to make the All-Star team for me, but it’s about going there and performing,” he said. “I’ll stay quiet for now and I’ll keep working at it and hopefully I can go there and be successful.”