Major League Soccer announced Monday that Crew goalkeeper Jon Busch is one of seven players named to the final 18-man roster for the Eastern Conference for the 2004 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game to be played on Saturday, July 31, at RFK Stadium in Washington D.C.
Busch joins The Crew's Frankie Hejduk on the East All-Star team. Hejduk was voted one of the 11 starters for the East that was announced last week.
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 do 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 Lamar Hunt 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 five shutouts and a 1.14 goals-against-average thus far in 2004.
"It is very exciting being named to the All-Star team," said Busch. "To me it's not an individual award. It's an honor to represent The Crew organization and the players who have done a great job helping me get there."
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 while starting in nine matches. Known for his tireless work rate on the right flank since being selected to his first All-Star Game back in 1998, the two-time World Cup veteran is arguably the best right flank player in MLS and his performances have made him a regular and dependable member of the U.S. National Team.
East Head Coach Peter Nowak (D.C. United) and West Head Coach Sigi Schmid (Los Angeles Galaxy) named a combined total of 13 reserve selections in addition to the pair of "Commissioner's Picks" (one per conference) selected by MLS Commissioner Don Garber. The League's midsummer showcase will be televised nationally, live on ABC Sports beginning at 2 p.m. (ET).
The other reserve selections in the East are four D.C. United players (Bobby Convey, Alecko Eskandarian, Ben Olsen and Freddy Adu), while New England will be represented at the Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game by rookie Clint Dempsey and Pat Noonan. The West reserves include four Kansas City Wizards players (Jimmy Conrad, Chris Klein, Josh Wolff and Kerry Zavagnin), two Los Angeles Galaxy stars (Kevin Hartman and Jovan Kirovski) and MLS' all-time leading goal scorer Jason Kreis (Dallas Burn). Galaxy defender Danny Califf was also named to the squad but will not be able to participate due to injury and will not count against the West roster. Adu and Kreis are the respective Commissioner's Picks for the East and West squad.
With the inclusion of New England and Kansas City players among the All-Star reserves, every one of MLS' 10 teams will be represented on July 31. D.C. United will have a League-high total of six players at the event, followed by Chicago Fire, San Jose Earthquakes and Los Angeles Galaxy with five players each. The Kansas City Wizards (4), MetroStars (3), Dallas Burn (3), New England Revolution (2), Columbus Crew (2) and Colorado Rapids (1) round out the affiliation of all 36 players.
Eight of the 15 reserve selections received their first career All-Star selection, joining 10 other first-time All-Stars from the list of starters unveiled on Friday, July 9.