Fans begin to cast their votes for 2005 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game

NEW YORK - Fans can now cast their votes for the MLS All-Stars who will take the field against English Premier League club Fulham FC in the 2005 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game. On July 30, "MLS All-Stars Take on the World" as Major League Soccer's best take on Fulham FC at Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio in a game televised nationally on ABC Sports (3:30 p.m. ET). Fans can vote for the starting XI by filling out the online ballot on the League's official website until Friday, July 8, 2005.

Fans can vote for 11 starting players from a pool of 144 total candidates via the online ballot - one goalkeeper, three defenders, five midfielders and two forwards. A maximum of 10 ballots may be submitted per person per day and there are no limits on how many days fans can vote. The online fan balloting will comprise 25 percent of the total, with MLS coaches and GMs (25 percent), media (25 percent) and players (25 percent) accounting for the remainder. Earlier this season, each MLS team nominated 12 players from their team for the All-Star Game ballot.

The coach of the MLS All-Star squad will be the MLS coach with the best record (most total points) in League play following games played on Monday, July 4. The standard MLS tiebreakers will determine the coach if two or more teams are tied at that time. The All-Star starters and reserves will be announced on Wednesday, July 13 with the head coach selecting five of the players and the final two being Commissioner selections.

The game on July 30 against Fulham will mark the second time in three seasons that the League's best players battle one of the world's top clubs in the new format for the Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game, which was adopted to ensure the most competitive All-Star spectacle in U.S. professional sports. In 2003, the MLS All-Stars downed storied Mexican club CD Guadalajara 3-1 at The Home Depot Center.

Fulham, one of the oldest clubs in world soccer dating back to 1879, is owned by Chairman Mohamed Al Fayed and coached by Welsh manager Chris Coleman. The team, which makes its home in London's renowned Craven Cottage, features U.S. internationals and former MLS All-Stars Brian McBride (Columbus Crew) and Carlos Bocanegra (Chicago Fire), as well several other high profile internationals in its ranks: Dutch goalkeeper Edwin van der Sar, Canadian star forward Tomasz Radzinski, the second highest all-time goal scorer in the Premiership, Andrew Cole, and Senegalese international midfielder Papa Bouba Diop.

McBride played in seven consecutive All-Star Games during his MLS career (1996 - 2002) and won Honda MVP honors for his 1998 performance for the MLS U.S. squad. He totaled five goals and eight assists in All-Star history and is tied for the all-time lead in both categories. Bocanegra, who also joined Fulham in January 2004, played in two consecutive All-Star matches (2002-2003) and registered the game-winning assist on Carlos Ruiz's goal in the 3-1 win by the MLS All-Stars over CD Guadalajara. Bocanegra is a two-time winner of the MLS Defender of the Year award.

2005 All-Star Key Dates:
July 4 - MLS All-Star head coach is determined (MLS coach with the best regular season record based on total points)
July 8 - Online fan balloting ends
July 13 - MLS All-Star Starters and Reserves announced
July 30 - Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game at Columbus Crew Stadium

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