Major League Soccer today announced the starting lineup for the MLS All-Star squad that will face English Premier League club Fulham FC at the 2005 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game on Saturday, July 30 in Columbus Crew Stadium (live on ABC Sports at 3:30 p.m. ET):
GOALKEEPER (1): Matt Reis (New England Revolution)
DEFENDERS (3): Eddie Pope (Real Salt Lake), Greg Vanney (FC Dallas), Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Clint Dempsey (New England Revolution), Ronnie O'Brien (FC Dallas), Amado Guevara (MetroStars), Shalrie Joseph (New England Revolution)
FORWARDS (2): Carlos Ruiz (FC Dallas), Eddie Johnson (FC Dallas)
The following are select highlights of the starting XI:
ALL-STAR ATTACK LABELED FC DALLAS: The MLS All-Star attack is led by the FC Dallas forward tandem of Eddie Johnson and Carlos Ruiz;
ALL-STAR DEBUTANTS: Johnson joins goalkeeper Matt Reis as the only first-time All-Star selections;
FC DALLAS LEADS PACK: FC Dallas, currently in first place in the Western Conference, leads all teams with four players represented. The New England Revolution follow with three players selected. A total of six teams are represented in the starting lineup;
NATIONAL TEAM PLAYERS: The starting lineup will feature seven U.S. National Team players (Pope, Vanney, Conrad, Donovan, Dempsey, Johnson and Reis);
MVP SHOWING: Reigning Honda MVP Amado Guevara will anchor the All-Star team's midfield. The MetroStars midfielder is joined by three other 2004 RadioShack Best XI selections: Pope, Conrad, Guevara and O'Brien;
POPE'S RECORD-TYING SELECTION: With his ninth All-Star game selection, Real Salt Lake's Eddie Pope ties the current record for most career nominations (Jeff Agoos).
The starting XI was determined by online fan balloting (25 percent), media votes (25 percent), players (25 percent), and MLS coaches and GMs (25 percent). With each voting category counting for a quarter of the total votes, the formula used for determining the starters involved assigning 25 total points to each category for a possible total of 100 points. Therefore if a player received 50 percent of the votes in any category, he would earn 12.5 points for that category. For example, Donovan received 9.70 points for online balloting, which is 38.82 (total percentage of online votes) percent of 25. The voting totals were as follows:
|2005 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game Starters|
FC Dallas head coach Colin Clarke earned the honor of coaching the MLS side by virtue of leading his team to the highest point total in the League through Week 14. On Thursday, July 14, Clarke will select the five reserves who will join two other Commissioner's selections to comprise the 18-man MLS roster.
The 2005 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game offers four levels of ticket pricing, ranging from $25 to $45 for individuals. Tickets can be acquired at the Crew Stadium Box Office, at any area Ticketmaster outlet, via phone at 614-431-3600 or online at www.MLSnet.com and www.TheCrew.com. Group pricing is also available. For more information or to purchase group tickets call The Crew at 614-447-CREW.
Eddie Johnson -- Forward -- FC Dallas -- Born: March 31, 1984
Johnson, the 21-year old forward from FC Dallas, was arguably the hottest American soccer player during the early months of 2005. Johnson has an amazing seven goals in six World Cup qualifying matches (and eight goals in eight all-time appearances for the U.S.). Last season, he tied Brian Ching as the leading goal scorer in MLS (12 goals), making him the youngest player in MLS history to either have or share the league lead in goals. During his first four matches with the U.S. Men's National Team in 2004, Johnson banged in six goals-including three against Panama, a FIFA record for a player making his World Cup qualifying debut. The Bunnell, Fla. native has five goals and one assist in nine games with FC Dallas in 2005. He injured his toe (turf toe) on May 22 and has not played since, but he is expected to be ready for the July 30 match against Fulham. The 2005 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game will be Johnson's first All-Star appearance.
Carlos Ruiz -- Forward -- FC Dallas -- Born: September 15, 1979
Known as "The Little Fish" (Pescadito), Ruiz has scored the most goals in MLS in his three years in the League amassing 57 goals. The 25-year-old Ruiz scores goals in bunches, amassing 24 in 2002 and 15 in 2003 and 11 in 2004 for the Los Angeles Galaxy. His 57 goals have come in just 83 career matches. He has been named an All-Star in each of his first three seasons as well, earning All-Star Game MVP honors in 2003 as the MLS All-Stars defeated CD Guadalajara of Mexico 3-1 at The Home Depot Center. The Guatemalan forward had a banner year in 2002 as he was named the league's Honda Most Valuable Player and scored the game-winning goal at MLS Cup as the Galaxy won its first league championship in club history. Ruiz, who registered a hat trick in a 4-3 loss to Jamaica last Friday in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, will be making his fourth All-Star appearance.
Landon Donovan -- Midfielder -- Los Angeles Galaxy -- Born: March 4, 1982
The 23-year-old U.S. National Team star makes his fifth consecutive All-Star appearance, his first as a member of the Los Angeles Galaxy after four previous trips as a member of the San Jose Earthquakes. The multi-talented native of California continues to show his ability to decide games single-handedly, with sudden flashes of individual brilliance and darting runs in the opposition's half. Donovan returned to MLS in April after rejoining German Bundesliga club Bayer Leverkusen in November 2004. His 25 goals for the U.S. National Team rank third all-time. The 2001 All-Star MVP has six goals and four assists in 11 games with the Galaxy in 2005.
Clint Dempsey -- Midfielder -- New England Revolution -- Born: March 9, 1983
Dempsey is one of U.S. Soccer's brightest young stars. The 22-year-old's high work rate and aggressive style led to his selection as 2004 Gatorade MLS Rookie of the Year. The second-year player out of Nacogdoches, Texas has five goals and four assists in eight appearances in 2005 for the Revolution. The eighth overall selection in the 2004 MLS SuperDraft out of Furman University has also lit up the scoring column for the U.S. National Team recently, scoring goals against England in May and last week vs. Cuba at the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup. This is Dempsey's second consecutive MLS All-Star selection.
Ronnie O'Brien -- Midfielder -- FC Dallas -- Born: January 5, 1979
O'Brien, the 26-year old FC Dallas midfielder, has tallied five goals and seven assists in 15 appearances with FC Dallas this year. In 2004, he was one of three nominees for 2004 MLS Comeback Player of the Year award when he came back from a broken leg to tie for second among MLS assist leaders (10), ranked first on the squad in games started (29), first in minutes played (2,581) and second in shots (67). O'Brien, from Bray, Ireland, is making his second MLS All-Star appearance.
Amado Guevara -- Midfielder -- MetroStars Born: May 2, 1976
Guevara, the 29-year-old from Tegucigalpa, Honduras, is known throughout the CONCACAF region as one of the premier attacking midfielders. He currently leads the MetroStars with six goals and six assists for 18 points. He is coming off an award-winning 2004 campaign in which he was named the League's Honda Most Valuable Player. He also shared the League's points title, amassing 30 points on 10 goals and 10 assists. His 2004 season was capped off with a selection to the MLS Best XI. He scored twice and was named MVP of the 2004 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game and was also named to the 2003 MLS All-Star squad, his first of three consecutive All-Star appearances.
Shalrie Joseph -- Midfielder -- New England Revolution -- Born: May 24, 1978
One of the top defensive midfielders in MLS, the Grenada international possesses all the qualities necessary to shoulder the ball-winning work in midfield. The 6-foot-3, 180-pound Joseph is the "hub of the wheel" of the Revs build-up play from the back line. A St. Johns University product, the 27-year-old Joseph is a native of Grenada who moved to Brooklyn, NY as a teenager. The 2005 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game will be Joseph's second All-Star selection.
Greg Vanney -- Defender -- FC Dallas -- Born: June 11, 1974
Vanney, who returned to MLS earlier this year after four seasons with FC Bastia in France, will be making his second MLS All-Star appearance. Vanney played six seasons (1996-2001) with the Los Angeles Galaxy prior to heading to France. His return to MLS with FC Dallas has solidified a defense that has allowed just 1.00 goal per game. The 31-year old native of Tempe, AZ has been a mainstay in the back for FC Dallas with 14 starts. Vanney has earned at least one appearance with the U.S. National Team every year since 1996. He is currently with the U.S. squad at the CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Eddie Pope -- Defender -- Real Salt Lake -- Born: December 24, 1973
The 31-year old defensive stalwart is one of the most accomplished defenders in MLS and American soccer history. A member of the 1998 and 2002 World Cup teams, Pope has started 11 contests for expansion Real Salt Lake in 2005 after spending the past two seasons with the MetroStars. He helped capture MLS Cup on three occasions for D.C. United (1996, 1997, and 1999), including scoring the "golden goal" in 1996 to defeat Los Angeles 3-2 in Foxboro. The High Point, NC native has also claimed personal accolades by winning the 1997 MLS Defender of the Year award and three MLS Best XI honors. Pope is a nine-time MLS All-Star selection.
Jimmy Conrad -- Defender -- Kansas City Wizards -- Born: February 12, 1977
The six-year MLS veteran was named to the MLS "Best XI" in 2004 and was one of three finalists for MLS Defender of the Year award when he started and played in 29 of 30 games for the Wizards . He anchored the best defensive unit in MLS last year, as the Wizards allowed a League-low 30 goals and posted a League-high 12 shutouts. The 28-year-old Temple City, CA native has one goal and an assist in 14 games for the Wizards this year. He was called into his first U.S. National Team training camp in January 2005 and is currently playing for Bruce Arena's squad at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. This is Conrad's second All-Star Game selection following his reserve selection in 2004.
Matt Reis -- Goalkeeper -- New England Revolutiion -- Born: March 28, 1975
After six seasons serving in a backup role, Reis had a breakout year in 2004 after taking over for the injured Adin Brown. The 30-year-old Reis leads MLS with a league-low 0.94 goals against average, only allowing 15 goals in 1,440 minutes (16 games). He has 68 saves and an MLS-high seven shutouts in 2005. Reis is most remembered for his performance during the 2004 MLS Cup Playoffs, saving two penalty kicks in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Semifinals at Columbus and saving one shot and scoring one in the penalty shootout at D.C. in the Eastern Conference Championship. The former national champion 'keeper at UCLA (1997) also won an MLS Cup Championship with the Galaxy in 2002. He is currently with the U.S. National Team at the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Reis will be playing in his first MLS All-Star Game.