Colorado Rapids defender Axel Sjoberg admits that he was disappointed to miss out on an MLS All-Star nod and says his team "feels left out" by a selection process that hinges on big names.
But the 25-year-old Swede is happy with the way he's played this season and will continue to work hard for the red-hot Rapids the rest of the way.
"I don’t think I have to sell myself to [2016 All-Stars head coach] Dominic Kinnear,'' Sjoberg told MLSsoccer.com this week. "He picked the team and I’m sure he had a reason for all of those picks. I would’ve liked the nomination. It’s always a privilege as a player. But no matter what, I’m going to keep working hard this season. It would’ve been really nice to play with unbelievable players against a great Arsenal team. But I’m happy with what I’ve done so far this season. I’m letting the play speak for itself.''
The 6-foot-7 center back has started and played the entire 90 minutes in 17 of the Rapids' 19 games this season and posted two goals and an assist while helping make Colorado the league's stingiest defense. The Rapids have allowed a league-low 13 goals and posted a record of 10 wins, 2 losses and 7 draws, which is good enough for the No. 2 spot in the Western Conference and Supporters' Shield standings, three points behind leaders FC Dallas, who have played three more games than Colorado.
"We feel left out a little bit, but we will always look at ourselves as the underdogs, so we’re not really surprised,'' Sjoberg said. "At the same time, when we’ve done as well as we have, we felt like we deserved at least two nominations.
"Whenever there’s a goal you want to make, you’re always disappointed,'' he continued. "But when you see the selections and you see the roster, you understand the decisions that were made. It’s not personal.
"[Making the All-Star roster] became one of my goals. When I looked at what I wanted to achieve this season, I had it in the back of my mind. Moving forward, it will absolutely be a personal goal of mine.''