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Altidore, Acosta & Dwyer among final roster set to face Real Madrid in the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target
All-Star Head Coach Veljko Paunović names 11 additional players to the All-Star Roster; Commissioner selects two standout performers
Thirteen different countries represented in 24-man All-Star roster
NEW YORK (Tuesday, July 18, 2017) – As Major League Soccer’s greatest players prepare to take on Spanish superpower Real Madrid in the 2017 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target, 13 more stars were added today to the gameday roster. Two Commissioner’s Picks and 11 selections by All-Star and Chicago Fire head coach Veljko Paunović were unveiled for the MLS summer showcase at Soldier Field in Chicago on Wednesday, Aug. 2 at 8:30 p.m. ET – live on FS1, Univision, TSN, and TVA Sports. The additions complete a standout collection of world-renowned talent, domestic stars and young up-and-comers that represents the best of MLS.
Joining the All-Star Fan XI presented by Target, head coach Paunović has constructed a dynamic and balanced roster filled with the League’s top talent, adding the following 11 players:
Goalkeeper (1): Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders FC)
Defenders (5): Hernán Grana (FC Dallas), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Johan Kappelhof (Chicago Fire), Michael Parkhurst (Atlanta United), Jelle Van Damme (LA Galaxy)
Midfielders (4): Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact), Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers)
Forwards (1): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC)
MLS Commissioner Don Garber selected standout players Kellyn Acosta of FC Dallas and Dom Dwyer of Sporting Kansas City to complete the 24-man roster set to face the reigning La Liga and UEFA Champions League title holders.
Both players have seen success for club and country with FC Dallas academy product Acosta leading his team with highlight-reel goals in CONCACAF Champions League play and game-changing performances in league matches. As a newly capped U.S. Men’s National Team player, Dwyer scored in his first two appearances for the U.S. this past month in the CONCACAF Gold Cup, but Dwyer has not only seen success in international play. The Sporting Kansas City forward has proven to be one of the most prolific scorers in MLS since 2014, his 55 goals scored since then ranking in the top five league-wide.
The full roster is a mix of 16 All-Star veterans as well as eight All-Star newcomers, representing 13 MLS clubs and hailing from 13 different countries, the most diverse group in All-Star history. Additionally, 20 of the 24 players named to the roster have represented their countries at the full national team level.
Despite the international influence of the roster, ties to the Windy City are strong, including four current Chicago Fire players, midfielder Michael Bradley who grew up in Chicago’s northwest suburb of Palatine while his father Bob Bradley served as head coach during the Chicago Fire’s successful formative years, and defender DaMarcus Beasley who spent his first five MLS seasons with the Chicago Fire, helping the club win the MLS Supporters’ Shield in 2003 and the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2000 and 2003. In addition, three members of the 2017 All-Star team have tasted victory against international competition at Soldier Field with Beasley and fellow defender Michael Parkhurst winning the CONCACAF Gold Cup as members of the 2013 U.S. Men’s National Team, and goalkeeper Tim Howard and Beasley winning the 2007 CONCACAF Gold Cup in Chicago.
The 2017 MLS All-Stars will face off against Real Madrid, the reigning La Liga and UEFA Champions League title holders. One of the most successful clubs in the world, Real Madrid have claimed a record 33 La Liga championships and 12 UEFA Champions League titles, as well as have captured the UEFA Super Cup and the FIFA Club World Cup on multiple occasions. Under the direction of the legendary Zinedine Zidane, the club is home to international superstars such as four-time Ballon d’Or recipient Cristiano Ronaldo, 28-year-old star Gareth Bale, and four-time La Liga Best Defender Sergio Ramos.
The best way to guarantee your ticket to the 2017 MLS All-Star Game against Real Madrid is to contact the Chicago Fire at 888-MLS-Fire or firstname.lastname@example.org. For the ultimate fan experience visit MLSsoccer.com/allstar for VIP ticket package details.
CLICK HERE for video soundbytes from MLS All-Star players and coach Veljko Paunović
Full Roster by Position
Goalkeeper: Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders FC), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids)
Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Greg Garza (Atlanta United), Hernán Grana (FC Dallas), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Johan Kappelhof (Chicago Fire), Michael Parkhurst (Atlanta United), Jelle Van Damme (LA Galaxy), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Kaká (Orlando City SC), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Chicago Fire), Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers)
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Dom Dwyer (Sporting Kansas City), Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Nemanja Nikolić (Chicago Fire), David Villa (New York City FC)
Full Roster by Team
Atlanta United (3): Miguel Almirón, Greg Garza, Michael Parkhurst
Chicago Fire (4): Johan Kappelhof, Dax McCarty, Nemanja Nikolić, Bastian Schweinsteiger
Colorado Rapids (1): Tim Howard
FC Dallas (3): Kellyn Acosta, Hernán Grana, Matt Hedges
Houston Dynamo (1): DaMarcus Beasley
LA Galaxy (2): Giovani dos Santos, Jelle Van Damme
Montreal Impact (1): Ignacio Piatti
New York City FC (1): David Villa
Orlando City SC (1): Kaká
Portland Timbers (1): Diego Valeri
Seattle Sounders FC (1): Stefan Frei
Sporting Kansas City (2): Dom Dwyer, Graham Zusi
Toronto FC (3): Jozy Altidore, Michael Bradley, Sebastian Giovinco
Bios for 2017 MLS All-Star Game Roster:
(Listed in alphabetical order)
Kellyn Acosta Midfielder FC Dallas Nationality: USA Born: July 24, 1995 (United States)
The FC Dallas Homegrown prized product has been selected to his second consecutive All-Star Game (2016) in his fifth season with the club. The 21-year-old has three goals scored and two assists in 13 matches played this season, a year after registering a career-high five assists en route to Dallas’ U.S. Open Cup and Supporters’ Shield titles. Acosta has 11 caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team since making his first appearance in 2016, starting for the U.S. in 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup and 2018 World Cup Qualifying play.
Miguel Almirón Midfielder Atlanta United Nationality: Paraguay Born: February 10, 1994 (Paraguay)
A member of the Paraguay National Team, Almirón starred for his country in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup before breaking out in last year’s Copa America Centenario. The 23-year-old has led Atlanta to an impressive first season, as the club has scored 39 goals, tops in MLS. Almirón currently has eight goals and eight assists this season, with his combined 16 tallies ranking tied for fourth in MLS. In his debut season in the league, this is Almirón’s first MLS All-Star selection.
Jozy Altidore Forward Toronto FC Nationality: USA Born: November 6, 1989 (United States)
The third leading goalscorer in U.S. Men’s National Team history, Altidore has appeared in two World Cups for the United States (2010, 2014). This season, Altidore has eight goals and five assists for Toronto in leading the club to the second-best record in MLS. Altidore also scored 10 goals last season to lead Toronto to its best-ever finish with an MLS Cup appearance. Signed to the New York Red Bulls at the age of 16, this is Altidore’s second MLS All-Star selection (2015).
DaMarcus Beasley Defender Houston Dynamo Nationality: USA Born: May 24, 1982 (United States)
The national team defender is one of only three U.S. players to appear in four World Cups (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014). Beasley has also captured four Gold Cup titles (2002, 2005, 2007, 2013), serving as captain for the U.S. team in 2013. Beasley’s 125 caps rank seventh in United States history, while his 17 goals rank ninth. In his fourth season with the Dynamo, Beasley has helped the team to a solid start to the season, as it currently ranks third in the Western Conference standings. This is Beasley’s sixth selection to the MLS All-Star Game (2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2015).
Michael Bradley Midfielder Toronto FC Nationality: USA Born: July 31, 1987 (United States)
The captain for the U.S. Men’s National Team, Bradley has starred in two World Cups (2010, 2014) along with capturing the 2007 Gold Cup title. Bradley’s 133 career caps for the United States rank fifth in national history, while his 17 goals are the ninth-most ever. On the heels of last season’s MLS Cup appearance, Toronto FC’s best-ever finish, Bradley has helped the club capture the most points in MLS to this point in the season. This will be Bradley’s third selection to the MLS All-Star Game (2014, 2015), while he previously played in the contest as a member of AS Roma in 2013.
Giovani dos Santos Midfielder LA Galaxy Nationality: Mexico Born: May 11, 1989 (Mexico)
An Olympic gold medalist with Mexico in 2012, dos Santos has numerous international accolades including two World Cup appearances (2010, 2014), three Gold Cup titles (2009, 2011, 2015) and the 2009 Gold Cup MVP. Last season, dos Santos was one of only two players league wide to register double digit goal and assist totals. Now in his third season with the Galaxy, dos Santos has six goals and one assist in 12 starts in 2017, resulting in his second consecutive MLS All-Star selection (2016).
Dom Dwyer Forward Sporting Kansas City Nationality: USA/England Born: July 30, 1990 (United Kingdom)
The 26-year-old forward has been one of the most prolific scorers in MLS since 2014, with his 55 goals scored since then ranking in the top five league-wide. Dwyer, the first player in Sporting Kansas City history to register three consecutive seasons with 12-plus goals scored, has five goals and one assist in 15 matches played this season. Husband to U.S. Women’s National Team star Sydney Leroux, Dwyer recently became an American citizen and has gone on to score two goals in three matches played for the U.S. Men’s National Team. This is Dwyer’s second selection as an MLS All-Star (2014).
Stefan Frei Goalkeeper Seattle Sounders FC Nationality: USA/Switzerland Born: April 20, 1986 (Switzerland)
Frei makes his first appearance as an MLS All-Star a season after helping Sounders FC to an MLS Cup title with a famed fingertip save against Toronto in the season finale, a performance that won him MLS Cup MVP honors in 2016. This season, Frei has started in 19 games for Seattle, putting forth five shutout appearances in the process. The Switzerland born goalkeeper received a call into the United States Men’s National Team camp in January.
Greg Garza Defender Atlanta United Nationality: USA Born: August 16, 1991 (United States)
A member of the U.S. Men’s National Team, Garza appeared in the CONCACAF 2015 Gold Cup. In his first season in MLS, Garza has helped Atlanta United to an impressive debut season, as the team currently ranks fourth in the Eastern Conference standings, in line to become only the fourth expansion team to make the MLS Cup Playoffs in its first season. The 25-year-old Garza, who is making his MLS All-Star debut, has one goal and two assists in 18 games started for Atlanta.
Sebastian Giovinco Forward Toronto FC Nationality: Italy Born: January 26, 1987 (Italy)
The 2015 Landon Donovan MLS MVP, Giovinco had a wondrous first season in MLS, posting a league record for most combined goals and assists while leading Toronto FC to its first-ever postseason appearance. In his second season with TFC, the skilled Italian led the club to its first MLS Cup appearance. Already Toronto’s all-time leading goalscorer, this is Giovinco’s third MLS All-Star nomination (2015, 2016), currently leading the club with nine goals to go with four assists this season.
Hernán Grana Defender FC Dallas Nationality: Argentina Born: April 12, 1985 (Argentina)
The Argentinian right back has come into his own at FC Dallas this season, providing two assists in his 15 matches started. In his first season with Dallas, Grana previously played in seven matches for Columbus Crew SC in the 2015 season. Grana has played 11 seasons and registered over 200 matches played in the Argentine first division, suiting up for the likes of Lanus, Boca Juniors and All Boys.
Matt Hedges Defender FC Dallas Nationality: USA Born: April 1, 1990 (United States)
Hedges makes his MLS All-Star debut this season after starting in 14 matches and scoring one goal for FC Dallas. The 27-year-old defender experienced a tremendous 2016 season, garnering MLS Best XI and Defender of the Year honors en route to Dallas’ double with U.S. Open Cup and Supporters’ Shield titles. A member of the U.S. Men’s National Team, Hedges has four caps in his international career, most recently playing in the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Tim Howard Goalkeeper Colorado Rapids Nationality: USA Born: March 6, 1979 (United States)
Howard earns his fourth selection as an MLS All-Star (2001, 2002, 2003), also earning MLS All-Star MVP honors in 2009 while with Everton FC. A member of the U.S. Men’s National Team, Howard has been in the U.S. squad for three World Cups (2006, 2010, 2014), one Olympic Games (2000) and the 2009 Confederations Cup. Howard’s 115 caps rank eighth in U.S. history, while his 16 saves in the 2014 World Cup round-of-16 match vs. Belgium are a tournament record. Howard was previously named to the MLS Best XI in 2001 and 2002 and captured the FA Cup title in 2004 with Manchester United.
Johan Kappelhof Defender Chicago Fire Nationality: Netherlands Born: August 5, 1990 (Netherlands)
The 23-year-old defender from the Netherlands has started in 18 matches for top of the league Chicago this season, registering three assists in the process. A product of the famous Ajax academy, Kappelhof previously suited up for FC Groningen tallying 123 games in Holland’s top division, and eight in the UEFA Europa League. In his second season in MLS, Kappelhof has also appeared in five matches for the Dutch Under-21 team from 2011-13. This is Kappelhof’s first selection to the MLS All-Star Game.
Kaká Midfielder Orlando City SC Nationality: Brazil Born: April 22, 1982 (Brazil)
The winner of the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or earns his third MLS All-Star selection in his third season with Orlando City SC, previously winning MLS All-Star MVP honors in 2015. Kaká is one of the most decorated soccer players in the world, having won the 2002 FIFA World Cup with Brazil and the 2006-07 Champions League with AC Milan, along with a host of other awards. The Orlando City captain has three goals and four assists this season, with the club sitting in fifth place in the Eastern Conference as it looks to make its first postseason appearance in team history.
Dax McCarty Midfielder Chicago Fire Nationality: USA Born: April 30, 1987 (United States)
In his first season in Chicago, McCarty has helped lead the club to its MLS best record with three assists in 15 matches started this season. McCarty previously starred for the New York Red Bulls, helping the club to two Supporters’ Shield titles (2013, 2015) while also garnering MLS Best XI and All-Star honors in 2015. McCarty has 10 caps for the U.S. Men’s National Team, most recently starring at the 2017 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Nemanja Nikolić Forward Chicago Fire Nationality: Hungary/Serbia Born: December 31, 1987 (Serbia – former Yugoslavia)
In his first season in Chicago, Nikolić has impressed to the tune of a league-leading 16 goals while adding three assists in 19 games played. A member of the Hungary National Team, Nikolić has suited up in major tournaments including Euro 2016, in addition to 2014 and 2018 World Cup Qualifying play. In each of his previous three full professional seasons, Nikolić has ended the season as the league’s top scorer, twice in Hungary followed by last season’s run with Legia Warsaw in Poland.
Michael Parkhurst Defender Atlanta United Nationality: USA Born: January 24, 1984 (United States)
Parkhurst makes his fifth appearance in the MLS All-Star Game (2005, 2007, 2008, 2014) in his first season with Atlanta United, starting 19 matches and leading the club to a fourth-place standing in the Eastern Conference. The defender previously won MLS Rookie of the Year (2005), Defender of the Year (2007) and Best XI honors (2007) while with the New England Revolution. A member of the U.S. Men’s National Team, Parkhurst has 24 caps with the U.S. including first-place finishes at the 2007 and 2013 Gold Cups.
Ignacio Piatti Midfielder Montreal Impact Nationality: Argentina Born: February 4, 1985 (Argentina)
Piatti makes his second consecutive All-Star team as he currently has a team-leading eight goals scored along with three assists in 2017. The Argentine playmaker finished last season tied for third in MLS with 17 goals scored in addition to six assists. The third Designated Player signing in club history, Piatti has become a crucial element for Montreal after leading the Impact to the CONCACAF Champions League final in 2015, just the second time an MLS club has reached the final.
Bastian Schweinsteiger Midfielder Chicago Fire Nationality: Germany Born: August 1, 1984 (Germany)
The German star has experienced tremendous success in his international career highlighted by a 2014 World Cup title. The former Bayern Munich man has also captured a UEFA Champions League title (2013) and FIFA Club World Cup (2013) in addition to eight Bundesliga titles. In his first season in MLS, Schweinsteiger has helped the Chicago Fire secure the most points in the league behind his two goals and five assists. This is Schweinsteiger’s first selection as an MLS All-Star, previously playing in the contest as a member of Bayern Munich in 2014.
Diego Valeri Midfielder Portland Timbers Nationality: Argentina Born: May 1, 1986 (Argentina)
The Argentine midfielder has been selected to his fourth MLS All-Star Game (2013, 2014, 2016) and is one of two players to rank in the top five in both goals scored (10) and assists (seven) this season. The 2015 MLS Cup MVP has also garnered MLS Best XI honors in 2013 and 2014 and was named MLS Newcomer of the Year in 2013. In four of his five seasons with Portland, Valeri has registered double-digit goal totals. Valeri has made three appearances for the Argentina Men’s National Team.
Jelle Van Damme Defender LA Galaxy Nationality: Belgium Born: October 10, 1983 (Belgium)
Van Damme makes his second consecutive MLS All-Star Game with one goal and one assist in 15 games started for the Galaxy this season. The defender had a tremendous debut season for LA in 2016, finishing as a finalist for MLS Defender of the Year and Newcomer of the Year honors after registering four assists in 28 matches started. A member of the Belgian National Team, Van Damme has 30 career caps for his native country including appearances in FIFA World Cup and UEFA Euro qualifiers.
David Villa Forward New York City FC Nationality: Spain Born: December 3, 1981 (Spain)
Villa is making his third consecutive appearance as an MLS All-Star after scoring 23 goals last season, en route to earning MLS MVP honors. Spain’s all-time leading goal scorer, Villa has played in three World Cups (2006, 2010, 2014), leading Spain to the 2010 title while receiving the Silver Shoe for scoring the second-most goals in the tournament. This season, Villa currently ranks tied for second in the MLS Golden Boot race with 12 goals.
Graham Zusi Defender Sporting Kansas City Nationality: USA Born: August 18, 1986 (United States)
A member of the MLS Best XI in 2012 and 2013, Zusi has spent the entirety of his nine-year career with Sporting Kansas City. Zusi has made the transition from midfielder to defender, helping Sporting Kansas City to the current top spot in the Western Conference standings behind a stout defense that has allowed a league-low 14 goals this season. A member of the U.S. Men’s National Team, Zusi tallied two assists in four appearances at the 2014 World Cup. This is Zusi’s fifth MLS All-Star selection (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015).