A lot has been made in Sport about All-Star selections over the years. From the NFL Pro-Bowl to the MLB All-Star game to the farcical NHL All-Star weekend, much has been said and written about these spectacles.
"Should they be for the fans?"
"Should an All-Star game be a true exhibition?"
"Should it be a serious competition?"
"Does anyone really care?"
I will let everyone make up their own mind on the first three and I will choose to tackle the last one. "Does anyone really care?"
I would like to say yes to this one. Especially the vitriol that was thrown out there over the last week (including by yours truly) about All-Star selections.
Frank Lampard? ARE YOU FRICKING KIDDING ME?
Steven Gerrard? DUDE HAS NOT PLAYED AT THE TIME OF HIS SELECTION
I have had some time to mellow on this, and while I think Don Garber got this completely wrong, it's cool. I have to admit, as a football fan, to being a little "all fanboy" about the chance to see Lampard and Gerrard play on the 29th.
And yesterday, when the rest of the All-Star roster was announced, I was very shocked that Drew Moor was one of those selected. Initially, I was not on the Moor as an All-Star bandwagon as I felt that he had not played up to a level warranting an All-Star selection this year. If the goal was having someone from the Colorado Rapids represent on the pitch that day, then I would have chosen Clint Irwin instead. (Look at the stats, he is one of the best, if not the best keeper in MLS)
So yesterday I tried to understand the thinking of Pablo Mastroeni and see where he was coming from with this and after much soul searching, and significant thought about this I came to this conclusion this morning:
I am wrong, and Pablo Mastroeni is right. Drew Moor is an All-Star
(Although so is Irwin, but that is a different conversation for a different day)
So what brought me to this point? Honestly, the stats:
The Rapids have the second best defense in MLS. That cannot be disputed.
It is incredibly difficult to break down the Rapids and because of their record (5-6-9) most people ignore that when you play the Rapids, you are in for a hell of a difficult 90 minutes. They have taken on the characteristic of their coach in every way--gritty, determined and passionate about defense. The Rapids as a whole are giving up less than a goal a game. And if they had any offense at all in the first 17 matches of the year, they would be in a far different place in the table.
But how do you reward total team defense? You can't send the entire back four, especially that the Rapids back four is actually a back eight or nine with so many people contributing to the solid D. And with Nick Rimando on the MLS All-Star roster, Pablo had a very difficult decision in picking a back-up keeper. So although David Ousted would not have been my choice, I do understand the selection. So, that is cool.
But when you are trying to recognize the second best defense in the league, how do you do it? I think you have to look at the core of that defense and find its leader. And without a doubt, that is Moor. He is the emotional and spiritual center of the defense and whether he is wearing the armband or not, he is THE leader along the back line. And as you look at the defense, he will be a fantastic representative for the Rapids and for soccer in Colorado.
And it is obvious that people care about this:
This goes out to the "all star game doesn't matter" crowd https://t.co/RUPXauSY1c— Mike Donovan (@TheMikeDonovan) July 18, 2015
It is clear that it matters to supporters of this proud club and it matters to Drew Moor. So for those people in the soccer community who say that Drew Moor should not be an All-Star, fine.
He is not your All-Star anyways, he is ours. And he wears his Burgundy with pride.