I have never been a big proponent of All-Star game selection that was not based on how players were actually playing. I can look at the NFL Pro-Bowl, which is a bit of a joke as the best players do not always play in it due to the physical nature of the game or playoff commitments. Or the terrible joke that is the NHL All-Star game which really is nothing more than target practice at the respective goalkeepers. The MLB All-Star game mostly gets it right, but I find baseball painful to watch and after Bud Selig ruined the game for me, just do not care.
My hope was the MLS All-Star game as the last best hope, but the last two years have kind of ruined that for me. Last year when Caleb Porter, Portland Timbers head coach, added Liam Ridgewell to fill an injury spot. I thought move as a complete joke at the time, but then Don Garber one-upped him with the picks of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard this year.
And today, Pablo Mastroeni added Colorado Rapids midfielder Sam Cronin to the roster as well as Ethan Finley, Waylon Francis, Juninho, and Gyasi Zardes. The new additions are replacements for Gerrard, Robbie Keane, Michael Bradley and Chris Tierney who all withdrew from the match.
But as I sit here and watch training, I realize it is not about who is here or who is not here. It is not about whether Gerrard or Lampard are playing. Or whether Drew Moor is a worthy selection (he is). It is about the supporters who are paying good money to come to this event to see their favorite stars.
As I see how excited supporters of Tottenham Hotspur and the MLS All-Stars are watching training, it is occurring what this game is actually about: putting on the type of match that the fans want to see. Is every member of the 22 players on the squad "worthy?" Maybe. Maybe not. But when this is all said and done, it just will not matter.
The Updated Roster:
Goalkeepers: Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), David Ousted (Vancouver Whitecaps)
Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders), Drew Moor (Colorado Rapids), Waylon Francis (Columbus Crew SC)
Midfielders: Fabian Castillo (FC Dallas), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Kaka (Orlando City), Dax McCarty (New York Red Bulls), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City), Sam Cronin (Colorado Rapids), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew SC), Juninho (LA Galaxy)
Forwards: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Kei Kamara (Columbus Crew SC), David Villa (New York City FC), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)