Thanks to his stellar play through the first half of the season, Timbers' captain Will Johnson has been named to the 2013 MLS All-Star Team. Johnson, who leads the Timbers in scoring with six goals and three assists, was elected through a fan vote that determined ten of the team's eleven starting players.
After five years as a fringe player and occasional starter with Real Salt Lake, Will Johnson has stepped in and become Portland's rock in the center of the midfield since joining the Timbers this off season. Johnson's "never say die" attitude has typified the style of the Timbers this year as they lead the league in points gained after falling behind.
Although he will not miss any games with the Timbers while playing in the All-Star Game on 7/31, Johnson will need to fit the game in between two Timbers' conference games as Portland take on the San Jose Earthquakes on 7/27 and the Vancouver Whitecaps on 8/3.
The press release:
TIMBERS’ WILL JOHNSON NAMED TO 2013 MLS ALL-STAR FAN XI
Portland captain selected to Fan XI as one of MLS’ top vote-getters
PORTLAND, Ore. – Major League Soccer today revealed that Portland Timbers midfielder and captain Will Johnson has been selected to the 2013 MLS All-Star Fan XI; it was announced during halftime of ESPN’s broadcast of the Chicago Fire-Sporting Kansas City match.
As part of the Fan XI, Johnson was one of the top vote-getters for the 2013 MLS All-Star squad based upon combined fan voting on three platforms – online at MLSsoccer.com, text message and Twitter. The all-star ballot consisted of at least six players per MLS club, as chosen by a panel of media members.
The 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game pits the MLS All-Stars against Italian giants AS Roma at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kan., on Wednesday, July 31, at 6 p.m. (Pacific), live on ESPN2 and UniMás.
Johnson, 26, is an MLS All-Star for the second time in his career, receiving his first All-Star selection in 2009 with Real Salt Lake. In his seventh MLS season, Johnson is recording career numbers in his first campaign with the Timbers in 2013. He played every minute of the first 17 matches of the regular season, helping lead Portland to a 15-game unbeaten streak – one of the longest in MLS history – over the first half of the campaign. Johnson is the club’s leading scorer with a career-high six goals and has matched a career-high with three assists.
The Canadian international has been named to the MLSsoccer.com Team of the Week three times (Weeks 5, 7 and 17) and is a two-time winner of the MLS Goal of the Week (Weeks 7 and 17) already this season. Johnson was also named the MLS Player of the Week in Week 5 by the North American Soccer Reporters.
Johnson becomes the second Timbers player to garner MLS-All Star honors. Midfielder Jack Jewsbury was the club’s first MLS All-Star during the club’s inaugural MLS season in 2011.
Johnson was one of 10 players on the All-Star Fan XI announced Sunday. The 11th player – a forward – on the Fan XI will be decided on Thursday, July 11, as part of the AT&T MLS All-Star ‘In the Game’ Challenge. Among remaining forwards on the ballot, including Timbers midfielder/forward Darlington Nagbe, the player with whom fans score the most goals in FIFA Soccer 13, with one goal equaling one vote, from July 3-10 will be named to the Fan XI.
Two selections by MLS Commissioner Don Garber and MLS All-Star coach Peter Vermes’ complete 18-man game day roster for the MLS All-Star Game will be announced on Monday, July 15. Players on the Fan XI are not necessarily included on the game day roster. Vermes will select the roster based on player availability and tactical considerations, but all Fan XI players are All-Stars.
Under the CBA, a total of 32 players will be named MLS All-Stars. After the game day roster, the remaining players receiving All-Star honors will come from voting among MLS players and will be announced July 31.
2013 MLS All-Star Fan XI
Goalkeeper: Raul Fernández (FC Dallas)
Defenders: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Aurélien Collin (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)
Midfielders: Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Will Johnson (Portland Timbers), Mike Magee (Chicago Fire), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards: Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), AT&T ‘In the Game’ forward (TBA – July 11)