Major League Soccer released the results of the voting for the 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star Game Fan XI yesterday and, as always, the results were half popularity contest, half name recognition, and entirely unworkable as an actual lineup. Surprising no one after the team's early struggles this season, no Portland Timbers players were nominated to the Fan XI.
The Fan XI: Nick Rimando; Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, DaMarcus Beasley; Michael Bradley, Kaka, Benny Feilhaber, Graham Zusi; Clint Dempsey, David Villa, Obafemi Martins
Also announced were the two commissioner's picks from Don Garber: Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard, a pair of players who have yet to play a single MLS game. This seems to have come a something of a surprise to people, although it really should not have. The "MLS All-Star Game" is a misnomer; this annual event is a spectacle, pure and simple.
But you can't abbreviate MLS All-Star Spectacle like you can MLS All-Star Game. Maybe the "MLS All Star Game" would be more fitting.
Regardless, of those who were nominated to the Fan XI, eight of the eleven are regulars with the United States Men's National Team, and the other three are Kaka, David Villa, and Obafemi Martins. It is no mistake that those are three of the highest paid and highest profile players in MLS, and that two of them happen to be the only players in the MLS to have won a World Cup.
Of those who were nominated to the Fan XI, nine of the eleven player occupy designated player slots on their team's rosters. Only Nick Rimando
, DaMarcus Beasley, and Benny Feilhaber are not designated players.
There are still plenty of All-Stars yet to be announced with the picks for the side that will face Tottenham Hotspur on the 29th set to be released on Saturday and the rest of the MLS All-Stars likely to be released closer to the match.
The MLS press release:
International Stars and U.S. National Team Standouts Headline 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star Game Fan XI
English soccer icons Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard named as Commissioner’s Picks
NEW YORK (Monday, July 13, 2015) – A world-class collection of international stars and U.S. national team standouts headline the list of 11 players chosen by the fans as the 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star Game Fan XI. In addition, English icons Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard have been selected by MLS Commissioner Don Garber to suit up when the MLS All-Star team faces English Premier League club Tottenham Hotspur on Wednesday, July 29 at 9 p.m. ET, live on FOX Sports 1, UniMás, TSN and RDS.
Major League Soccer’s landmark 20th season has been filled with extraordinary performances from some of the league’s biggest stars, which are reflected in this year’s All-Star Fan XI.
Coming off an incredible World Cup year, U.S. national team players continue to shine with their clubs as eight U.S. standouts were voted to the Fan XI including: U.S. captain Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City) and Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake).
The U.S. contingent are joined by Brazilian superstar Kaká (Orlando City SC), Spanish legend David Villa (New York City FC), and two-time AT&T/EA SPORTS ‘More Than a Vote’ Tournament winner Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders FC).
While 10 of the 11 players on the Fan XI are determined by combined fan voting on two platforms – online at MLSsoccer.com and via social media (Twitter, Facebook and Instagram) – the 11th player is determined through the AT&T/EA SPORTS™ MLS All-Star ‘More Than a Vote’ Tournament. For the second consecutive year, Martins earned his spot on the Fan XI as fans scored more than one million goals with the Sounders FC forward in EA SPORTS FIFA 15. Other players who finished in the top five of the ‘More Than a Vote’ Tournament were Dempsey, Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Villa and Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy).
Gerrard and Lampard, selected by MLS Commissioner Don Garber to the All-Star team, will be facing some familiar competition as they help lead the MLS All-Stars against Tottenham, a team each player has faced many times in Premier League play (Lampard: 33 appearances, 7 goals; Gerrard: 25 appearances, 5 goals). While this year’s match will mark Gerrard’s first opportunity to shine in an MLS All-Star Game, Lampard is no stranger to the competition, appearing for Chelsea in the 2006 match (a 1-0 MLS All-Stars win) and the 2012 match (a 3-2 MLS All-Stars win) during which he registered a goal and an assist for his former club. The All-Star Game will be the first time the two players have lined up on the same side since the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil.
The 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star Gameday Roster will be announced on Saturday, July 18 and will include the two Commissioner’s Picks as well as 20 players selected by All-Star head coach Pablo Mastroeni. While the players named to the Fan XI are not guaranteed a spot on the gameday roster, the outcome of fan voting is taken into consideration as the 22-man roster is decided.
Broadcast quality soundbytes from members of the 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star Game Fan XI may be downloaded by CLICKING HERE.
CLICK HERE for the 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star game logo.
Media planning to cover the 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star Game may apply for credentials by CLICKING HERE.
2015 MLS All-Star Fan XI
Goalkeeper: Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders: Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo)
Midfielders: Kaká (Orlando City SC), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), David Villa (New York City FC), Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders FC – AT&T/EA SPORTS "More than a Vote" Tournament winner)
Bios for 2015 MLS All-Star Fan XI:
(Listed by position in a 3-4-3 formation)
Nick Rimando Goalkeeper Real Salt Lake Nationality: USA
Born: June 17, 1979
In his 16th MLS season, Rimando earns his fifth All-Star selection (2010, 2011, 2013, 2014, 2015). He has 121 career shutouts, an MLS record. A two-time MLS Cup Champion (2004, 2009), he was named MLS Cup MVP in 2009 with Real Salt Lake. After joining the U.S. for the 2014 FIFA World Cup, Rimando continues to be a U.S. national team mainstay and was most recently named to the 2015 CONCACAF Gold Cup roster.
Omar Gonzalez Defender LA Galaxy
Nationality: USA Born: October 11, 1988
Gonzalez appeared in three matches in the 2014 FIFA World Cup for the U.S. national team, starting the final game of the group stage against Germany. Since the LA Galaxy selected Gonzalez third overall in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft, he has been named MLS Rookie of the Year, Defender of the Year and to the MLS Best XI four times, while helping the Galaxy win three MLS Cups (2011, 2012, 2014) and two Supporters’ Shields (2010, 2011). Gonzalez has started 18 of 19 appearances in 2015, notching one goal and a career-high three assists.
Defender Sporting Kansas City Nationality: USA Born: February 11, 1987
The 2012 MLS Defender of the Year and two-time Best XI selection earns his fourth MLS All-Star selection (2011, 2013, 2014, 2015). Besler was at the heart of the Sporting Kansas City defense that helped the team win MLS Cup 2013. He was first player from the state of Kansas to play in the FIFA World Cup, starting all four matches for the U.S. national team which advanced to the Round of 16. Besler has 16 appearances for SKC so far this season, all of which are starts, recording two assists.
DaMarcus Beasley Defender Houston Dynamo Nationality: USA
Born: May 24, 1982
Beasley makes his fourth MLS All-Star selection (2001, 2002, 2003, 2015) after returning from playing abroad in Europe and Mexico. Beasley became the first U.S. player to play in four FIFA World Cups (2002, 2006, 2010, 2014) and started all four matches for the U.S. national team in Brazil last summer. The veteran defender has started all 19 of the Dynamo’s matches this year and has logged more than 1600 minutes during that span.
Midfielder Orlando City SC Nationality: Brazil Born: April 22, 1982
The winner of the 2007 FIFA World Player of the Year and Ballon d’Or earns his first MLS All-Star selection in his first season with Orlando City SC. Kaká is one of the most decorated footballers 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 captain has been invaluable this year as he is tied for fourth in MLS in goals with nine and has notched two assists.
Michael Bradley Midfielder Toronto FC Nationality: USA
Born: July 31, 1987
In his second season with Toronto FC, Michael Bradley is partnering with fellow Designated Players Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco to form one of MLS’ most potent attacks. The newly-appointed captain of the U.S. national team has played a full 90 minutes in all 13 Toronto FC games he has appeared in this season, tacking on two goals and three assists. This is Bradley’s second MLS All-Star selection, but third appearance after playing for AS Roma in the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game.
Benny Feilhaber Midfielder Sporting Kansas City Nationality: USA
Born: January 19, 1985
In his fifth MLS season and third with Sporting Kansas City, Benny Feilhaber is on pace for the best season of his career. The midfielder has already surpassed his previous career-highs with five goals and nine assists this season. Feilhaber was voted Etihad Airways Player of the Month for April with two goals and three assists in the month. The Fan XI nomination marks Feilhaber’s first MLS All-Star selection.
Graham Zusi Midfielder Sporting Kansas City Nationality: USA
Born: August 18, 1986
A seven-year MLS veteran, Zusi is making his third consecutive All-Star appearance. He was named to the U.S. national team for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and played in all four games in Brazil. Zusi has started 12 of 13 appearances in 2015, and has one goal and four assists.
Clint Dempsey Forward Seattle Sounders FC Nationality: USA
Born: March 9, 1983
Now in his third season in Seattle, Clint Dempsey has Sounders FC poised to defend last year’s Supporters’ Shield title and make another run at MLS Cup. He is currently tied with fellow forward Obafemi Martins for most goals on Seattle with seven, and his six assists are fourth in MLS. Dempsey will be drawing on inside information for this year’s All-Star game, having played 29 matches with this year’s opponent, Tottenham Hotspur, between 2012 and 2013, contributing seven goals. This marks the U.S. international forward’s second consecutive AT&T MLS All-Star Game Fan XI appearance.
Forward New York City FC Nationality: Spain Born: December 3, 1981
The first signing in New York City FC history, David Villa has lived up to his world-class billing in his debut MLS season. Villa leads NYCFC in scoring with 10 goals, also good for third in MLS. Before signing with NYCFC, Villa enjoyed hugely successful runs with Valencia, Barcelona, and Atletico Madrid, in addition to a 2010 FIFA World Cup title with Spain.
Obafemi Martins Forward Seattle Sounders FC Nationality: Nigeria
Born: October 28, 1984
After signing with Seattle as a Designated Player in 2013, Martins has asserted himself as one of the League’s most electric talents. Last year’s MLS MVP runner-up has seven goals – tied for the team-high – and four assists in 11 appearances for Sounders FC this season. Prior to joining Seattle, Martins spent four seasons with Italian giants Inter Milan and three seasons in the English Premier League with Newcastle United. He has scored 18 goals for the Nigerian national team and made two appearances at the 2010 FIFA World Cup in South Africa. This marks the second consecutive year that Martins has won the AT&T/EA SPORTS "More Than a Vote" Tournament.
2015 Commissioner’s Picks
Steven Gerrard Midfielder LA Galaxy
Nationality: England Born: May 30, 1980
Gerrard joined the LA Galaxy in July following 17 years with Liverpool. He joined the Liverpool Academy at age nine and went on to score 120 goals in 504 Premier League appearances, helping the club to win 10 major trophies. In addition, he captained England’s national team – accruing 114 caps, 21 goals, and three FIFA World Cup appearances.
Frank Lampard Midfielder New York City FC Nationality: EnglandChelsea’s all-time leading goal scorer joined New York City FC in July after playing more than 600 matches in the English Premier League. Lampard also earned more than 100 caps with the English National Team, participating in three FIFA World Cups and scoring 29 goals. Among Lampard’s accolades are UEFA Champions League and Europa League titles, multiple Premier League trophies, and several Player of the Year honors.
Born: June 20, 1978