The Portland Timbers have two players on this year's squad at the 2014 MLS All-Star Game thanks to picks from Don Garber and Caleb Porter after going unrepresented in the fan voting. Diego Valeri and Will Johnson will represent the Timbers as the MLS side takes on UEFA Champions League winners Bayern Munich on August 6th.
Valeri has been the Timbers' creative engine this year, coming back from offseason surgery to notch three goals and eight assists so far this season, including yesterday's game winning golazo against the Colorado Rapids. Selected to the team with the commissioner's pick, Valeri has been one of the few Timbers to regularly impress this season.
Johnson will be a much more controversial pick as some fans have soured on the Timbers' captain's intensity during the struggles in the early season. Still, Johnson is near the top of the Timbers' scoring table, having notches five goals and two assists for the team so far this year, and has remained one of the league's most accurate passers while covering the length of the pitch in his constant partnership with Diego Chara.
Joining the Timbers duo will be a smattering of their norther rivals, including DeAndre Yedlin, Osvaldo Alonso, Obafemi Martins, and Clint Dempsey from the Sounders. The Whitecaps, who currently sit in 6th place in the Western Conference, did not have any players selected to the team.
The Eastern Conference is also slightly under represented, with only ten men on the 23 man roster coming from the east. In fact, half of the clubs in the Eastern Conference, the New England Revolution, Philadelphia Union, Chicago Fire, Houston Dynamo, and Montreal Impact are unrepresented in the roster. The Western Conference also have four teams without representation in the contest, with the Rapids, FC Dallas, and the San Jose Earthquakes all joining the Whitecaps.
The Timbers' press release:
TIMBERS’ DIEGO VALERI, WILL JOHNSON NAMED TO 2014 AT&T MLS ALL-STAR ROSTER
Portland duo to play in front of hometown fans Aug. 6 against Bayern Munich at Providence Park
PORTLAND, Ore. – Portland Timbers midfielders Diego Valeri and Will Johnson have been selected to the 23-man roster for the 2014 AT&T MLS All-Star Game, it was announced during halftime of the ESPN2 broadcast of the Sporting Kansas City-LA Galaxy match on Saturday. The 2014 AT&T MLS All-Star Game pits the MLS All-Stars, led by Timbers head coach Caleb Porter, against five-time European champions Bayern Munich at Providence Park in Portland on Wednesday, Aug. 6, at 6:30 p.m. (Pacific), live on ESPN2 and UniMás.
Because of the competitive format of the AT&T MLS All-Star Game, MLS asked Porter to choose from among all available players, and Portland’s head coach constructed a dynamic and balanced roster full of the league’s top talent. Porter selected all 11 members of the original fan-voted All-Stars and the majority of the final roster, while Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber named Valeri and Chivas USA forward Erick Torres as 2014 AT&T MLS All-Stars.
Valeri, 28, earns his second MLS All-Star nod after being selected through a vote of MLS players and listed to the inactive roster for the 2013 MLS All-Star Game. The playmaking midfielder earned 2013 MLS Newcomer of the Year recognition and has continued to impress during the 2014 season, recording four goals and ranking among league leaders with eight assists in 20 regular-season appearances (19 starts). The Timbers MLS career leader in assists (21), Valeri has registered at least one point in five of Portland’s last eight regular-season matches.
Johnson, 26, is an MLS All-Star for the third time in his career, receiving his first All-Star selection in 2009 with Real Salt Lake and a second nod in 2013 with the Timbers. In his eighth MLS season, Portland’s captain has played all but one minute of the team’s 20 regular-season matches while tallying five goals and two assists. An MLS Best XI selection in 2013, Johnson – who received the most fan votes among Portland players – becomes the first Timbers MLS player to be named to the active roster for an MLS All-Star Game in consecutive years.
Nine players on the MLS All-Star roster were recently part of the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil, including eight members of the U.S. Men’s National Team. Ten of the 19 MLS teams are represented on the roster.
The full roster is listed below.
2014 AT&T MLS All-Star Roster
Goalkeepers: Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Aurélien Collin (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Chad Marshall (Seattle Sounders FC), Michael Parkhurst (Columbus Crew), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
Midfielders: Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders FC), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Tim Cahill (New York Red Bulls), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Will Johnson (Portland Timbers), Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards: Jermain Defoe (Toronto FC), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders FC), Erick Torres (Chivas USA), Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls)