COMMENTARY | I don't like a single thing about the Major League Soccer All-Star game. It occurs in the middle of the season, it involves European clubs that do not in any way legitimize America's top-flight league, and it is just one of several friendlies involving MLS sides that happen during what should be league match days. The exhibition continues to be a yearly occurrence nevertheless, so I decided to dive in and select what would, if I had the top say in it, be my first-choice 2013 MLS starting XI.
My 2013 Major League Soccer All-Star ballot: Goalkeeper
This one is a no-brainer for me. Colorado Rapids first year 'keeper Clint Irwin was called into action early on into the season after Matt Pickens broke his arm and Steward Ceus lost the gig, and the 24-year old is halfway on the journey toward taking home multiple honors come this fall. Irwin's GAA (0.75) is only matched by New England's Bobby Shuttleworth, and his 38 stops has him in the top-ten of that particularly category. That second statistic is even more impressive in that Irwin has only played in 12 of his club's 14 regular season matches.
My 2013 Major League Soccer All-Star ballot: Defenders
I'm starting off with Sporting Kansas City young star Matt Besler, who could end up being the cornerstone of the United States Men's National Team back line down the road. LA Galaxy CB Omar Gonzalez has not covered himself in glory during his current national team run, but that doesn't take anything away from his stellar club form. Last but certainly not least is Aurélien Collin, who adds a bit of swagger and also a boatload of talent to the MLS defense.
That's it. This is an all-star game, not a meaningful competition that actually matters. I want fun back-and-forth action, and gosh darn it, I want goals. It's three at the back and a tip of the cap toward former Chivas USA boss Chelís for me.
My 2013 Major League Soccer All-Star ballot: Midfielders
Graham Zusi was understandably the first name that popped into my mind for ASG midfielders. The second was Mike Magee. The former New York player who was recently traded from LA Galaxy to the Chicago Fire is only two goals behind league-leading scorer Jack McInerney, and he could be the key to Chicago (possibly) turning their season around. Since you need to have some defensive-minded man in the middle, you could do a lot worse than 2012 New York Red Bulls team MVP Dax McCarty. There may be a bit of chemistry issues, but I want to see Real Salt Lake creative play-maker Javier Morales in the lineup. The MLS All-Star game is essentially a real-life version of FIFA Ultimate Team, and I'm treating it as such.
My 2013 Major League Soccer All-Star ballot: Forwards
Thierry Henry has to be in the MLS All-Star team. He just does. He's the most talented attacking player in the league, and he's earned the nod. Any and all anti-RBNY/anti-Henry people will have to get over it. Discussion over.
I only needed to look at the stats to find my other two front men. No player has thus far scored more league goals in 2013 than has the previously mentioned McInerney, and his call-up to the national team for the upcoming CONCACAF Gold Cup was deserved. Marco Di Vaio of the Montreal Impact could be the MLS MVP if his club goes on to win the Supporters' Shield. Put that trio out on the pitch against Roma, and you're sure to see goals.
Zac has been covering New York Red Bulls, Major League Soccer, Tottenham Hotspur, the USMNT and other soccer leagues for Yahoo! Sports since 2010.
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