During halftime at the Los Angeles Galaxy-Chicago Fire game on July 8, the 2012 MLS All-Star First XI were announced. The Galaxy's David Beckham and Landon Donovan were part of the list. While I worry about injury during the All-Star game, these two players are definitely All-Star material.
The 2012 Season
I won't pretend that Beckham and Donovan have had the same season as in 2011. However, recently, the Los Angeles Galaxy has been doing much better. In fact, they have won four out of their last six games. The season is only halfway over and the Galaxy are in 5th place in the West.
Donovan went five games this season without scoring a goal or lending an assist. However, after coming back from his stint with the USMNT, he seems revived. In the last five games, he has scored four times and had three assists. If he keeps up this performance, he should end the season with close to 12 goals and 10 assists. I doubt he will come close to Chris Wondolowski or Kenny Cooper's goal scoring statistics. However, there's a reason Donovan was recently named the MLS Player of the Week. This is his MLS record, 12th consecutive All-Star selection. I can't imagine an All-Star team without him.
In 2012, Beckham has three goals and five assists. He is a dead ball specialist and few in the MLS can bend it like Beckham. The English midfielder wore the captain's armband in last year's MLS All-Star Match. Manchester United obliterated the All-Stars, 4-0. Still, Beckham had one of the most passionate performances and threatened Man U's goal several times. This is his third MLS All-Star selection.
There are many deserving players not on the list. Yet, until the MLS decides to change the way the First XI are chosen, the players are picked by the fans. Initially, a panel of media members chose six players from each club to be on the ballot. Then, it was up to the fans. The First XI "received the most votes at their respective positions" from fans who voted "online at MLSsoccer.com, via text message and via Twitter." Some could say this is a popularity contest and, to some extent, it is. After all, even people who aren't MLS soccer fans recognize Beckham and Donovan. However, All-Star coach Ben Olsen will have the last say on the starting XI. He will select the starters based on "player availability and tactical considerations."
The First XI
In the midfield, Beckham and Donovan are joined by Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United) and Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City). The forwards are Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls) and Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes). Steven Beitashour (Earthquakes), Aurélien Collin (SKC), Jay DeMerit (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) and Heath Pearce (NYRB) are the four defenders. Finally, Jimmy Nielsen (SKC) is the keeper.
The All-Stars will take on Chelsea on July 25 at PPL Park.
Melissa Matters is a long time Los Angeles resident and devoted Los Angeles Galaxy fan.
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