Welcome to the MLS All Star Game 2019- A guide to the Game and the Roster
On Wednesday, July 31,2019, the 23rd Major League Soccer (MLS) All Star Game will take place. This group of All Stars will take on a European giant in Atlético Madrid.
In recent years, more players from Europe and other soccer capitals have made their way into the US for a “new” experience. As a result, this group of MLS players includes very diverse and veteran players that have shocked not only the nation, but also, the world.
Within these 26 players, there is something special about each of them:
Zlatan Ibrahimovic: The Swedish self-proclaimed god of soccer has 16 goals halfway through this season. Whether it be in Europe or in the US, no defender has been able to able to stop him. He is a beast on the ball for LA Galaxy and will stop at nothing to prove he is the best.
Josef Martinez: A champion. Last year, Martinez netted 31 goals and broke the MLS single season goal scoring record for one player. This year Martinez has 17 already. He sealed Atlanta United’s champion status last year and is aiming to be top again this year.
Wayne Rooney: Rooney, a fantastic player in both midfield and attacking, has made D.C. United (in both 2018 and 2019) a real contender for the Eastern Conference. Tallying 11 goals and 7 assists, Rooney has made a two-faced difference in scoring and in helping his team do the best they can.
Carlos Vela: Currently, the Mexican winger is the leading goalscorer in MLS with 22 goals. In hand with that, he has 13 assists (as many as he had last year) that has made LAFC the best record team in the MLS so far this season. He is a deserving All Star and has proved his worth.
Chris Wondolowski: Wondolowski set the league record for career goals with a four-goal performance on May 18 to break Landon Donovan’s previous record of 145 career goals. This is the fifth time he has been selected to be an All Star game and has 9 goals this season.
Ezequiel Barco: At 20 years old, Barco has been part of the U-20 Argentinian National Team for the U-20 World Cup. He is a fast paced monster in the midfield who proves both for club and country he can do it all.
Diego Chara: Now in his ninth season with the Portland Timbers, Chara is the club’s all-time leader in career appearances(244) and minutes(21,412). This is his first all star selection for a veteran who has stayed loyal to just one team.
Jonathan dos Santos: As a member of the Mexican National Team, dos Santos won the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup and scored the winning goal against USA. Playing for LA Galaxy, he is a fan favorite and always makes sure that Zlatan gets the ball.
Mark-Anthony Kaye: With his 2018 season ending with an injury, Kaye bounced back with 4 goals and 6 assists in 20 appearances for the club in 2019. As he has led his team to first in the entire MLS, this is his first all star selection.
Nicolás Lodeiro: Being a starter for the Uruguayan National Team, Lodeiro has proved his worth year in, year out. With 12+ assists in his past two seasons and 9 this season with Seattle, he is a consistent powerhouse. As a result, Seattle is second in the Western Conference and in prime playoff position.
Pity Martínez: As South American Footballer of the Year in 2018, Martínez was signed by Atlanta United. Consequently, Martínez has made an instant impact with 3 goals and 6 assists in the short time with the club. Pity has showed that his 2018 award was not a mistake.
Maximiliano Moralez: Tied for the most assists in the MLS right now, Moralez is orchestrating the midfield for NYCFC. He was the club’s player of the season last year with 16 assists. Currently, he has helped stabilize the team into playoff contention.
Nani: With his famous career in Europe and around the world, Orlando hit the jackpot. In 19 appearances, Nani has posted 9 goals and 9 assists which has helped a poor team stay in playoff contention.
Paxton Pomykal: The 19-year-old played for the U-20 US National Team at the 2019 FIFA U-20 World Cup. He served as captain and helped the team advance to the quarterfinals of the tournament. With his youth, he has already had so much experience and is putting up numbers for FC Dallas. He can only get better and this All Star Selection will help his experience.
Alejandro Pozuelo: Playing 19 games for Toronto FC, Pozuelo has had to fill the shoes of Sebastian Giovinco and has succeeded. Furthermore, his 9 goals and 9 assists has already had a hand in 18 goals in the first 19 games of his opening MLS season.
Diego Rossi: Already with 12 goals and 6 assists this season, Rossi is a strong midfielder that is proof of LAFC’s strength. LAFC is having no trouble scoring and Rossi (a midfielder) is helping Vela in carrying the team. Also, he is only 21, which this All Star experience will help him.
Leandro González Pírez: The anchor of the reigning champions’ backline, González Pírez is a veteran on Atlanta United’s defense. He has been starter in every MLS game in which he has appeared over his three seasons. He led Atlanta in tackles won and touches and deserves a spot in the All Star game.
Matt Hedges: In hand with being MLS Defender of the Year in 2016, the 29-year-old has also represented the US National Team. Currently, Hedges has started 16 of Dallas’ 17 matches this season. As a result, this helped the club to a current sixth place in the West, holding onto a playoff spot.
Kemar Lawrence: With more than 40 caps for the Jamaican National Team, he has insanely strong international experience. He is a left back with already 5 years of MLS experience and is debuting in his first All Star game.
Romain Métanire: In his first season with Minnesota, Métanire has amassed one goal and six assists, the most assists of any defender in the league this year. He is strong and an extreme power defender in the MLS.
Bastian Schweinsteiger: One of the most decorated international players, Schweinsteiger has a world cup medal and is a world’s best. The veteran German is a star on two fronts, his passing game and his defense. This is his second All Star appearance in three years.
Walker Zimmerman: As a defender who lives off set pieces, Zimmerman scores very frequently. He is a defensive wall that has helped LAFC to first in the MLS and deserves his first All Star appearance.
Graham Zusi: Now a seven time All Star, Zusi has excelled for Sporting KC, spending the entirety of his 11-year career with the team. He ranks second in club history with 263 games played and 65 assists. He has made 55 international appearances and is a true veteran.
Andre Blake: Blake, a Jamaican beast in between the posts, has pushed the Philadelphia Union to first in the East. Despite his absence for international duty this season, Blake has tallied 3 shutouts and 6 wins so far. Now, he is a two time All Star.
Brad Guzan: Guzan is a champion veteran keeper who has extensive international appearances. Also, with Atlanta United’s 2018 Championship, his case for best in MLS only goes up. This is his third all star selection over the course of 12 years.
Nick Rimando: Now in his 20th MLS season, Rimando has a goalkeeping record in saves(1,662), shutouts(146), and games played(497). This is his final year in MLS and this is his sendoff.