The MLS All-Star Game replacement follies

The MLS All-Star Game replacement follies

Major League Soccer

The MLS All-Star Game replacement follies



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When the MLS All-Star reserves were named on Tuesday there were some very glaring absences from a list that included Juan Pablo Angel, Pat Onstad, Dwayne DeRosario, Jim Brennan, Pablo Mastroeni, Edson Buddle and Christian Gomez. Snubbed players such as Luciano Emilio, Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Gonzalo Segares figured to have a chance to make the team as a replacement for one of the likely U.S. Olympic team call-ups (Michael Parkhurst, Robbie Rogers and Maurice Edu Sacha Kljestan ).

Not so much.

Instead of Emilio, Schelotto and Segares, All-Star coach Steve Nicol selected Chivas USA defender Jonathan Bornstein and FC Dallas midfielder Juan Toja, as well as the actually deserving Revs midfield Steve Ralston. Sources told SBI early on Tuesday that Toja, Bornstein and Ralston would be the all-star replacements, which will be named after the U.S. Olympic team is announced on Thursday afternoon.

Yes, you can say it. WOW.

Someone might want to get Nicol a copy of "Coaching All-Star games for Dummies." The All-Star game is supposed to reward the players who have played the best in a given season, not reward players based on talent, regardless of performance.

I suppose we shouldn’t be completely surprise given Nicol’s decision to select Juan Pablo Angel instead of Emilio, who is on fire lately. That said, to select Toja ahead of Schelotto and Bornstein ahead of Gonzalo Segares is pretty ridiculous.

Let’s take a closer look. Toja has exactly one goal and two assists for an FC Dallas team that would be in last place in the West if not for expansion San Jose. Schelotto has compiled three goals and eight assists for the Columbus Crew, which sit in second place in the East.

As for Bornstein, he has played in 11 matches and managed two assists while battling injuries this season that have left him below his form of 2007, when he was playing well enough to be a U.S. national team regular. Segares has been the best left-sided defender in MLS this season, bar none, playing for the stingiest defense in the league.

So where exactly is the logic in these selections? Anybody? Bueller?

I would also say that selecting Angel ahead of Emilio is pretty ridiculous. Angel only recently returned from injury and has netted three goals to go with two assists for the last-place Red Bulls. Emilio has 10 goals and two assists, helping lead D.C. United’s revival.

Now I am the first to say that I think Angel is easily a better player than Emilio, but there is no denying that Emilio is having the better year and therefore deserves the nod. Nevermind the fact that Angel is still dealing with the back injury that kept him out a few weeks back and the Red Bulls have a game the Sunday after the All-Star game in San Jose. D.C. United has a bye week after the All-Star game (I might even buy the theory that D.C. could have been playing in a SuperLiga final that weekend, but two Houston players were named as reserves, along with Bornstein, all of which are playing in SuperLiga.)

What do you think of these all-star reserve selections? Share your thoughts below.

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