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A closer look at the MLS All-Star First XI

Guillermo Barros Schelotto (

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While there were no real shocking selections in the 2009 MLS All-Star First XI, there were still plenty of question marks surrounding some of the picks, as well as how some of the voting broke down.

The ballot-box stuffing by Seattle Sounders fans didn't load up the First XI with Sounders, but it did help one Sounder get on who is probably the least deserving of all the First XI selections. That player is Freddie Ljungberg.

Now, Ljungberg is a world star and having him at the All-Star Game doesn't exactly hurt ratings and such, but how he wound up on the team makes you wonder about the thought processes of some of those who voted.

According to the final stats on voting provided by MLS, Ljungberg received the third-highest percentage of votes among midfielders by the media, behind only Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Cuauhtemoc Blanco. Among players, Ljungberg finished seventh among midfielders at best (MLS didn't release the full voting results, just the leading vote-getters, of which Ljungberg was next-to-last among midfielders.)

So who should have been chosen in midfield that wasn't? There are some quality candidates, such as Toronto FC's Amado Guevara and Houston's Brad Davis, but both saw teammates be chosen ahead of them. Blanco was the next highest vote-getter, but anyone really watching the Fire this season will agree that he hasn't been the best or most consistent player for Chicago this year.

Perhaps more curious than the Ljungberg inclusion was the Fredy Montero exclusion. Montero was the leading vote-getter among fans and media, but was beaten so badly in the players and coaches/general managers categories that he still wound up finishing third in the voting, behind Conor Casey.

How did that happen exactly? MLS teams often conduct their all-star voting early in the summer, which would have come A) in the midst of Conor Casey's very strong month of May and B) before Montero's impressive surge in June. As someone who had Casey on the ballot in early June, but who changed it to Montero when I finally voted a week ago, I can certainly see how Casey crushed Montero in team voting.

Wondering how the voting breaks down by position, and by voting group? I'm trying to secure some more detailed stats on the voting as we speak, but for now here is some voting to consider:

Selections listed in order of voting (I will update if and when I receive some more detailed voting stats):



GOALKEEPER– Keller, Onstad

DEFENDER– Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Chad Marshall, Jonathan Bornstein

MIDFIELDER– Freddie Ljungberg, Osvaldo Alonso, Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Dwayne DeRosario, Cuauhtemoc Blanco

FORWARDS– Fredy Montero, Landon Donovan



GOALKEEPER– Keller, Onstad

DEFENDER– Chad Marshall, Geoff Cameron, Jonathan Bornstein/Jhon Kennedy Hurtado (tied)

MIDFIELDER– Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, Freddie Ljungberg, Dwayne DeRosario, Osvaldo Alonso.

FORWARDS– Fredy Montero, Landon Donovan



GOALKEEPER– Keller, Onstad

DEFENDER– Chad Marshall, Geoff Cameron, Wilman Conde

MIDFIELDER– Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Shalrie Joseph, Stuart Holden, Ricardo Clark, Paulo Nagamura

FORWARDS– Conor Casey, Landon Donovan



GOALKEEPER– Keller, Onstad

DEFENDER– Chad Marshall, Wilman Conde, Geoff Cameron

MIDFIELDER– Guillermo Barros Schelotto, Shalrie Joseph, Stuart Holden, Paulo Nagamura, Ljungberg/Clark (tie)

FORWARDS– Conor Casey, Landon Donovan


I will update these groupings once I receive more detailed info. I'm sure players such as Amado Guevara and Brad Davis will show up on a few of these lists once I have the longer voting results.


So who's on the all First XI Snub Team? Here's my picks:

———-Fredy Montero———-Santino Quaranta—–

——————–Amado Guevara————————

Brad Davis———————————–Marco Pappa

———Osvaldo Alonso———Paulo Nagamura——-

Gonzalo Segares—–JK Hurtado———–Bryan Namoff

————————Pat Onstad—————————

Two notes. Quaranta was a forward on the ballot, and yes, I've backed off my Zach THornton for All-Star campaign. Chivas USA just hasn't been good enough over the past month for him to still be chosen ahead of Keller, Onstad or even Donovan Ricketts at this point.

In the end, MLS All-Star voting is a very subjective process, not only in terms of judging which players are better than others, but also judging which criteria you follow for voting. Some people pick the players they think are having the best seasons, some people pick the players they think are the best players, regardless of actual in-season form. Some people wind up voting for players who were great a year ago, but maybe not as good this year.


What did you think of the All-Star selections? Surprised at how the voting broke down? What one player not chosen would you find a way to get on the All-Star team when it takes on Everton on July 29th?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. @colin

    you said it dude

    “A true AMERICAN SOCCER FAN should root for good soccer within our borders, regardless of who is playing it.” -colin

    Now you just need to stop the hate and appreciate that the Sounders are an asset to the league in which I hope you have great aspirations for as well. Stop dragging us in the mud, you only make the MLS look bad.

  2. Colin, if you bring up the NBA in argument you’ve lost just about everyone.

    Nobody was asking for your respect or that of MLS… most of this All Star nonsense is made up flame talk of sour grapes fanboys who’s pet players didn’t get the nod.

    Just about every one- if not every sounders fan- I know here in Seattle could give a damn about the All Star game.

    Let me see .. The sounders play Chelsea on Saturday

    Followed by Houston next week in the Semi;s of the US Open Cup

    Don’t forget Barcelona on August 5th.

    Did I forget anything Colin?

    Might care for a break– our players…


  3. Westcoast..

    “I’m a Sounders fan (though a Fire fan at heart),”

    So you’re leading by example?

    Whats with supporting two teams? And you go on about bandwagon riders

    Posted by: Rastafari | July 14, 2009 at 06:59 PM


    All you Seattle fans are so full of yourselves and think you did something wonderful by averaging 30k+ attendance in a city where your bball team left, your football team is in the offseason, and your baseball team might as well play in single-A.

    WIN SOMETHING and then the rest of the league (and fans) might give you more respect. ALSO, maybe you should understand that while you SHOULD root for one team, what’s the harm in rooting for another? A true AMERICAN SOCCER FAN should root for good soccer within our borders, regardless of who is playing it.

    You want respect from MLS after half a season of good attendance but call people out when they support your team? PATHETIC. WIN SOME TITLES OR MAKE THE PLAYOFFS AND THEN WE’LL TALK.


    DC United, KC Wizards, SJ Earthquakes, Houston Dynamo, Chicago Fire, Columbus Crew, and LA Galaxy fans who have HISTORY on their side

  4. Listen Rastafari, I grew up near Chicago, I’ve followed the MLS for years, what was I supposed to be neutral the whole time? Now I live in Seattle and its been super exciting to be able to go to games in person or go to the bars and watch with other fans, of course I’m going to get behind the local team. But I can’t just ignore the team I’ve always cheered for. This is always a dilemma with expansion teams. Who did NBA fans in OKC root for before they stole the Sonics? Mavs, Hornets, someone else? Now that they have the Thunder, is there not still a soft spot in their heart for their old favorite?

    Sounders fans are amazing, the passion around this city is unbelievable, there is reason to boast (it helps that the team is pretty good too). It’s great for the MLS. But when people like bigftw say “Just because the rest of the league averages about a 3rd of what we average makes Seattle a threat to them for some reason” or CJ says “when it no longer takes the rest of you three matches to match our attendance let alone our atmosphere for a single match then you can start running your mouths…,” it’s not just arrogant, it’s ignorant of what’s happened at TFC. I love what’s happening here and that so many new fans are being turned on to the game, but I just wish there was a greater appreciation for the history of the rest of the league.


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