Top Stories

Gerrard, Lampard included among selections for All-Star Game

Frank Lampard NYCFC Training 0701

 

By RYAN TOLMICH

Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard won’t have to wait long before taking on Premier League opposition once again.

The two English midfielders have been selected by MLS commissioner Don Garber to participate in the MLS All-Star game on July 29 at Tottenham. With their selections, the duo join a roster of 11 MLS players that have been selected by fan voting, while the rest will be chosen by Colorado Rapids head coach Pablo Mastroeni, who will take charge of the team as the game is being hosted at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Announced Monday, the roster is littered with U.S. Men’s National Team regulars including Nick Rimando, Omar Gonzalez, Michael Bradley, Graham Zusi and Clint Dempsey, each of whom is currently on duty for the ongoing Gold Cup.

In addition, Americans Matt Besler, DaMarcus Beasley and Benny Feilhaber join a roster that includes international selections in Kaka, David Villa and Obafemi Martins.

While the roster will still feature Mastroeni’s selections, notable snubs include the league’s leading goalscorer and assister in Kei Kamara and Ethan Finlay, respectively, as well as Toronto FC star Sebastian Giovinco.

Take a closer look at the current MLS All-Star Game roster below:

GOALKEEPERS: Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

DEFENDERS: Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Matt Besler (Sporting KC), DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo)

MIDFIELDERS: Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Kaka (Orlando City), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting KC) Graham Zusi (Sporting KC), Steven Gerrard (LA Galaxy), Frank Lampard (NYCFC)

FORWARDS: Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders), David Villa (NYCFC)

What do you think of the MLS roster? Which player is the biggest surprise? Any snubs? Who would you like to see Mastroeni add?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. I guess the assumption is that lampard and gerrard will both be regular starters from august to october so, therefore, it would make sense to put them in the all star game now. Although i can understand that some people might not see it that way.

    Reply
  2. I find it so hard to get worked up about this. Of course they were named to the team. Of course the league is trying to maximize exposure through these two players. It’s an All-Star Game; All-Star games are themselves exercises in silliness.

    Now if you really want to have a laugh at MLS, go read about how Martins was selected to the Fan XI…

    Reply
  3. I’m sorry but these two should definitely participate in the all star game. They are arguably the 2 biggest stars in the league.

    The all star game is about giving the fans the players they want to see. They want to see lampard / Gerrard not kei Kamara sorry guys.

    Reply
  4. its a joke.. but it brings in a lot of noobs, or at least their money for a day.

    im just glad that its after the Gold Cup and months before qualifying starts!

    i hope Pirlo and Gio dos Santos makes the team too!

    Reply
  5. I know this won’t happen anytime now, maybe in 20 years or 10 but MLS season schedule is wrong.
    With all the gold cup, copa America, Summer friendlies, summer tournaments, all star game, baseball all star game happening, MLS should switch their schedule to the august to may, with a WINTER BREAK.
    Remember I said, probably it won’t happen anytime soon,maybe in 10 years but MLS would do wonders with the august to may schedule.
    Once MLS gets 28 or 30 teams and enough stadiums of their own, I see it happening.
    Then if you add the fact that Seattle, Vancouver might have their own stadium in 10 years and Chicago and Montreal might have a better stadium situation in 10 years as well.

    Reply
  6. Choosing All-Stars that haven’t played any MLS games is so bush league. The All-Star game itself is bush league. Sigh.

    Reply
  7. The Lampard and Gerrard thing seesm more of a play for overseas viewers. Both having just left the EPL, would bring in a ton of viewers from England. Also, makes sense since they’re playing an EPL team.

    They still have 7 more spots available.

    I have to think they’re going to bring in Giovinco, Keane (if he wants to play against his former team), Stephan Frei (easily been the best keeper this year: has the most saves in MLS and most clean sheets), and also a RB.

    Reply
  8. On this logic, they should add Ronaldo, Aguero, Tevez, and my high school soccer coach Buck Henderson to the roster, because all four of these guys have as many MLS appearances as Lampard and Gerrard do

    Reply
  9. Agree that it is no big deal to have them invited, the other players mentioned will be picked anyhow.
    Garber picking these guys gives cover to the coach for potentially choosing someone who has not played yet – hence a league/commish call – no big deal. All star game is for marketing anyway, no big deal, its a showcase for the league and top name players, don’t take it so seriously!…

    Reply
  10. The only way selecting Lampard and Gerrard hurts anyone is if a player has a “make the All Star game” incentive in their contract and would be excluded from the team as a result of these selections. Maybe someone can do some reporting on that. As for the merit of the picks, well, there is no merit since neither has played an MLS game. The All Star game is a showcase for the league, however, and this gives them a chance to highlight two big stars and maybe pump up the tv eyeballs. You can hardly blame Garber for doing this. They probably would have been invited as guests anyway, and if you are going to bring them you might as well give them a run for half an hour.

    Reply
    • You’d have to take quite a risk-taker to sign on to such an incentive. In MLS, more so than in other US sports I would argue, the biggest “stars” and the best players are not always the same. This has to be clear to any player or agent thinking of such a deal.

      Reply
  11. Well they deserve to be there based on their MLS play.

    Both of their seasons ended many many months ago, but they stayed in the P to see it to the bitter end.
    But then did they rush over to MLS?

    Nope.

    SG played an exhibition match first. Then another.

    Are they just a circus side show?

    Yup.

    Reply
    • I get the indignation towards Lampard, given all the nonsense that went down with him.

      Not sure about Gerrard, though. Could he have come over earlier given his contract and the MLS transfer window? I really don’t know. Just asking.

      Reply
  12. Settle down people. Giovinco will be there. Lampard n Gerrard have to be there, I mean they’re huge players in MLS. It’ll all be ok.

    Reply
    • Hey guy, no one is going crazy and rioting in the streets because of this announcement, so don’t condescend us.

      Who cares if they were really good a few seasons ago, the fact is that they haven’t played a game in the MLS. They should stick to that principle when selecting an all star team

      Reply
  13. I await the day when MLS realizes it’s a competitive league of sports teams and not a vaudeville show. While sports don’t sell without some entertainment, too often MLS decides that entertainment is more important.

    Reply
    • But it’s the All-Star Game! Of course it’s more of a vaudeville show. The NBA All-Star Game isn’t?

      The All-Star game is always going to be about entertainment. Period.

      Reply
      • Point taken, but it’s not just the All-Star Game. The “marketing first, competition second” attitude permeates everything MLS does.

      • Like all sports leagues, it’s a business first. If it helps the business to put these two guys on this roster for this meaningless showcase game then go for it. If it helps the business to play a friendly against a european team because eurosnob fanboys will pay $200 to watch their team, do it. Nothing wrong with that.

      • I guess my argument is that despite the short-term cash inflow, over the long term some of these moves harm the business, by undermining its credibility/integrity and lowering its value in people’s eyes.

  14. I am tired of these stupid allstar games. I get it that MLS wants a barometer or a means of measuring themselves against European team but I miss the old format. I have enjoyed more the East vs West format from the initial years. And I am positive that there are MLS fans that have never even seen one of those. I still have memories of Tabs 30 yard rocket in the inaugural MLS Allstar game. Or Donovan and Jim Rooney sporting bra homage to Chastain’s 99 World Cup celebration.

    Reply
    • I don’t think measuring itself against other leagues has anything to do with the league’s motivation for playing foreign clubs. It’s all about the US/Canadian/global TV audience.

      Reply
      • Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

        Its all about exposure, which in turn leads to some of these nice TV rights deals that MLS has signed, which leads to greater exposure, which leads to more and more players wanting to play in MLS, which leads to a better overall product, which leventually eads to MLS becoming one of best leagues in the world

        Yes, it is a long road, but Lampard and Gerrard playing is a business decision. So is having the international teams playing. Its putting more eyes, on the MLS for this one event

  15. Everyone needs to relax! It is an exhibition, its not like Home Field advantage at MLS Cup is riding on the game.

    It is a showcase event and an opportunity to put more eyes on MLS and have more television sets tuned in. Having Lampard and Gerrard will do that alot more than having Kei Kamara and Ethan Finley playing.

    And Im pretty sure Finley and Kamara will be chosen as substitutes as well as Giovinco (who I agree should be starting because he is the best player in the league and the league should market him that way in addition to being a DP in his prime who chose MLS)

    If Dos Santos signs Id expect him there as well

    Reply
    • Agreed. And people have to remember this is one of the few MLS games where, arguably, more viewers from outside the US will tune in than inside the US. It would be utterly baffling to international viewers how arguably the 2 biggest starts in the league would not be included in the “All-Star Team”.

      And before anyone says “who cares what people in other countries think,” I think it’s fair to say the owners and league office care quite a bit.

      Reply
  16. Meh…. no big deal. It’s called an All-STAR game for a reason. These guys have signed with the league and are big stars. Two of the most famous players in the league.

    I don’t get why people get worked up over all-star games in any sport. They’re supposed to be about the biggest stars, not the best players.

    Reply
  17. Giovinco, Kei Kamara, Lloyd Sam, Federico Higuaín, Fabian Castillo, Osvaldo Alonso, Kemar Lawrence, Kendall Waston, Bobby Boswell, Alvas Powell and …. GK is tight race … Bill Hamid or Luis Robles or David Ousted or Tyler Deric

    Bench a bunch of midfielders – Ethan Finlay, Gyasi Zardes, Perry Kitchen and Dax McCarty

    Reply
  18. SG and FL must be a little embarrassed to be “his” picks. If I were them I’d refuse. I’m not 🙁

    This is hard proof that MLS is run by marketing executives.

    Reply
  19. Relax everyone. This is the fan vote. The others you guys mentioned will get selected. As for Stevie G and Lampard being chosen by Garber, I have 2 words…..Mickey Mouse.

    Reply
    • It’s clear MLS has three strategic imperatives: (1) Do what it takes to get higher TV rights fees for the next signing cycle, which probably includes wooing viewers of LigaMx, BPL and La Liga in addition to finding new viewers. (2) Expand judiciously / opportunistically in order to bring more wealth into the league, plus help expand the TV footprint for imperative no. 1 above. And, (3) complete their infrastructure so every team has a stable stadium situation.

      One of the big tactics to support their strategy is to improve the on-field quality of play. If you’ve watched this league, that has been slowly happening over the last 8 years. Another tactic is bringing in name-brand stars in hopes they will draw more eyeballs– Giovinco, Lampard, Gerrard, Villa, Martins, Dempsey, Bradley, Altidore, Keane are recognizable. Clearly adding Lampard and Gerrard is about trying to get people to watch the game who normally wouldn’t watch. Not sure how much they make selling advertising and TV rights on this event, but they want it to be something people watch, if not now, then in the future. No matter how silly and shameless ASGs can be, they are all in.

      Reply
      • Yup. Dunno why all the bellyaching.

        MLS improves their product by fair increments every year. Every year we get more players, more DP’s, more stadiums, more teams, more money, more attendance, more games shown on TV every year, you name it…

        …and people still gripe about how “MLS is a joke of a league.”

        MLS has done some durn good things for a league only 20 years old. Amazing, really. It would have been very easy to do this wrong and watch yet another league tank.

        What I particularly like is the idea of an end product that’s going to have 30+ teams, easily, that all can legitimately aspire to win the league. The “haves” and “have-nots” always bothered me about European soccer, and the fact that in every league there’s only 3-4 teams with a remote chance of winning it, and only 2 of those, usually, are really serious contenders.

        If, say, Colorado or the now-defunct Chivas USA couldn’t compete under the current structure, they really do have nobody to blame but themselves. It’s entirely attainable.

    • Umm.. yeah.. an MLS All-Star game vs. what would presumably be the NASL ” All-Stars.”

      Yeah..

      Marketing genius on full display..

      Reply
  20. No Giovinco? For shame Garber! Not cool at all. Garber should have selected CR7 too. CR7 said he would like to play in MLS some day.

    Reply
  21. Giovinco is easily the leagues best player, yet he is omitted for two dudes who have not even played a game? Embarrassing.

    Reply
    • I’m with you Nate. Giovinco could win League MVP but get snubbed from the all-star game?

      Alas Zlatan Ibrahimovic will win league MVP this year even though he’s slated to sign with an unknown MLS club in 2016 or 2017 season. Meanwhile Cristiano Ronaldo is going to get inducted into the MLS hall of fame (if MLS has such a thing?) even though he’s not due to play here in 2019 and by then he’ll only play in MLS for two years. Next years all star game will be made up of the following future European soccer stars who are now in sixth grade… ok, ok i’ll stop there.

      Reply
  22. All star games are dumb but this is straight laughable, neither player has played a single MLS game but the are all stars???? MLS ladies and gentlemen.

    Reply
    • MLS ladies and gentlemen.”

      This is an American sports thing. To my knowledge, NASL has an All-Star game, too, correct?

      Reply
      • It’s not the concept of the All Star game that I have a problem with, it’s simply the fact that guys whom have never played a game are selected. I understand why and how they are selected (Garber pick, etc) but that doesn’t mean have to like it.

    • biggest joke is that Pablo Mastroeni is coaching it after winning a whopping total of 12 games in his 2 years as coach. Rapids are not allowed to fire him until well after this game to avoid loosing brand identity during the A$G… lame

      this little marketing shenanigan is stupid but profitable so sure go on, but don’t screw with the real games bc of this!

      Reply
    • i honestly don’t know the all star selection process that well but i thought the fans vote and choose some, and the coaches add others, no? if the 11 they announced are the only 11 that would be odd.. perhaps as odd as Giovinco not being selected in that 11 either.

      Reply
      • That is correct. Coaches add players as well. Thus, the inclusion of Giovinco, Zardes, Keane, etc. are highly likely.

        For example, past all star rosters have been 11 fan voted players, 2 commissioner picks, and 10 chosen by the coach. Plenty of players being mentioned as omitted will ultimately be included.

        As for the inclusion of Gerrard and Lampard, I agree that it may seem distasteful, but they are arguably two of the best players in the league from a general standpoint. As such, they will be included as great players that will bring more viewership and money to the game, whether or not they have played in the league. Also, the opponent is Tottenham, so the English contingent, whether here or abroad, will have a higher likelihood of watching.

Leave a Comment