Shouldn't the MLS all star game feature, well ... MLS players? Instead of playing a European giant (Bayern, Arsenal or Spurs), why not put on a match featuring the best players in the league? West against East ... and find a way to recognize more players who richly deserve it.
Here's my take on what the teams could look like ... based on the MLS current selection tool. A starting XI composed of a GK, three defenders, four midfield players and three forwards. Not ideal but let's keep the league model. In addition, the roster for each conference would be topped up with seven reservists on the bench.
Here would be my selections ... First, from the Western Conference:
GK: David Ousted ... The Whitecaps keeper is the best in the league. Solid, confident with few weaknesses.
Defenders: Matt Hedges ... a big part of the defense that allows FC Dallas talent to express itself upfront. Nuno Coelho, a gem of a find for SKC. And Ashley Cole ...who thought he had so much to give to the LA Galaxy. On the bench would be: Jelle Van Damme from the Galaxy and Vancouver's Kendall Waston ... same kind of physical and imposing defenders who are doing very well for their respective teams.
Mids: many choices but the starting four would include:
- Darlington Nagbe ... pure class: speed, vision and skill
- Giovani Dos Santos ... is close to achieving all his potential with the LA Galaxy ...makes them contenders, again
- Fabian Castillo ... pace and skills .. not long before a Euro team snaps him up ...
- Matias Laba ... because you need a DM ... and there are few better than him in MLS (gets the edge over Alonso and Chara)
- on the bench: Diego Valeri and Kekuta Manneh ... need a set piece specialist: Valeri is your guy ...need space to slice open a tired defense? bring on Manneh ...
Forwards: Fanendo Adi ... an athletic poacher, great hold up play as well ... He and Nagbe are a powerful combo ... Chris Wondolowski ... a pure scorer ... impeccable movement ... ready on the bench: Robbie Keane and Dom Dwyer.
Now, that's a scary line-up for the Western Conference ...
The next post will look at what the roster would look for the Eastern Conference all stars ...