Major League Soccer announced earlier today the players available for selection to the 2012 MLS All-Star game through fan voting. Included in the list of players are six members of the San Jose Earthquakes. MLS Golden Boot leader Chris Wondolowski and team assist leader Steven Beitashour top the candidates, with Jon Busch, Marvin Chavez, Steven Lenhart, and Rafael Baca rounding out the list.
The 2012 MLS All-Star will be contested on July 25 at PPL Park in Chester, PA and feature the best players of MLS facing off against English Premier League side Chelsea FC. Chelsea, the current UEFA Champions League title holders, also played in the 2006 All-Star match, when they lost 1-0 from a goal scored by game MVP Dwayne De Rosario.
Last season, Wondolowski and midfielder Bobby Convey, now with Sporting Kansas City, represented the Earthquakes in the MLS All-Star match played at Red Bull Arena against EPL champions Manchester United. The Red Devils were playing in their second straight MLS All-Star game, and they showed no mercy for their MLS counterparts in chalking up a comfortable 4-0 victory. Man U had won the 2010 contest by an equally impressive 5-2 scoreline.
Fan voting will launch on June 8, and can be accomplished through three mechanisms. From the MLSsoccer.com website, voters are able to select their “First XI” candidates from among the 114 players available. If one prefers to vote over one’s phone, send the player’s first name and last name via text messaging to 22442. A third phase of voting will take place on Twitter the weekend of June 21-22, but exact details of that process have yet to be released.
A panel of media members nominated a total of 114 players to the fan ballot, with each team represented on the ballot by six players. The eleven players with the highest combined tallies from the three methods following the close of voting on July 2 will be announced as the “All-Star First XI” — regardless of position — and will be eligible for selection by All-Star head coach Peter Nowak to his game-day roster and starting line-up against Chelsea. The remainder of the 32 players eligible for selection by Nowak will be determined by MLS Commissioner Don Garber and from the results of player voting.
Who are your MLS First XI, and who among the Earthquakes deserves to be on that list. Did the media panel get it correct in their top six nominations from the Earthquakes, or was someone unceremoniously snubbed? Please share your comments below and be sure to vote in our Centerline Soccer All-Star poll.
(Cover Photo: Joe Nuxoll, centerlinesoccer.com)