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First XI Mania

donovan 350 300x171 First XI Mania

Yesterday, we learned the First XI for the MLS All Star Game versus Everton on July 29th. Everton has lost its two most recent matches against MLS sides in Chicago last year and Salt Lake the year before. (I bet you never read that in the British press). David Moyes team features American keeper Tim Howard and recent signing Anton Peterlin formerly of the Ventura County Fusion in the USL/PDL. Here is the MLS Starting XI:

Goalkeeper: Kasey Keller (Seattle Sounders FC)*

Defenders: Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo)*, Wilman Conde (Chicago Fire)*, Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew)*

Midfielders: Dwayne De Rosario (Toronto FC), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo)*, Shalrie Joseph (New England Revolution) Freddie Ljungberg (Seattle Sounders FC)*, Guillermo Barros Schelotto (Columbus Crew

Forwards: Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids)*, Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy)

Keep in mind these selection are non binding on All Star Manager Dom Kinnear who will select his own starting XI. It’s remarkable that an American player like Cameron makes the First XI but has still not been capped by Bob Bradley. Given the lack of tactically flexible “utility” players in the US squad right now (the roles previously filled by the likes of Earnie Stewart, Joe Max Moore and Benny Olsen) Cameron’s versatility should have him on Bradley’s radar.

The All-Star game is a waste of time from my vantage point but if we are going to play it, it is worthwhile to have a squad like this which will likely crush Everton especially given the altitude of Salt Lake City. I bet the British media won’t write about the match itself if my prediction comes to pass. Just as the British press ignored the results in 2005, 2006 and 2008 when EPL teams were humbled by the MLS all star side.

In 2006, Chelsea was defeated at Toyota Park in a match I attended by an MLS All Star “B” team which featured among others, Facundo Erpen now in USL, Freddy Adu now in football purgatory, and Chris Albright who ran wild down the right flank for much of the match. Yet, the English press seemed to miss the story and the match entriely.

In 2007, the same night as the LA Galaxy played Chelsea in David Beckham’s debut, Real Salt Lake then in last place beat Everton 2-1 at Rice Eccles Stadium. Strnagely the 1-0 Chelsea win made the British papers and websites, but the Everton game which ended earl;ier did not.

Also yesterday, the USSF named the Best XI from the recently completed Development Academy. Keep an eye on these names as they are all likely future professionals and perhaps national team members.

U-15/16 Development Academy Starting XI
GOALKEEPER (1): Keith Cardona (New York Red Bulls Academy)
DEFENDERS (4): Marquez Fernandez (Baltimore Bays Chelsea), Ricardo Hernandez (Arsenal FC), Torey McGaw (Mustang SC), Bryan de la Fuente (Chivas USA Academy)
MIDFIELDERS (3): Riley Wolfe (Los Angeles Galaxy Academy), AJ Corrado (Carmel United), Joseph Schmid (FC DELCO)
FORWARDS (3): Victor Chavez (Real So Cal), Ruben Luna (FC Dallas), Zak Foxhoven (Colorado Rush)

U-17/18 Development Academy Starting XI
GOALKEEPER (1): Larry Jackson (IMG Academy)
DEFENDERS (4): Matt Wiet (Crew Soccer Academy), Taylor Kemp (Real Colorado), Anthony Arena (Crossfire Premier), Daniel Villegas (Miami FC Academy)
MIDFIELDERS (3): Dillon Powers (Andromeda), Andrew Wenger (PA Classics), Norberto Ochoa (Arsenal FC)
FORWARDS (3): Ryan Finley (PDA), Rodolfo Godinez (Nomads), Will Bates (Richmond Strikers)

It is esepcially good news that a large percentage of the top kids have come from MLS youth academies. Also named was Daniel Villegas, whom I saw in person with Miami FC youth team not long ago.


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About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
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