Despite being among the league’s leading scorers, D.C. United forward Charlie Davies was not included on the MLS all-star squad that will face Manchester United on July 27 at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.
New York Red Bulls Coach Hans Backe, who will overee the MLS team, unveiled his 22-man game-day roster Monday. Because of the game’s competitive nature, he made strategic picks rather than honoring those who have warranted midseason recognition.
Davies is tied with Brek Shea of FC Dallas for third in the MLS scoring race with eight goals, one behind New York’s Thierry Henry and Los Angeles’ Landon Donovan.
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Shea, Henry and Donovan were among the First XI determined by fan voting. The others were Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller; defenders Rafael Marquez and Tim Ream (New York), and Sean Franklin and Omar Gonzalez (Los Angeles); midfielders David Beckham (Los Angeles) and Jack Jewsbury (Portland); and San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski.
However, Keller and Shea were not named to Backe’s game-day roster because of upcoming CONCACAF Champions League matches with their respective clubs, and Gonzalez and Marquez won’t play because of injuries.
New York forward Juan Agudelo, 18, and Kansas City forward Omar Bravo, a former Mexican league star, were Commissioner Don Garber’s selections. Kansas City defender Matt Besler received all-star honors for receiving the most votes via text messages.
On Monday Backe added goalkeepers Tally Hall (Houston) and Faryd Mondragon (Philadelphia); defenders Corey Ashe (Houston), Geoff Cameron (Houston), Bobby Convey (San Jose), Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake) and Heath Pearce (Chivas USA); midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Brad Davis (Houston), Shalrie Joseph (New England) and Nick LaBrocca (Chivas USA); and forward Omar Cummings (Colorado).
Davies has scored as many goals as Agudelo and Bravo combined. However, they were were special picks by the commissioner and Cummings was chosen because of his speed.
The collective bargaining agreement between the league and players’ union requires 32 “all-stars” (bonuses are at stake), so the balance of the “team” (six players) will be determined by the results of player-only voting. (Players were not allowed to vote for themselves or teammates.)
The league won’t reveal the names of the extra all-stars until next week. If game-day selections suffer injuries over the next week, replacements will come from the group of extras.
The 32-player group will include four goalkeepers, eight defenders, 13 midfielders and seven forwards.