The 2011 MLS All-Stars According To Hans Backe

Hans Backe has spoken.

Sean Franklin...but you knew this picture was going here...

Below is his game-day roster to match Manchester United in the MLS All-Star Game July 27 at Red Bull Arena. That last statement was contradictory I know.

As long as Brad Davis was on the roster, it was mostly acceptable. Some consternation over the exclusion of Chad Marshall and Joel Lindpere.

I did not think Charlie Davies deserving of all-star status at this time.

Your thoughts?

———-

2011 MLS All-Star game-day roster

Goalkeeper: Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Faryd Mondragón (Philadelphia Union)

Defenders: Corey Ashe (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Bobby Convey (San Jose Earthquakes), Sean Franklin (LA Galaxy), Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake),Heath Pearce (Chivas USA), Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls).

Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), David Beckham (LA Galaxy), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo),Jack Jewsbury (Portland Timbers), Shalrie Joseph (New England Revolution), Nick LaBrocca (Chivas USA)

Forwards: Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Omar Bravo (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Cummings(Colorado Rapids), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

Inactive All-Stars (Note that another six inactive All-Stars will be chosen via player voting): Kasey Keller(Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Rafa Marquez (New York Red Bulls), Brek Shea (FC Dallas)

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44 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by John on 2011/07/18 at 11:29 AM

    As a Timbers fan I would rather hope that Jewsbury sits on the bench the entire game. The idea of him getting injured in an utterly meaningless game is just galling.

    Reply

    • Posted by Johninho on 2011/07/18 at 12:37 PM

      Yeah, but you had to expect if any Timber was going to get in (and I’d have been fine with not having any, for as you say, I’d rather have them pissed off and hungry and pouring them in against Timbers opponents that count), that Cap’n Jack was going to get the bid. And since he got first XI, he’ll play a little.

      So you’ll have to settle for Alexi Lalas calling Jack’s selection out while sideline reporting from WITHIN TA seating at JWF. Ballsy. I’m surprised he doesn’t have bruises.

      Reply

  2. Posted by dth on 2011/07/18 at 11:52 AM

    That George John isn’t an inactive all-star is a tragedy. One of the best in the league this year at his position–definitely better than the more heralded Gonzalez and Ream. Same for Juninho: absolutely also an all-star.

    Also would have Todd Dunivant or Jair Benitez over the mediocre Bobby Convey. A bit of a name pick there–same for Shalrie Joseph, who is definitely aging (though also trapped with New England). Bump Joseph for Juninho or Alonso.

    Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/07/18 at 12:17 PM

      Oh, yeah, forgot one: Sheanon Williams over Corey Ashe.

      (Also, how is Geoff Cameron classified as a defender? He’s barely played there this season. Given that the Dynamo have three defensive All-Stars according to Backe, shouldn’t they have a better defense?)

      Reply

      • Posted by scipio on 2011/07/18 at 1:15 PM

        If the Dynamo actually used Cameron as a defender, they would probably have a much better defense. He was forced to move up after the exodus of talented midfielders, and its a real shame because he showed a ton of potential as a CB.

        Wish the national team would give him a sniff. And yes on Sheanon > Ashe.

        Reply

      • The problem defensively, in my opinion is the midfield. Maybe I’ll sound dumb for saying it, but…

        Ashe has done well so far with a few hiccups. I’ve heard great things about Williams, but I can’t give my opinion on a player I’ve never seen play. Backe has seen first hand how well Ashe shuts down a speedy winger, in Richards, so thats the best way I can try to rationalize Ashe.

        Cameron doesn’t deserve it. He has played really well at CB, the two times he had to fill in. At midfield he’s been the reason we’re not doing as well as I’d like.

        I don’t need to defend Davis, and I shouldn’t have to defend Hall either.

        Reply

    • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/07/18 at 12:27 PM

      Don’t blame me; I voted for John. He’s still got a shot with the player voting. But frankly, I’m more concerned about whether he starts getting looks with the national team than whether he gets his All-star bonus.

      Reply

  3. Posted by John on 2011/07/18 at 12:04 PM

    Hmm, I skimmed without realizing that John wasn’t on there. Totally agree with you there. Also probably would take Frei or Hartman over Hall in the GK category.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Rich B on 2011/07/18 at 12:08 PM

    Nobody from the Crew?!? One of the best defenses in MLS, none deserving of being all stars?

    Reply

  5. Posted by Alex on 2011/07/18 at 12:52 PM

    Its such a shame and George John is constantly overlooked. He is becoming one of the best young CBs in the league. Its a shame he was injured during Cupcake because he could’ve shined that game and could have been more involved in our nat player pool. Hopefully he gets his chance vs Costa Rica

    Reply

  6. Posted by Jake C. on 2011/07/18 at 1:15 PM

    I second (or third, fourth, whatever) the George John comments. Would also have gone with Alonso over Joseph.

    I think a fit Davies deserves to be on the squad, and his comeback story guaranteed him enough votes to be in the all-star group. My qualm in the forward category is with Bravo’s inclusion.

    Reply

    • Posted by John on 2011/07/18 at 1:18 PM

      Bravo was a comish pick and Garber defended it on the mls “soccer night in america” as a pick of

      #1Garber wanting to win
      #2 Bravo’s experience
      #3 Hispanic Draw

      so there is that…..

      Reply

      • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/07/19 at 7:01 PM

        Number 3 represents an interesting issue in terms of the All-Star game (it has a broader application for the MLS in general but that is a much larger post)…

        As background, I am a USMNT fan first and foremost. When it comes to other soccer I primarily follow the EPL (follow Fulham closely since the McBride/Boca days). When I do watch MLS it tends either to be because there is a particular USMNT (prospect) that I want to watch (Salgado, Omar G, Gil, Shea, etc).

        This game is clearly an exhibition which calls into question what the true goal of the game is. I can see a couple different goals
        1) Giving the MLS all-stars a chance to win
        2) Giving a showcase that will draw the most viewers to the game
        3) Rewarding those that had the best overall performance during the first half of the year.

        Those three items are often at odds… from a rewarding first half performance it would seem that someone like Wondo who played in less than half of the teams games should be behind someone like CD9 who played every game. From a TV stand point Agudelo is a MNT name and someone I would like to see play against Man U but not deserving (based on performance missing multiple games and not even starting).

        It is utterly unclear to me what the goal is so it is hard to judge the roster selections.

        Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/07/18 at 3:07 PM

      I have not been impressed with Davies this year. Four of his goals are from the spot — two after clear dives.

      Regardless – to me he has four goals from the run of play — one when the defender fell so now we’re down to 3.

      Given what I’ve seen out of watching DC United, Davies hasn’t been a difference maker for me. Teams don’t fear him–I think they respect his finishing, but they also know that they can body him and that they can run for the most part with his first step.

      I’ve been very impressed–though not calling him an All Star–with Jorge Perlaza who has the same four goals from the run of play and continually provides either the hold-up work or makes the corner runs. I imagine he’s a dream to coach.

      I’ve also been impressed with Stephen Lenhart (though not an All-Star either) and Fabian Castillo.

      In spurts, I’ve been extremely impressed with Maicon Santos–but his inconsistency hurts him for sure.

      Irrespective of who I already have, if you were telling me I could pick up a striker for the stretch run.

      My list looks like this of the aforementioned names:

      1) Perlaza
      2) Santos
      3a) Lenhart
      3b) Davies
      4) Castillo

      (I know, I cheat on having two #3s)

      Reply

      • Posted by John on 2011/07/18 at 3:31 PM

        Jorge probably should have 5, but the goal against Seattle is still being called an “own goal” despite Merritt’s best effort.

        Considering that at times recently the Timbers have been playing a 4 -1 – 4 -1 (which turns into a 9 – 1 at times) Perlaza still works his socks off.

        Reply

      • Posted by dth on 2011/07/18 at 5:43 PM

        To me, Josh Wolff has been the best DC forward this season…and pretty easily, too.

        Reply

      • Posted by Jake C. on 2011/07/19 at 8:53 AM

        Davies isn’t a difference maker for sure. He hasn’t regained full fitness yet, but he’s high enough on your list of strikers to get the edge in voting with sympathy points. Don’t know if he’ll have the edge he used to, but I’m pleased enough to see him in the squad.

        Reply

        • Posted by Jake C. on 2011/07/19 at 8:56 AM

          Pleased to see him in DCU’s squad, that is. Obviously not in the all-star lineup, just realized how vague that last post was. Bottom line, I think he should have been included–don’t see how Garber missed him with his picks.

          Reply

      • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/20 at 4:38 PM

        “Regardless – to me he has four goals from the run of play — one when the defender fell so now we’re down to 3.”

        Two of those “run of play goals” came from absolutely horrendous defensive errors, where the defender basically gave the ball to Charlie and said “here take it and score!”; that takes you down to about one goal.

        A goal is a goal and that many goals is not to be sneezed at but if you are looking at Charlie in terms of how he compares to his personal best, he’s got a ways to go yet.

        Reply

  7. Posted by Matt Mathai on 2011/07/18 at 3:10 PM

    John should have been selected.

    Convey has been pretty meh this season.

    I’m a bit baffled at the exclusion of Davies. Agudelo, Bravo, and Cummings have ten goals between them. Davies has eight. If goals are how forwards are measured, this makes no sense.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/07/18 at 3:13 PM

      Matt, agree on Convey — how in the world he made it I’m not sure. He’s been average and upset his coach this year.

      On goals, I–personally–discount PKs. Given that some strikers (yes, it’s a skill) get to take them and don’t. To me, I would remove PKs when measuring forwards.

      For example, Conor Casey in the run of play does just as well as Landon Donovan (I did this review 18 months ago mind you).

      Anywho…

      Reply

      • Posted by Matt Mathai on 2011/07/18 at 3:34 PM

        You know the old golf saying that applies in this case to soccer too? “They don’t ask how, they just ask how many”. A goal is a goal, and as witnessed by the match this weekend, a PK is not a gimme. Pressure does strange things to players, and I never discount the fortitude it takes to demand the ball.

        Re: other aspects of being a forward, it’s clear to me that Davies hasn’t regained the speed and explosiveness he had before his accident. He still makes fantastic angled runs, however. His problem is that our midfield has not learned how to release the ball to him at the right time. I hope that DeRosario’s arrival will help in that regard.

        Reply

        • Posted by Jared on 2011/07/18 at 4:38 PM

          I wouldn’t compare the pressure of a penalty in the MLS regular season to that of either a World Cup final or a Copa America match. Both of the latter actually matter.

          I’d rather have a striker that scores in the run of play than from the spot. Plenty of non strikers can take a mean penalty.

          Reply

          • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/07/18 at 4:42 PM

            Exactly. Plus opportunities to score from the run of play are far more likely to occur than from the penalty spot during a typical game. The fact that Davies’s stats are padded by four penalty goals through half a season is kind of fluky.

            Reply

            • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/20 at 4:52 PM

              “The fact that Davies’s stats are padded by four penalty goals through half a season is kind of fluky.”

              I rarely hear this from fans who aren’t Americans.

              Should the fact that Dirk Nowitski is an excellent free throw shooter be held against him when evaluating him as an offensive player?

              There is a reason many teams have a designated penalty taker.

            • Posted by dth on 2011/07/20 at 5:01 PM

              Free throws are a greater percentage of a successful basketball player’s offense than penalty kicks are of a successful soccer player’s.

              It is fair, what you’re saying: there is some degree of difficulty to taking and making PKs. That said, it’s clearly easier than scoring goals in general, and clearly a thing that fluctuates and doesn’t reflect what’s most important–the run of play. Brek Shea’s 8 goals are worth much more than Davies’s goals.

            • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/20 at 5:41 PM

              “Posted by dth on 2011/07/20 at 5:01 PM

              Free throws are a greater percentage of a successful basketball player’s offense than penalty kicks are of a successful soccer player’s.

              It is fair, what you’re saying: there is some degree of difficulty to taking and making PKs. That said, it’s clearly easier than scoring goals in general, and clearly a thing that fluctuates and doesn’t reflect what’s most important–the run of play. Brek Shea’s 8 goals are worth much more than Davies’s goals”

              Your argument is unconvincing.

              At all levels of the game, if the score is 1-1 and your team scored from a penalty and the other guy scored from open play, it is still a tie.

              Therefore, Shea’s 8 goals are worth exactly as much Davies’ goals. There is no distinction, nor should there be.

              As for penalties being easier, well that all depends on how you look at it. Taking the penalty may be easy, or not. However, getting the other team to concede a penalty may not have been so easy.

              I’ve seen plenty of tap-ins from 6 feet in or less that were easier than any penalty. How about own goals? Are they easier? How about unintentional deflected shot goals? Should you get credit even though you probably had no idea of what was happening? What about goals where the defender or keeper hits you with a clearance and it bounces into the goal, or at least breaks for you in such a way that scoring is simple.

              The point is what you are talking about is aesthetic value, what could be called style points, such as what you get in Olympic figure skating.

              Well soccer ain’t figure skating.

              If points were awarded based on the degree of difficulty of a goal or the degree of aesthetic pleasure it gave the fans, then if you think officiating is messed up now, well buddy, you ain’t seen nothing.

              Soccer is a simple game. Score one more goal than the other side and you win. Score the same number of goals and you tie.

              I’d like to keep it that way.

            • Posted by dth on 2011/07/20 at 7:14 PM

              You make think your views simple, but I’d call them simplistic. They aren’t worth the same. My view isn’t one of aesthetics–you’re putting words in my mouth–it’s one of weighing value. Namely: what is it that Davies is doing that some other player couldn’t do? PKs? Tons of guys can do that.

              Do you really believe Davies is the only man capable of scoring a PK? Of course not. I’d guess, on DC, that Josh Wolff, De Rosario, Pontius and even Najar could do similarly as well as Davies.

              On the other hand, goals like Brek Shea’s tonight are far more unlikely and therefore much more value. It’s simple value over replacement.

            • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/20 at 7:58 PM

              Here’s what you wrote:

              “Brek Shea’s 8 goals are worth much more than Davies’s goals.”

              Here’s your reply to what I wrote:

              “Namely: what is it that Davies is doing that some other player couldn’t do? PKs? Tons of guys can do that. Do you really believe Davies is the only man capable of scoring a PK? Of course not. I’d guess, on DC, that Josh Wolff, De Rosario, Pontius and even Najar could do similarly as well as Davies.
              On the other hand, goals like Brek Shea’s tonight are far more unlikely and therefore much more value. It’s simple value over replacement.”

              There is a value to simplicity, so why don’t you simplify what you write?

              Shea’s goals have exactly equal value to Davies’ goals by any objective standard; that is if you are talking about the goals.

              But you aren’t talking about the goals; you are talking about the players who score them.

              One can make an argument that Shea is more valuable to a given team because he scores from open play while Davies scores more from penalties. You could make that argument but I wouldn’t necessarily agree because what matters to me is the production of a goal by a player or players, however that goal is produced. A player has to work to draw a penalty.

              Penalties are more involved than regular goals . A player goes into the box, does something to make the opponent commit an infraction, then he or someone else has to make the shot. More moving parts than a regular goal and therefore more prone to screwup.

              However he does it, Davies somehow was an indispensible part of the production of at least eight goals. That was not an accident. So if I’m Ben Olsen I don’t care how those eight goals got scored. I just look at Charlie and see eight goals.
              If penalties are so easy, why did Japan win the Women’s World Cup and not the US? It is true that any player can make a penalty, and it is also true that any player can miss a penalty.

              There is never a good time to miss a penalty. And for those who think they are easier to make in a run of the mill MLS game, well, aren’t these guys professionals and don’t you think missing a penalty counts against you? Isn’t that just one more thing that can make the difference between you being employed or not? Isn’t that pressure?

            • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/07/20 at 10:44 PM

              I rarely hear this from fans who aren’t Americans.

              That’s nice, but I’m unimpressed by arguments from authority.

              Should the fact that Dirk Nowitski is an excellent free throw shooter be held against him when evaluating him as an offensive player?

              Obviously not. But this is both a bad comparison and a straw man.

              It’s a bad comparison because a basketball player – barring technicals – has to draw a foul to earn every free throw he shoots. He does so usually by being in a threatening offensive position. A soccer player can shoot a penalty drawn by a teammate.The real work is in drawing a penalty, not converting it, so that’s where most of the credit should go. As an aside, Davies drew two of the penalties he converted, but both were on blatant dives. Now that refs are on to his game, he’s not very likely to get another call unless he gets absolutely mauled in the box.

              It’s a straw man because no one is discounting Davies for his penalty shooting prowess. It’s obviously a good quality to have (although at 80% he’s currently only slightly above average). We’re discussing whether “total goals” or “goals from the run of play” is a better metric for evaluating strikers. If you argue for “goals from the run of play”, you’re not discounting penalty shooting prowess, but ignoring it. Which makes sense because penalties are relatively rare events, the number of chances a player gets to shoot them may have little to do with their own play, and because even a great shooter is likely to be only slightly better than the second best shooter on his team.

              Both metrics are a proxy for overall quality of play, so which is better? Look at the list of strikers that have as many or fewer total goals than Davies, but more from the run of play. Some names on the list: Wondo, Hassli, Mendoza, Ruiz, Espindola, Rodgers, Mwanga, Lenhart, Oduro. Would you really take Davies over any of these guys given current form? I wouldn’t.

            • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/21 at 2:11 PM

              “Posted by Ufficio
              “Obviously not. But this is both a bad comparison and a straw man.
              It’s a bad comparison because a basketball player – barring technicals – has to draw a foul to earn every free throw he shoots. He does so usually by being in a threatening offensive position. A soccer player can shoot a penalty drawn by a teammate.The real work is in drawing a penalty, not converting it, so that’s where most of the credit should go.”

              Well that’s interesting because while a lot of teams have designated penalty takers , many players take their own penalties, C. Ronaldo and Messi for two. How do you evaluate them?

              “We’re discussing whether “total goals” or “goals from the run of play” is a better metric for evaluating strikers. If you argue for “goals from the run of play”, you’re not discounting penalty shooting prowess, but ignoring it. Which makes sense because penalties are relatively rare events, the number of chances a player gets to shoot them may have little to do with their own play, and because even a great shooter is likely to be only slightly better than the second best shooter on his team. Both metrics are a proxy for overall quality of play, so which is better? Look at the list of strikers that have as many or fewer total goals than Davies, but more from the run of play. Some names on the list: Wondo, Hassli, Mendoza, Ruiz, Espindola, Rodgers, Mwanga, Lenhart, Oduro. Would you really take Davies over any of these guys given current form? I wouldn’t.”

              I don’t disagree with what you are saying. My issue was dth said goals were not worth as much as goals from the run of play and that is clearly inaccurate.

              What you and he both seem to be saying is that you do not consider penalty taking skill to be an important variable in evaluating a striker. I disagree but not greatly on that particular point.

              I wouldn’t take Davies over Shea or some of those guys you listed either though it might be close.

              At this point Davies has , for lack of a better term , as far better developed “soccer brain” than Shea (just to stick with him for the comparison). He has eight goals because he knows how to get into situations likely to produce goals, as unappealing to all of us as some of those situations may be. That must be the case because otherwise, he isn’t very impressive.

              I would liken it to a fasball pitcher coming back as a junk ball pitcher after hurting his arm ( like Frank Tanana or Jimmy Key ) and relying on guts and guile to get hitters out where before they had the stuff, the blazing fastball, to do that. If Davies ever gets his “body” back then I take him over Shea in a minute but then again will Shea ever develop the kind of “soccer instinct ” , that “nose for goals” that Davies clearly has? Who knows?

              We do know that high levels of scoring in MLS do not necessarily translate to the international game.

          • Posted by Matt Mathai on 2011/07/18 at 11:38 PM

            Well, of course there’s more pressure in a WC or other tournament. But you’re wrong if you don’t think league goals matter for a team coming off the worst season in MLS history or for a striker coming back from devastating injury and trying to make a national team again.

            And I’d agree that I’d take choose goals from the run of play over goals from the spot. Davies has at least as many goals from the run of play as Agudelo and Bravo and at least twice as many as Cummings.

            Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/07/18 at 6:47 PM

          See Matt — agree to disagree

          In terms of a goal — a goal, in my opinion, is not just a goal. Let’s consider this.

          Carlos Ruiz has 6 goals this year — Mauro Rosales only has 2 goals. Who would you rather have. Ruiz has started one less game btw.

          Reply

          • Posted by Matt Mathai on 2011/07/18 at 11:41 PM

            Yeah, let’s agree to disagree.

            That said, I guess I’m not sure what point you’re making w/ the Ruiz example.

            Reply

            • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/07/18 at 11:51 PM

              Ruiz, 6 goals.
              Rosales, 2 goals.

              Who’s the better striker–and more deserving all-star–this year?

              I pick Rosales.

            • Posted by Matt Mathai on 2011/07/19 at 8:52 AM

              Don’t know anything about Rosales, so I can’t say. I hate Ruiz with the heat of a thousand suns, so I’d choose Kevin Hartman at striker over him. :)

  8. Posted by matthewsf on 2011/07/18 at 3:16 PM

    On another note, as a self admitted Sean Franklin fan boy — this 1st half has been very inconsistent for him, ripe with some very untimely giveaways — one two weeks ago, another near the opening of the season against the Union.

    To me, he had much better form last year. (However I’m glad he is still being recognized.)

    Reply

    • Posted by Martin on 2011/07/20 at 4:46 PM

      I’m curious as to what you see in Franklin.

      He seems a likeable enough fellow and all that and I have seen him display flashes (only flashes) of skill but certainly not on a consistent basis. You’d think someone on a team with Beckham would have learned a thing or two about passing the ball but I guess they don’t pay Golden Balls to coach.

      Admittedly, I haven’t seen a whole lot of him but he looks like Marvel Wynne but without as much sheer athleticism.

      Reply

  9. Posted by Alex on 2011/07/18 at 4:52 PM

    Oh and as the biggest Sounders fan boy, I’m a little peeved that the only Sounder to make it is Keller ( who’s been I hate to say this, average compared to some other keepers in the league). Alonso has been an absolute rock and has fantastic distribution and linking abilities. And Jeff Parke has been a great CB.

    Reply

  10. Posted by dikranovich on 2011/07/18 at 7:58 PM

    corey ashe over marvell wynne, come on. shannon williams for that matter. something is wrong here.

    Reply

  11. Posted by dude on 2011/07/18 at 9:32 PM

    I find it strange that Shea, Pontius, and Najar were individually passed over. They are all very dangerous, in form wingers who provide the kind of individual spark I don’t quite see from the midfield.

    Reply

  12. Hall is a fantastic selection, he’s had a breakout year and has had some stunning matches this year. I don’t think any player on the Dynamo is single handedly responsible for as many points as he is. Agreed that Brad Davis is a no brainer.

    Cameron is a surprise though, particularly as he’s played almost exclusively in the midfield (to the chagrin of most Houston supporters). If any Dynamo defender was to get a nod I’d give it to Hainault who has clearly been one of the best players in orange this season. Ashe is…well, surprising :-)

    Reply

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