Galaxy midfielder Juninho is a Major League Soccer All-Star. So is Montclair's Nick Rimando, the goalkeeper for Real Salt Lake. Don't bother looking for either Wednesday.
They were among a half-dozen players selected in a vote among their colleagues for the final slots on the official All-Star list, but none of them are on the game-day roster for the clash with Manchester United at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J.
The collective bargaining agreement between the league and the MLS Players Union mandates 32 all-stars, proportioned by position to resemble a realistic roster, but Red Bulls coach Hans Backe will take only 21 players into Wednesday night's game, which will be televised on ESPN2 and TeleFutura (KFTR/Channel 46). Coverage begins at 5:30 p.m. PT.
Backe was allowed a 22-man roster, but Landon Donovan pulled out Sunday with a calf strain, and the coach said Monday he would not replace the Galaxy captain on the roster.
Four others previously chosen for the game-day roster -- Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez, New York defender Rafa Marquez, Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller and FC Dallas winger Brek Shea -- pulled out previously with injuries or CONCACAF Champions League conflicts.
The others added to the list Monday were Seattle midfielder Osvaldo Alonso, D.C. United midfielder Dwayne De Rosario, Vancouver forward Eric Hassli and New York winger Joel Lindpere.
Juninho, a 22-year-old Brazilian in his second season on loan from Sao Paulo, has been pivotal in central midfield for the Galaxy, which have the league's best record (11-2-9) heading into the All-Star break.
Rimando (Montclair HS/UCLA), 32, is in the top tier of MLS goalkeepers -- arguably at the top of that tier -- and his exclusion from the game-day roster was one of Backe's more shocking decisions. Rimando hasn't spoken publicly about the snub, but RSL head coach Jason Kreis last week told The Salt Lake Tribune that his star netminder was “deeply hurt.”
“He needs someone like me to stand up for him and say it's absolutely ridiculous,” said Kreis, who questioned the selection of Houston's Tally Hall to, ostensibly, back up Philadelphia's Faryd Mondragon after Keller withdrew.
Backe said in a league podcast that Rimando “was of course in my thoughts,” then added that Hall is “one of the two, three best goalies in this league ... so that was a very easy pick for me.”
Among those who didn't make the list and deserve, to some extent, to be there are Galaxy left back Todd Dunivant, Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, Columbus defender Chad Marshall (from Riverside), New England midfielder Benny Feilhaber (from Irvine), FC Dallas wing-defender Jackson Goncalves, Toronto FC goalkeeper Stefan Frei, D.C. United forward Charlie Davies and Sporting Kansas City midfielder Graham Zusi.
The full All-Star list (x-on game-day roster):
FIRST XI (selected in a fan vote)
Goalkeeper: Kasey Keller (Seattle)
Defenders: x-Sean Franklin (Galaxy), Omar Gonzalez (Galaxy), Rafa Marquez (New York), x-Tim Ream (New York)
Midfielders: x-David Beckham (Galaxy), x-Jack Jewsbury (Portland), Brek Shea (FC Dallas)
Forwards: Landon Donovan (Galaxy), x-Thierry Henry (New York), x-Chris Wondolowski (San Jose).
12TH MAN (selected by fan text vote)
Defender: x-Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City)
COMMISSIONER'S PICKS (selected by Don Garber)
Forwards: x-Juan Agudelo (New York), x-Omar Bravo (Sporting Kansas City)
COACH'S PICKS (selected by Hans Backe)
Goalkeepers: x-Tally Hall (Houston), x-Faryd Mondragon (Philadelphia)
Defenders: x-Corey Ashe (Houston), x-Geoff Cameron (Houston), x-Bobby Convey (San Jose), x-Jamison Olave (Real Salt Lake), x-Heath Pearce (Chivas USA)
Midfielders: x-Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), x-Brad Davis (Houston), x-Shalrie Joseph (New England), x-Nick LaBrocca (Chivas USA)
Forward: x-Omar Cummings (Colorado)
CBA PICKS (selected in player vote)
Goalkeeper: Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Midfielders: Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle), Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United), Juninho (Galaxy), Joel Lindpere (New York)
Forward: Eric Hassli (Vancouver)