Saturday, July 16, 2011
MLS All-Star adds: Agudelo and Bravo
By Scott French
Chivas USA fans hoping to see Nick LaBrocca or Heath Pearce on Major League Soccer's All-Star team are going to have to wait another couple of days. So will Galaxy supporters who want Juninho or Todd Dunivant on the roster.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber opted for frontline firepower with his two selections for the July 27 All-Star Game against Manchester United in Harrison, N.J., which were announced Saturday afternoon.
New York Red Bulls teen forward Juan Agudelo and Sporting Kansas City veteran Omar Bravo were added to the MLS roster, which stands at 14 -- with three of those players uncertain or unlikely to make the game.
Seattle goalkeeper Kasey Keller is expected to be in action in Panama the night before the All-Star Game, leading the Sounders against San Francisco FC in a first-leg preliminary-round clash in the CONCACAF Champions League. FC Dallas winger Brek Shea has a game in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, the night after the midseason exhibition, a Champions League opener against Municipal.
New York coach Hans Backe, who will guide the All-Stars, last week ruled out his Mexican defender, Rafa Marquez, who has been sidelined since the CONCACAF Goldb Cup final because of a hamstring strain.
Keller, Shea and Marquez were on the First XI, selected in a fan vote. So were Galaxy stars Landon Donovan, David Beckham, Omar Gonzalez and Sean Franklin.
Garber told Fox Soccer Channel his reasons for choosing the Colombia-born Agudelo, a rising star with the U.S. national team, and Bravo, a Mexican star.
“I thought Juan was a no-brainer ...,” he said. “Great young player and really an exemplary product of our MLS academy system, so, you know, here's the guy that's proving the system is working. Sitting where we sit, this is an opportunity for Juan to continue his development ... allow him to get into a big-time game and hopefully learn from that experience.”
Of Bravo, he said: “What we really need to do here is play well against Man U, and Omar's a guy that has a lot of big-time experience. He's been there before. This is not a guy that's going to to get flustered. He's playing in games where there have been superclubs, and Omar has performed in those competitions. ... It doesn't hurt that Omar has a real ability to impress this audience of ours, which is increasingly Hispanic.”
Backe and the league will announce the rest of the team Monday.