Los Angeles Soccer: Aurelien Collin
David Beckham and Landon Donovan won the fans' vote for Major League Soccer's All-Star First XI, the first step in selecting the team that will take on European champion Chelsea later this month in Chester, Pa.
MLS on Sunday announced the first 11 players, selected in a 4-4-2 formation, and the list includes New York Red Bulls star Thierry Henry, San Jose striker Chris Wondolowski and reigning league MVP Dwayne De Rosario from D.C. United.
Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy lost out to Sporting Kansas City's Jimmy Nielsen for the First XI goalkeeper slot but was among seven players MLS cited as being “close to the leading vote-getters at their positions.”
The First XI is not the starting lineup, merely the first 11 players chosen for the team. Commissioner Don Garber has two selections and D.C. United coach Ben Olsen, who will guide the MLS side in the July 25 match, will fill out the remainder of the 18-man game roster, with the announcement of their picks scheduled for next Sunday. Olsen will determine his starters from the 18.
Fourteen additional players will be announced July 25 as all-stars, per the MLS Players Union's Collective Bargaining Agreement with the league, but none will be eligible to play.
Donovan is a 12-time All-Star selection, and Beckham is making his third appearance on the list. Beckham's availability is uncertain; he might be in London for the Olympics, which begin July 25.
Sporting Kansas City placed three players on the First XI, with defender Aurelien Collin and midfielder Graham Zusi joining Nielsen. Former Chivas USA defender Heath Pearce is the second Red Bull on the list, and San Jose also has a second player, defender Steven Beitashour.
Here is the First XI:
Jimmy Nielsen (Sporting Kansas City), Denmark, second All-Star appearance
Steven Beitashour (San Jose Earthquakes), U.S., first
Aurelien Collin (Sporting Kansas City), France, first
Jay DeMerit (Vancouver Whitecaps), U.S., first
Heath Pearce (New York Red Bulls), U.S., first
David Beckham (Galaxy), England, third
Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United, Canada, seventh
Landon Donovan (Galaxy), U.S., 12th
Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City), U.S., first
Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), France, second
Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), U.S., second
Osvaldo Alonso converted a penalty kick and Lamar Neagle finished from Fredy Montero's pass five minutes later as the Sounders posted a 2-0 victory in the second leg, not quite enough after RSL romped, 3-0, in its home leg of the two-games, total-goals series Saturday night.
The result knocks out MLS's second-best team this season and ends retiring goalkeeping legend Kasey Keller's career while potentially setting up a rematch of the 2009 MLS Cup final in Sunday's Western Conference final. The Galaxy take a 1-0 advantage into the second leg of their first-round series and will be home Sunday with a draw or better Thursday night against New York.
A one-goal Galaxy loss would force overtime and, to follow, penalty kicks, and New York will head to Sandy, Utah -- a rematch of the 2008 Western Conference final -- with a two-goal victory Thursday at HDC.
Real Salt Lake beat the Galaxy on penalties in the 2009 MLS Cup title game. New York beat RSL in 2008 en route to a MLS Cup loss to Columbus at HDC.
Defending champion Colorado also was eliminated, dropping a 2-0 decision at Eastern Conference regular-season champion Sporting Kansas City, which prevailed, 4-0, on aggregate.
The last two games at Livestrong Sporting Park went to the wire, with late equalizers and stoppage-time winners sending Sporting Kansas City, in a marathon homestand at its new digs, to painful, dramatic defeats.
Another strike in stoppage determined Monday's showdown, but this time it was the Galaxy in a world of hurt.
Omar Bravo converted a 92nd-minute penalty kick as Sporting, its high-pressure attack poking holes in the L.A.'s league-best defense, rallied twice from deficits for a 2-2 Labor Day draw.
It left the Galaxy at 14-3-10, with 52 points, when they should be heading home with 54.
Sean Franklin, who entered his fourth Major League Soccer campaign without a goal, doubled his 2010 output with strikes in the 25th and 74th minutes, but L.A. gave up two goals on set pieces -- one didn't count, although it should have -- and surrendered the final equalizer when a Julio Cesar cross glanced off Frankie Hejduk's arm in the 90th minute.
Referee Ricardo Salazar pointed to the spot, and Bravo's finish split the points.
“I'm happy I got two goals,” Franklin, who volleyed a put-back header from Omar Gonzalez for the first and first-timed a diagonal ball from David Beckham under Sporting goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen for the second, told the media afterward. “But I wish on the day out team have got three points. ...
“We were definitely frustrated we gave up a penalty kick in the 90th minute. On the day, we'll take a point, but there's definitely three points out there we should have got.”
A quick look at the Galaxy's draw:
BEST PLAYER: Gotta give Franklin some love. He's a natural at right midfield, more so than at right back, always dangerous going forward, and both of his goals were quality.
But Sporting (9-8-10) was the aggressor most of the match, especially at the end, and breakout midfielder Graham Zusi was the guiding force. His shot from distance requires attention, but he also pops up in pivotal places and combines well to create opportunities. He was the best man on the field.
BEST GOAL: The best goal was the one that didn't count.