| Wednesday, July 17, 2002 15:15 EST
Leading scorers Twellman, Ruiz make first appearances
[ESPN.com news services]
NEW YORK -- Major League Soccer Commissioner Don Garber unveiled the starting 11 Wednesday for the MLS All-Stars which will face the U.S. National Team in the 2002 Pepsi MLS All-Star Game.
The contest kicks off at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., on Saturday, August 3, at 3:30 p.m. ET and will be televised live on ABC Sports.
The MLS All-Star Team will feature five players making their first-ever All-Star appearance, including the league's top two scorers, Taylor Twellman and Carlos Ruiz.
Twellman, the 22 year-old sensation from the New England Revolution, is joined up top by the Los Angeles Galaxy's Ruiz, a Guatemalan forward. Both players lead the league with 13 goals during their first MLS campaigns.
Also making their first All-Star appearances are defenders Carlos Bocanegra (Chicago Fire) and Ryan Suarez (Dallas Burn), along with midfielder Richard Mulrooney (San Jose Earthquakes).
By contrast, the Colorado Rapids' midfield duo of Carlos Valderrama (sixth
selection) and Mark Chung (four appearances) have a total of 10 MLS All-Star Game appearances between them. New England Revolution midfielder Steve Ralston and MetroStars defender Mike Petke each appear for the third time in the league's midseason celebration.
In addition to Colorado and New England, two other teams - the Chicago Fire and MetroStars - also placed two players in the starting 11, as goalkeeper Tim Howard (MetroStars) and midfielder Dema Kovalenko (Chicago) earned starting nods for 2002.
Seven of the League's 10 teams are represented in the MLS starting selection, while D.C. United, Columbus and Kansas City saw several players named to Bruce Arena's U.S. National Team yesterday.
The starters were selected by (1) fans, (2) fellow players, (3) MLS coaches and general managers, and (4) a media panel, with each group's total votes representing 25% of the total.
Fans had determined the starting 11 during the four previous MLS seasons. All-Star reserves for the MLS roster will be named on Tuesday, July 23, by head coach Frank Yallop in conjunction with Major League Soccer.
In addition, MLS Commissioner Don Garber will select two players to round out the roster of 18 players that will face the U.S. National Team on August 3.
Yallop earned the honor of coaching the MLS squad by leading the defending champion San Jose Earthquakes to the best record in the League through the midway point of the 2002 season (8-4-2, 26 points). Named MLS Coach of the Year in 2001, Yallop will make his first MLS All-Star appearance after masterminding San Jose's worst-to-first turnaround last season.
RFK Stadium, the site of two MLS Cup Championship matches, will host its first MLS All-Star Game as the event returns to the East Coast for the first time since 1997. On August 2-3, Pepsi and MLS will host numerous family oriented events, activities and tournaments at RFK and in the Washington, D.C. area.
The selection for the MLS All-Stars is as follows (3-5-2 formation):
Defenders: Ryan Suarez (Dallas Burn), Mike Petke (MetroStars), Carlos Bocanegra (Chicago Fire)
Midfielders: Richard Mulrooney (San Jose Earthquakes), Steve Ralston (New England Revolution), Carlos Valderrama (Colorado Rapids), Mark Chung (Colorado Rapids), Dema Kovalenko (Chicago Fire)
Forwards: Carlos Ruiz (Los Angeles Galaxy), Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution)
Goalkeeper: Tim Howard (MetroStars)
Coaching Staff: San Jose Earthquakes
Head Coach: Frank Yallop
Assistant Coach: Dominic Kinnear
Trainer: Bruce Morgan