Five U.S. national team players highlight the list of athletes named to Major League Soccer’s 2013 MLS All-Star Fan XI that will compete against Italian giants AS Roma in the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday, July 31 at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas. The match will be televised live on ESPN2, UniMas, and in Canada on TSN and RDS starting at 8 p.m. CT.
U.S. national team players Graham Zusi (Sporting KC), Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo) and Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) join Peruvian international goalkeeper Raul Fernandez (FC Dallas), Canadian national team standout Will Johnson (Portland Timbers), French defender Aurélien Collin (Sporting KC), French World Cup champion Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls) and Mike Magee (Chicago Fire) -- whose 10 goals are tied for second in MLS -- on the Fan XI.
The Fan XI received the most votes at their respective positions from combined fan voting on three platforms – online at MLSsoccer.com, via text message, and via Twitter. The ballot consisted of at least six players from each club, as chosen by a panel of media members.
The 11th player – a forward – on the Fan XI will be decided July 11, as part of the innovative AT&T MLS All-Star ‘In the Game’ Challenge. Among the remaining forwards on the ballot, the player with whom fans score the most goals in FIFA Soccer 13, with one goal equaling one vote, from July 3-July 10 will be named to the Fan XI.
A 3-4-3 formation was selected for this year’s Fan XI. Bios for the 10 All-Stars named today are listed below.
2013 MLS All-Star Fan XI
Goalkeeper: Raul Fernández (FC Dallas)
Defenders: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Aurélien Collin (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy)
Midfielders: Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Will Johnson (Portland Timbers), Mike Magee (Chicago Fire), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards: Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), AT&T ‘In the Game’ forward (TBA – July 11)
Players who were close to the leading vote-getters at their positions, but finished outside the Fan XI included, in alphabetical order by last name: Victor Bernardez (SJ), Tim Cahill (NY), Sam Cronin (SJ), Matteo Ferrari (MTL), Jimmy Nielsen (KC) and Luis Robles (NY).
The Fan XI are not necessarily included on the game day roster. MLS All-Star coach Peter Vermes will select the roster based on player availability and tactical considerations, but all Fan XI players are All-Stars.
Two selections by MLS Commissioner Don Garber, and Vermes’ complete 18-man game day roster, will be announced on Monday, July 15.
Under the CBA, a total of 32 players will be named All-Stars. After the game day roster, the remaining players receiving the All-Star honor will come from voting among MLS players and will be announced July 31.
Bios for 2013 MLS All-Star Fan XI:
(Listed by position in a 3-4-3 formation)
Raul Fernández Goalkeeper FC Dallas Nationality: Peru Born: October 6, 1985
As of July 7, the 27-year-old goalkeeper has 65 saves this season, tying him with Columbus’ Andy Gruenebaum for second in MLS. Fernandez has made 4.06 saves per match through 16 games. Signed by FC Dallas on January 10, 2013, Fernández’s quick transition to MLS has him in the running for the MLS Newcomer of the Year award. He is just two clean sheets shy of the league lead in shutouts with a 1.31 goals against average. A native of Lima, Peru, Fernández has earned 23 Caps since March 26, 2008. This is Fernandez’s first MLS All-Star team selection.
Matt Besler Defender Sporting Kansas City Nationality: USA Born: February 11, 1987
The 2012 MLS Defender of the Year and Best XI selection, Matt Besler earns his second MLS All-Star selection (2011, 2013). The Overland Park, Kan. native has emerged as the starting center back for the U.S. Men’s National Team in 2013 with seven appearances, including four starts in FIFA World Cup Qualifying, after making his international debut in January. Besler signed a new contract with Sporting KC in December and has started 14 MLS matches in 2013, his fifth professional season with his hometown club.
Aurélien Collin Defender Sporting Kansas City Nationality: France Born: March 8, 1986
A 2012 MLS All-Star, Best XI selection and Defender of the Year finalist, Aurelien Collin has started 17 matches for Sporting KC in 2013, including all seven of the club’s shutouts. The Frenchman has contributed three goals, second most among MLS defenders this season, and added one assist. Anchored by MLS All-Stars Besler and Collin, Sporting Kansas City has conceded the fewest shots (163) and shots on goal (49) of any MLS team through Week 18. This is his second MLS All-Star Team selection.
Omar Gonzalez Defender LA Galaxy Nationality: USA Born: October 11, 1988
The reigning MLS Cup MVP, Omar Gonzalez has been selected as an MLS All-Star for the third time in his five seasons with the Galaxy. The 2009 MLS Rookie of the Year and 2011 MLS Defender of the Year, Gonzalez has scored once and added an assist in 18 games in all competitions this season. He was selected for the 2010 and 2011 All-Star Games and it was his return from a serious knee injury that sparked LA’s run to a second straight MLS Cup title in 2012, scoring in the 3-1 win over Houston.
Brad Davis Midfielder Houston Dynamo Nationality: USA Born: November 8, 1981
Currently playing in his 12th MLS season (8th with Dynamo), Davis has three goals and three assists in 12 league games this season. Davis was an instrumental piece in Houston’s run to back-to-back MLS Cup championships in 2006 and 2007 and MLS Cup appearances in 2011 and 2012. A six-time All-Star, Davis has 11 international appearances to date for the U.S. Men’s National Team, the most recent against Germany (June 2), Panama (June 11) and Honduras (June 18).
Will Johnson Midfielder Portland Timbers Nationality: Canada Born: January 21, 1987
In his first season with the Timbers, Johnson has helped guide the club to a 15-match unbeaten streak during the first half of the 2013 campaign. The Timbers captain played every minute of the first 17 matches of the regular season and is the club’s leading scorer, tallying a career-best six goals and matching a career-high with three assists. Johnson is an MLS All-Star for the second time, receiving his first all-star selection in 2009 with Real Salt Lake. He is the second Timbers player in the club’s history to be named an MLS All-Star.
Mike Magee Midfielder Chicago Fire Nationality: USA Born: February 9, 1984
The 11-year MLS veteran has 46 career goals and 26 assists in 240 career regular season games. The two-time MLS Cup champion with the Galaxy joined the Fire on May 25, 2013 and scored seven goals in his first seven matches across all competitions. Magee’s four goals and two assists in MLS play have led the Fire to a 4-0-1 run since joining the club. Named MLS Player of the Month for March and June, Magee currently sits in second place in the tightly-contested MLS Golden Boot race with 10 goals on the season. This is Magee’s first MLS All-Star selection.
Graham Zusi Midfielder Sporting Kansas City Nationality: USA Born: August 18, 1986
A 2012 MLS All-Star, Best XI selection and MLS MVP finalist, Graham Zusi has three goals and five assists in 17 games played in 2013. The fifth-year pro, drafted by KC in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft, recently signed a new contract with the club and is a nominee for Best MLS Player at the 2013 ESPYS. He has 14 international appearances for the U.S. Men’s National Team, including eight caps in FIFA World Cup Qualifying, with one goal and three assists. This is his second MLS All-Star team selection.
Thierry Henry Forward New York Red Bulls Nationality: France Born: August 17, 1977
In his third full season with the New York Red Bulls, Henry has six goals and two assists in 17 games played. He has been named to the MLS Best XI the past two seasons. Henry’s pro career began in 1990 with AS Monaco (France), and included successful stints at Juventus (Italy), Arsenal (England) and FC Barcelona (Spain) before he joined the Red Bulls midway through 2010. Henry has 123 caps for France, and is the all-time leading scorer with 51 goals. This is his third MLS All-Star Team selection.
Chris Wondolowski Forward San Jose Earthquakes Nationality: USA Born: January 28, 1983
San Jose’s leading scorer has five goals and three assists in 17 games this season. Three of those five goals were game winners. He is currently in camp with the United States Men’s National Team for the CONCACAF Gold Cup. One year ago, Wondolowski tied the league’s single-season record for goals with 27, earning Volkswagen MLS Most Valuable Player in the process. The nine-year veteran is a three-time MLS Best XI selection and has won the Budweiser Golden Boot in two of the last three seasons. This is his third consecutive MLS All-Star team selection.