MLS Announces Starting Lineups for 2001 All-Star Game; Agoos Tops All Players in Fan Voting
For the fourth consecutive season, MLS fans determined the starting 11 for each All-Star team (a 3-5-2 alignment) by voting at more than 700 Toys "R" Us stores nationwide, online on Yahoo!, in-stadium at MLS games and also at approximately 400 soccer specialty stores across the country. Voters were also automatically entered to win a trip to MLS Cup 2001 in Columbus, Ohio, as part of the MLS All-Star Sweepstakes.
The starting 11 for each team, along with their MLS club and votes received, is as follows:
- Forwards: Brian McBride, Columbus Crew (22,911)
- Alex Pineda Chacon, Miami Fusion (15,945)
- Midfielders: Marco Etcheverry, D.C. United (22,396)
- Bobby Convey, D.C. United (21,360)*
- Clint Mathis, MetroStars (20,411)*
- Ben Olsen, D.C. United (18,540)
- Preki, Miami Fusion (17,010)
- Defenders: Eddie Pope, D.C. United (26,886)
- Carlos Llamosa, Miami Fusion (22,191)
- Mike Petke, MetroStars (14,262)
- Goalkeeper: Nick Rimando, Miami Fusion (16,158)
* Injured - will not play
- Forwards: Ariel Graziani, Dallas Burn (20,179)
- Jason Kreis, Dallas Burn (20,063)
- Midfielders: Landon Donovan, S.J. Earthquakes (26,151)
- Chris Armas, Chicago Fire (23,686)
- Chad Deering, Dallas Burn (19,725)
- DaMarcus Beasley, Chicago Fire (18,266)
- Mauricio Cienfuegos, L.A. Galaxy (15,792)
- Defenders: Jeff Agoos, S.J. Earthquakes (34,711)
- Marcelo Balboa, Colorado Rapids (24,199)
- Lubos Kubik, Dallas Burn (18,858)
- Goalkeeper: Joe Cannon, S.J. Earthquakes (19,142)
San Jose Earthquakes defender Jeff Agoos led fan balloting with a total of 34,711 votes, nearly 8,000 more than his next competitor, D.C. United defender Eddie Pope, who finished with 26,886 votes. Agoos is one of only six players to appear in all five previous MLS All-Star Games, while Miami Fusion midfielder Preki is now slated to become the only MLS player to physically start all six All-Star Games after finishing as the fifth leading vote-getter among East midfielders with 18,540 votes. The Fusion's crafty midfielder, who won All-Star MVP honors in 1999, is the oldest starter selected to this year's All-Star Game, having just turned 38 on June 24.
Other five-time All-Stars named as starters include Columbus striker Brian McBride, who led all forwards with 22,911 votes, and Los Angeles Galaxy midfielder Mauricio Cienfuegos (15,792) who edged out Colorado midfielder Carlos Valderrama (15,538) for the fifth and final starting spot in the West team's midfield. Veteran defender Marcelo Balboa of the Colorado Rapids was also selected to his sixth All-Star game, although he did not play in the inaugural midseason match in 1996 due to injury.
American players dominated the selections, claiming 17 of the 22 starting spots. In overall voting, D.C. United's Marco Etcheverry was the only international to break into the top 10, while Americans captured 16 of the top 20 positions. Rounding out the four-player international contingent in the starting lineups were the Fusion's Honduran sensation Alex Pineda Chacon and Dallas Burn fan favorite Lubos Kubik, who started both the 1998 and 1999 MLS All-Star Games.
As the second leading vote getter among Eastern midfielders, 18-year old Bobby Convey led a trio of teenagers voted to starting spots. Convey, the youngest player ever named to a starting role for the MLS All-Star Game, was joined by 19-year-olds Landon Donovan of San Jose and DaMarcus Beasley of the Chicago Fire, who where selected to represent the West. Donovan finished third overall in voting behind his Earthquakes teammate Agoos and D.C.'s Pope.
Players selected to their first MLS All-Star games included the Miami duo of Pineda Chacon and goalkeeper Nick Rimando, Dallas midfielder Chad Deering, San Jose goalkeeper Joe Cannon and Convey, Donovan and Beasley.
Nine of the league's 12 teams are represented in the two starting lineups. The Eastern Division leading Miami Fusion along with upstarts D.C. United and the Dallas Burn lead the way with four selections each. In the West, fans of Dallas spurred a late charge that helped the Burn's forward tandem of Jason Kreis and Ariel Graziani unseat the Galaxy's Cobi Jones and San Jose's Ronald Cerritos from starting roles. The Earthquakes, hosts of this year's event, placed three players in the West starting lineup, while Chicago and the MetroStars each sent two with Colorado, Los Angeles and Columbus represented by one player each. Tampa Bay, New England and Kansas City do not have a player among the starters.
Injuries have plagued some of the starters named to this year's All-Star teams, insuring that anywhere from three to four of this year's starters will be unable to participate. Among the most notable injured players is MetroStars forward Clint Mathis, who finished 10th in overall voting despite suffering a season ending ACL tear in the first week of June. A sure candidate for the league's Honda MVP award before his injury, Mathis is still fifth in the league's scoring table despite being out of action for more than a month.
Joining Mathis on the sideline will be Convey, who suffered a hernia while playing for the U.S. Under-20 National Team at the FIFA World Youth Championship last month. D.C. United midfielder Ben Olsen and Kubik are currently listed as questionable for the July 28 match. Olsen has been recovering from ankle injuries and has yet to play for United this season, while Kubik has struggled to regain his health after enduring a series of leg injuries in 2001.
All-Star reserves for the two 20-man active rosters will be named on Tuesday, July 24, by East Head Coach Ray Hudson and West Head Coach Bob Bradley in conjunction with the league office. In addition, MLS Commissioner Don Garber will select one player for each team. Hudson earned the honor of coaching the East squad by leading the Miami Fusion to the best record in the East through July 10. Bradley led the Chicago Fire to the best record among West teams before the cutoff date. Each coach's staff from his respective team will also make the trip to San Jose.
Tickets for the 2001 MLS All-Star Game range from $20 to $38 and are available by calling (408) 998-2277. Discounts are also available for groups of 20 or more by calling the Earthquakes Box Office at (408) 985-STAR.
From July 25 to July 29, Major League Soccer will host numerous family-oriented events, activities and tournaments at Spartan Stadium and around the San Jose area. The MLS All-Star Game is the main attraction of a weekend extravaganza of soccer-themed events and programs. Fans are invited to join the festivities of the 2001 MLS All-Star Weekend by participating in or watching the many scheduled events such as the Kellogg's All-Star Bowl, MLS New York Life Dribble, Pass & Shoot(tm), Soccer Celebration, got milk? 3V3 Soccer Shootout, or root for their favorite players at the MLS/Pepsi All-Star Skills Competition.
With MLS' three-division alignment, the 12 teams were divided into East and West squads for the All-Star Game. Players from D.C. United, the MetroStars, Miami, New England, Columbus and Tampa Bay will make up the East club, while players from Chicago, Colorado, Dallas, Kansas City, Los Angeles and San Jose complete the West team.