Voting for Major League Soccer's All Star First XI will open on Friday. Those "First XI" will not necessary be the starters, and they are determined thorugh a combination of online, text and Twitter votes with the top text vote receiver being automatically selected. The rest of the gameday roster is selected by Don Garber (2 picks) and Peter Nowak (5 picks plus replacements). After those are selected the league will name up to 18 (to get 36 total) as All Stars for purposes of bonuses. Yes, it's confusing. But the fun part for fans, or what should be fun starts Friday and then over the next month plus you'll see a trickle of other All Stars named.
For the fan voting portion the list of options is already whittled down to six players per team. Basically every list includes a keeper, a defender, a midfielder and a forward. For the Seattle Sounders the options are Michael Gspurning, Jeff Parke, Osvaldo Alonso, Mauro Rosales, David Estrada and Fredy Montero.
Gspurning's injury probably prevents what should be a for selection. He's as dominant as any in the keeping stats - 7th in shutouts, 1st in goals against average with at least a start and in 2nd saves percentage among that same group. Jeff Parke is the leader of the defense and the growing legend of the Honey Badger should mean that Osvaldo Alonso gets recognition. Oddly, for such a talented group DPs Fredy Montero and Mauro Rosales are unlikely to win a fan vote. David Estrada is the team's leading scorer in league play and has the fun story of surging performance, he could get some recognition.
With the way All Star bonuses to players work you should both want (so players get money) and not want (because they count against the salary budget). Many soccer fans don't like All Star games, but for the league and it's sponsors it's a big deal. And the players enjoy it. Some fans would concern themselves with players getting tired? Have you watched defense in All Star games? There are unlimited subs and the tackling will be as soft as you've seen.
So vote for the Sounders, or don't. I'd suggest voting for Estrada. The young utili-attacker needs money more than the rest and he's the least likely to make the full roster when it is announced.