The Seattle Sounders almost escaped the MLS All-Star Game this year but coach Veljko Paunovic called on Stefan Frei to be the backup keeper in the “friendly” against Real Madrid. Frei will backup fan vote starter, Tim Howard, and likely will play the second half against the UEFA Champions League winners. Since 2012, the two selected keepers have split the halves evenly.
The All-Star game is in Chicago on August 2 at 6 pm, a Wednesday. Frei will likely be available for the Saturday matches on each side of it. Seattle plays in Los Angeles on the July 29 and at Minnesota on August 5. Presumably Frei will leave for Chicago after the Galaxy match and meet the team in Minneapolis for the weekend match after it.
Unless injuries arise, no other Sounders are likely to land on the list with all picks announced; but as we’ve seen in previous years, late injuries are a possibility and a few Sounders could be on the short list for Paunovic. Of all players, having a goal keeper missing is likely the best scenario. Frei will get the least impactful minutes when it comes to fatigue and practice compared to most of the position players and should be able to refresh quickly enough to not miss a Sounders match.
2017 MLS All-Star Game Roster by Position
Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Greg Garza (Atlanta United FC), Hernán Grana (FC Dallas), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Johan Kappelhof (Chicago Fire), Michael Parkhurst (Atlanta United FC), Jelle Van Damme (LA Galaxy), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United FC), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Kaká (Orlando City SC), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Chicago Fire), Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers)
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Dom Dwyer (Sporting Kansas City), Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Nemanja Nikolić (Chicago Fire), David Villa (New York City FC)
No Sounders were selected to the Homegrown Players game.