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It’s OK to vote Sounders into the MLS All-Star Game

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There are probably three who deserve serious consideration.

Max Aquino/Sounder at Heart

One of the long-running debates among Seattle Sounders fans has been whether or not we want to vote our players into the All-Star Game. On one hand, it’s cool to see players you care about on the national stage. On the other, it’s an ultimately meaningless friendly often played on the other side of the country in the middle of a busy part of the season.

Just last year, Cristian Roldan seemed to cast his vote on the side of “don’t vote” when he expressed relief that no Sounders would be participating. It’s important to note the context of that statement, though. At the time of Roldan’s statement, Seattle had only just started their turnaround and were still sitting 10th in the table, nine points shy of the final playoff spot.

With the Sounders now off to a much better start, it stands to reason that attitudes may have shifted. On Thursday, Stefan Frei seemed to give license to fans who might want to see their favorite players participate, when he tweeted this:

In the spirit of Frei’s statement, here are the Sounders who have the best case for being voted into the All-Star Game.

Frei: Once again, the goalkeeper is leading MLS is xG-G, meaning he’s allowing fewer goals than the shots he faces suggest he “should.” He currently sits at -4.87. He’s also second in MLS in saves (45) and save percentage (76.3).

Nicolas Lodeiro: The midfielder is tied for the MLS lead with seven assists and is a tireless worker. He’s also fourth in xA (4.2), sixth in key passes (33) and his xG+xA (7.5) is the best among central midfielders.

Brad Smith: The 3-4-3 voting format won’t do him any favors, but assuming there’s a functional formation used in the game, no left back deserves to start more than Smith. His four assists and 2.7 xA both rank second among fullbacks and first among left backs. He’s also been a sneaky good defender, helping shut down the likes of Alberth Elis.

Voting notes

  • The fan ballot designated a 3-4-3 formation for some reason, even though there’s no way MLS is going to field that sort of lineup.
  • Apparently the top 10 vote-getters will be put on the team, while the 11th will get a spot by virtue of being chosen in EA Sports’ FIFA 19.
  • The Sounders have games on July 27 and Aug. 4, meaning they have four days on either side of the game.

Submit your vote here.