The MLS All Star game is always something of a mixed bag. The league enjoys the spotlight of having a high profile game and entertaining corporate sponsors, and the players get bonus checks and an all-expense paid trip, but the game is in the middle of a grueling stretch of the season, and flying across the country and the risk of potential injury doesn’t do much for the fans of the teams the players leave behind.
There’s also the issue of the play on the field in these games, as the international team brought in to play the MLS All Stars is rarely in peak condition, and it’s hit or miss whether you’ll see the superstars that would make the game more than a glorified scrimmage.
For those reasons (and more) most fans outside of the Atlanta metro area cross their fingers that their players escape the fickle hand (or keyboard) of fate when the MLS All Star roster is announced. Seattle Sounders fans breathed a sigh of relief when none of the Sounders’ team was drafted to the MLS Fan XI, but All Star coach James O’Connor had his eye on one Sounders player.
MLS announced that Nicolas Lodeiro was added to the All Star team as part of the “Coaches Picks,” and will be with the team in Orlando when they take on Atletico Madrid on July 31. The All Star game comes in the middle of a busy stretch for the Sounders, as the game will fall in between matches between at the Houston Dynamo (July 27) and at home Sporting Kansas City (August 4). While Lodeiro likely won’t start or play the full match, he will probably see minutes, and the location of the game in Orlando will mean substantial travel for the midfielder.
If healthy, Lodeiro will be expected to be in attendance. MLS recently instituted a rule which dictates that any player who fails to attend the All Star Game will be suspended for their MLS team’s next regular season game. The rule forced Zlatan Ibrahimovic to miss a game last year, when he begged off appearing at the 2018 All Star Game in Atlanta.
The rest of the roster will look like this:
2019 MLS All-Star Game Roster by Position
Goalkeepers: Andre Blake* (Philadelphia Union), Brad Guzan^ (Atlanta United), Nick Rimando# (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders: Matt Hedges* (FC Dallas), Kemar Lawrence* (New York Red Bulls), Romain Métanire* (Minnesota United FC), Leandro González Pírez^ (Atlanta United), Bastian Schweinsteiger* (Chicago Fire), Walker Zimmerman^ (Los Angeles Football Club), Graham Zusi^ (Sporting Kansas City)
Midfielders: Ezequiel Barco^ (Atlanta United), Diego Chara* (Portland Timbers), Jonathan dos Santos^ (LA Galaxy), Mark-Anthony Kaye* (Los Angeles Football Club), Nicolás Lodeiro* (Seattle Sounders FC), Gonzalo “Pity” Martínez^ (Atlanta United), Maxi Moralez* (NYCFC), Nani^ (Orlando City SC), Paxton Pomykal# (FC Dallas), Alejandro Pozuelo* (Toronto FC), Diego Rossi* (Los Angeles Football Club)
Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimović^ (LA Galaxy – EA SPORTS™ “More Than a Vote” Challenge), Josef Martínez* (Atlanta United), Wayne Rooney^ (D.C. United), Chris Wondolowski* (San Jose Earthquakes), Carlos Vela^ (Los Angeles Football Club)
^Fan XI selection
*James O’Connor selection
#Commissioner Don Garber selection