Predicting MLS All-Stars’ Starting 11 For All-Star Game

Bastian Schweinsteiger Chicago Fire All-Star

David Banks-Getty Images

The 2017 MLS All-Star Game will take place on August 2nd at Soldier Field, home of the Chicago Bears, and former home of the Chicago Fire. The MLS All-Stars will take on European giants, Real Madrid, as they will be the first ever Spanish team to ever play in the annual match.

As there is less than two more months before the game starts, it would be right to predict the MLS All-Stars Starting 11 for the festivities. For this, there will be a standard 4-4-2 formation.

Goalkeeper: Tim Melia

Melia was not really given a chance during his earlier years as a goalkeeper. He made a combined 6 appearances with Real Salt Lake and the now-defunct, Chivas U.S.A.

The 31-year-old has thrived in Kansas City as he has been a big part of Sporting Kansas City’s stout defense. Melia has made a total of 53 saves{}, 3rd best in the league, allowed 11 goals{NBC Sports}, the least amount of goals, and leads MLS in clean sheets with 9{}. If Melia does not make the starting 11 or at least makes the squad, it would be a major disappointment as he has proven he is arguably the best goalkeeper in the league.

Honorable Mentions: Luis Robles, Alex Bono, Joe Bendik, Bobby Shuttleworth, Stefan Frei

Centre-Backs: Ike Opara and Matt Besler

The duo has been valuable in manager Peter Vermes’s 4-3-3 formation, as they’ve helped SKC allow the leading amount of goals with 11 in 17 games. As part of SKC’s thriving defense, it would not be a surprise if they partner up together in the All-Star Game.

Honorable Mentions: Kendall Watson, Leandrdo González Pirez, Matt Hedges, Jonathan Spector

Right Back: Graham Zusi

Coming in at right back is Graham Zusi from Sporting Kansas City again. Before this season, Zusi was known for being a winger for Kansas City and the USMNT. Now, he’s playing as a left back for both club and country.

Sure, it took his a while for him to fit into that role, but now the 30-year-old is playing well having a rating of 7.3 {WhoScored} and is a threat in SKC’s attack due to his experience at winger and his ability to create chances. Expect more to come from Zusi in his new role.

Honorable Mentions: Herman Grana, A.J DeLaGarza, Alvas Powell, Steven Beitashour

Left Back: Jeovin Jones

Seattle Sounders’ Jeovin Jones is coming in at left back. Jones picked up where he left of in the Sounders’ MLS Cup championship run last season, dishing out 5 assists in all the 15 games for the Sounders.

Jeovin Jones is great in Seattle’s as he sets up dangerous through balls and crosses for more chances created. Arguably the best left back in the league, it would be a shock if the Trinidad & Tobago international doesn’t make the starting lineup.

Honorable Mentions: Greg Garza, Kemar Lawrence, Brandon Vincent, Waylon Francis, Ronald Matarrita, Ambroise Oyongo

Left Midfielder: Romain Alessandrini

Even since moving to the MLS from Ligue 1’s Marseille in January, Alessandrini is loving it with the LA Galaxy, always showing off his LA celebration when he scores. The 28-year-old has racked up 6 goals and 7 assists in 14 appearances.

He has been a bright spot in LA this season, always creating chances and great opportunities for the Galaxy to score. Alessandrini should be in the lineup as he’s been a big part of the Galaxy’s playoff push.

Honorable Mentions: Darlington Nagbe, Diego Fagundez, Justin Meram, Ignacio Piatti, Nicolas Lodeiro, Kevin Molino

Centre-Midfielders: Bastian Schweinstieger and Miguel Almiron

Taking the centre-midfielder spots are Chicago Fire’s Bastian Schweinstiger and Atlanta United’s Miguel Almiron. Let’s start off with Schweinstiger. The 32-year-old has been a fan favorite ever since moving from Manchester United in March. Becoming an anchor in the Fire’s midfield, Schweinsteiger has played we in his role as has helped Chicago become one of the best teams in MLS.

As for Almiron, the Paraguay-international has shown he is worth every penny this season after becoming the most expensive transfer in MLS history. The 23-year-old had a slow start this season but has picked it up lately, scoring 6 goals in his last 5 appearances.

Being part in Atlanta’s high scoring offense, Almiron has been a factor for United as they have scored the most goals in the league. If he maintains his form, he will be guaranteed to make the lineup.

Honorable Mentions: Benny Feilhaber, Federico Higuian, Dax McCarty, Osvaldo Alonso, Kellyn Acosta, Carlos Gruezo

Right Midfielder: David Accam

Coming in at right-mid is David Accam from the Chicago Fire. Ever since moving to the club, the Ghanaian has been the franchise player for the Fire. Even though Chicago made big moves in the offseason, Accam has still been great always attacking down the wings and getting on counter attacks.

He has been exciting to watch and the Fire have benefited off that. As one of the most underrated players in MLS, it would be a shame to see Accam not in the lineup.

Honorable Mentions: Lee Nguyen, Diego Valeri, Sebastian Blanco, Hector Villalba, Jack Harrison, Michael Barrios

Forwards: Nemanja Nikolic and Erik ” Cubo ” Torres

The Hungarian, Nikolic, has been arguably the Fire’s best signing from the offseason as he is the leading goalscorer with 13 goals.

He’s been clinical up front and very good being the primary scorer in the Fire’s lineup. If Chicago makes a deep run in the playoffs, count on Nikolic to bring in the goods. And if he makes the team, expect him to score more against Madrid.

Torres has revived his career in Houston as he is the heart of the Dynamo’s high-octane offense. His current form reminds fans back when Cubo played for Chivas U.S.A, scoring goals left and right. Going from not even scoring a goal in 2 straight seasons to this, it would be great to see Cubo starting.

Honorable Mentions: Maxi Urruti, Jozy Altidore, David Villa, Dom Dwyer, Sebastian Giovinco, Ola Kamara, Bradley Wright-Phillips


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