It’s hard to think in terms of “stars” when talking about the Chicago Fire. The last time a member of the Fire made an All-Star team was when Mike Magee had his MVP season.
Surprisingly, that streak ended Sunday when MLS announced the 2016 All-Star team and said rookie left back Brandon Vincent would be part of the festivities.
First of all, I am happy for Vincent. If All-Star coach Dominic Kinnear wants him on the squad, I surely won’t argue. By all accounts, the young man is a hard worker and a great teammate. With that said, he has not been the best defender on his own team.
The most consistent player in the Fire backline has been Johan Kappelhof, but unfortunately he plays at the talent rich position of center back. The league is not short on skilled center backs and it is understandable Kappelhof has yet to crack the ranks of the best in the league.
Conversely, the league is light on dominant full backs. In fact, of the eight defenders selected for the All-Star game only Vincent and fellow rookie Keegan Rosenberry are natural fullbacks. There could be some other left backs worthy of the call such as New York City FC’s Ronald Matarrita, who has cracked the MLS Team of the Week twice this season, but Vincent is probably still a bit more of a name as national team fans know him as a prospect for the senior team.
Whether Vincent gets any minutes against Arsenal in the match remains to be seen. With all the talented center backs on the team, Kinnear might just opt for a 3-5-2 or play one of the center backs out of position at fullback.
The Fire’s true star up to this point has been David Accam. But like Kappelhof, Accam plays at a position where there is plenty of talent and even more big names. Playing as a striker in a league where guys like David Villa, Sebastian Giovinco, Didier Drogba and Clint Dempsey among others ply their trade makes it tough to get noticed.
So congratulations to Vincent again. I hope he enjoys the experience and picks up a few tips and maybe even some confidence if he goes out there and makes a clean tackle on Olivier Giroud or something.
The game is set for July 28 at 6:30 p.m. on ESPN and UniMas.
Here is the full roster:
Goalkeepers (2): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)
Defenders (8): Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Laurent Ciman (Montreal Impact), Andrew Farrell (New England Revolution), Liam Ridgewell (Portland Timbers), Keegan Rosenberry(Philadelphia Union), Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire), Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps FC)
Midfielders (9): Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Mauro Diaz (FC Dallas), Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Kaká (Orlando City SC), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Andrea Pirlo (New York City FC), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)
Forwards (7): Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Didier Drogba (Montreal Impact), Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Cyle Larin (Orlando City SC), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact), David Villa (New York City FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)