When Bastian Schweinsteiger and Nemanja Nikolic were named to the MLS All-Star Team earlier this month, we knew that they might not be the only ones to represent the Chicago Fire.
Fire head coach Veljko Paunović is in charge of the All-Star Team this year, tasked with bringing the league’s best and brightest names together to take on Real Madrid at Soldier Field. While the stakes for the visitors are pretty low— build some match fitness ahead of the new season, don’t lose anyone to injury, don’t get embarrassed by the Americans— there’s plenty of pride on the line for Pauno and the “home” team. So there’s some pressure to get his roster picks right.
The fans picked eleven players and MLS Commish Don Garber gets his
two scoops of ice cream two picks for the squad. That left Pauno to fill out the rest. And earlier today, the league announced the full squad.
Included on that list— Fire midfielder and captain Dax McCarty and defender Johan Kappelhof.
Dax, of course, is still with the USMNT for the remainder of the CONCACAF Gold Cup. He’ll almost certainly miss the Fire’s trip to New York this week, and between recovery and ASG prep it’s possible the skipper won’t be back with the Fire until next month.
On top of all that, there was a notable omission from Pauno’s roster selections— David Accam. Reactions were mixed, but the winger’s absence definitely turned some heads.
(We at Hot Time were also perplexed to see João Meira left out of the All-Star Team, given the key role he’s played for the Fire this season.)
The full All-Star Team is below.
GK: Tim Howard (COL), Stefan Frei (SEA)
DEF: Graham Zusi (SKC), Jelle van Damme (LAG), Michael Parkhurst (ATL), Johan Kappelhof (CHI), Matt Hedges (DAL), Hernan Grana (DAL), Greg Garza (ATL), DaMarcus Beasley (HOU)
MID: Diego Valeri (POR), Bastian Schweinsteiger (CHI), Ignacio Piatti (MTL), Dax McCarty (CHI), Kaká (ORL), Giovanni Dos Santos (LAG), Michael Bradley (TOR), Miguel Almiron (ATL), Kellyn Acosta (DAL)
FWD: David Villa (NYC), Nemanja Nikolic (CHI), Sebastian Giovinco (TOR), Dom Dwyer (SKC), Jozy Altidore (TOR)