MLS All-Star Notes: De Rosario named captain, Beckham to play and more

DeRo (Getty Images)

By AVI CREDITOR

PHILADELPHIA — The last time Dwayne De Rosario took the field against Chelsea, he was an MVP. It's only fitting that the D.C. United star captains the MLS side going up against the Blues in Wednesday night's MLS All-Star Game.

De Rosario was given captain's honors by MLS and D.C. United coach Ben Olsen Monday, and he'll don the armband for MLS against the UEFA Champions League winners at PPL Park.

"To be recognized as the captain is a huge honor," De Rosario told reporters Monday. "Hopefully I can go out there and represent everyone well."

De Rosario took home MVP honors in the 2006 MLS All-Star Game at Toyota Park, scoring the only goal in MLS' 1-0 victory over Chelsea. He is the only MLS link between that 2006 team and this year's All-Star squad. Peter Nowak, the manager of the 2006 team, was slated to be this year's All-Star coach before his dismissal from the Philadelphia Union paved the way for Olsen to step in. Olsen opted for De Rosario despite having other team captains Landon Donovan, Kyle Beckerman, Carlos Valdes, Jay DeMerit, Thierry Henry and Jimmy Nielsen at his disposal.

"(De Rosario has) been in quite a few of these," Olsen said. "I could have picked a whole bunch of guys. There are a lot of good leaders around here."

Here are more notes from MLS All-Star Game:

BECKHAM TO PLAY

Despite David Beckham being selected as an All-Star for the third time in his MLS career, there was speculation that the Los Angeles Galaxy star would miss out on the festivities for a role in the opening ceremonies of the 2012 Summer Olympics in his native England. While Beckham will still have a role in London later in the week, he will also be at PPL Park to play in the All-Star Game against his former Premier League adversary, Chelsea.

The Galaxy released a statement Monday saying that Beckham and Donovan would be missing out on the club's friendly on Tuesday against Tottenham in order to participate in the All-Star Game. The news was met with appreciation by MLS commissioner Don Garber.

"We are pleased that David Beckham will be available to play in Wednesday’s All-Star Game and also be able to serve as an ambassador for the 2012 Olympic Games in London this week," Garber said in a statement. "Since 2004, David has actively supported his country’s bid to host the 2012 Olympic Games, and he played a pivotal role in that successful effort. We have known for years that his duty would eventually include the Games themselves, either as a player or an ambassador. We admire David’s dedication to his country’s Olympic endeavor and greatly appreciate his support and commitment to MLS."

MLS GOES FOR THE WIN

It has been four years since the MLS All-Stars won their mid-summer classic, when they beat West Ham at BMO Field in Toronto in 2008. Despite the hurdles in bringing the All-Star team together while facing the reigning European club champions, Olsen and his squad are eyeing a chance to put the 2009 defeat in penalties to Everton and consecutive losses to Manchester United in the rear-view mirror. 

"It's a good mix, but you never know how this kind of comes together," Olsen said. "The players get out there, you can only do so much in a short amount of time. I think it's important to understand that it's a celebration of MLS and going against a great team, we'll do our best and try to represent the league in the right way and try to get a result."

Between players from different teams coming in at different times and only having a couple of training sessions together before the match in addition to the game being nothing more than an exhibition, the result is not necessarily at the forefront of everyone's minds, but after blowout losses to Manchester United in the last two years, restoring respect is a priority. 

“It’s an All-Star Game at the end of the day,” Donovan said. "But I think guys take some pride in it, and it’s good to have guys who are experiencing it for the first time, because they’re probably a little more excited than guys who have been there before.

“I think we’re going to be a lot more competitive this time around. I think Ben did a good job. A lot of times you just get a bunch of offensive players, and even the defenders are more attack-minded defenders. Ben’s done a good job of putting together a real team, so I think we’re going to have a much better chance."

OLSEN PLAYS 'FANTASY SOCCER'

Olsen likened making his MLS All-Star selections to playing fantasy soccer: Looking up and down the league's rosters, analyzing statistics and performances and ultimately going with who he thinks are the best and most-deserving players for the task at hand.

"It was actually a really good exercise for me to do as a young coach," Olsen said. "To go through the league and have some fun. I got plenty of input from my staff and everybody else who wants to play fantasy soccer as well with me."

Olsen's selections reflect a mixture of first-timers and experienced All-Stars while demonstrating balance across the field.

"You have to have some kind of balance, and that's why guys like Beckerman and (Osvaldo) Alonso were key to getting on here," Olsen said. "We wanted a guy that has some explosiveness up top in Eddie (Johnson) and some wide guys that know how to get forward."

JOHNSON RETURNS TO FORM 

One of Olsen's more noteworthy All-Star selections was Johnson, who has returned to his goal-scoring form after four mostly disappointing years abroad. The 28-year-old Johnson has eight goals for the Seattle Sounders and is more than halfway to breaking his single-season record of 15 set as a member of the Kansas City Wizards in 2007.

Donovan has noticed a maturity in Johnson, one of his past teammates on the U.S. national team. 

"He seems like he’s grown up a lot, even in the last year," Donovan said. "I know he went through a really hard time in the past couple of years, but he’s doing well in Seattle. You can tell in his demeanor and the way he’s playing that he’s happy again, that he’s playing well, so we’re all happy for him."

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22 Responses to MLS All-Star Notes: De Rosario named captain, Beckham to play and more

  1. Otto says:

    DeRo is the perfect pick for captain. Didnt he have a great sliding save in a previous all star game?

  2. A wise man once says:

    Yeah that’s not biased at all… ^_^

  3. Andy. says:

    where would this MLS ALL Star team play in the English League system and where in the table of the particular league would they finish?

    I say Championship playoff team.

  4. g-dub says:

    Mid table in the prem.

  5. Charles says:

    7th….although after watching Chelsea’s D against Seattle maybe 6th isn’t out of the question

  6. Andy. says:

    lol ok guys

    Other than Donovan, Beckham and Henry what other player from the MLS All-Star team would even make an EPL roster?

    Beckham and Henry aren’t even premier quality starters anymore.

  7. Camjam says:

    Olave. And Cameron (previous all star, I believe). ANY of the top 4 goalies in the league also.

    And those are just the ones I think have a chance at starting. Realistically, I think just about every MLS All Star could make the ROSTER of some EPL team. This wouldn’t happen because most of them couldn’t get the proper Visa. Still, most EPL rosters are capped at 25 for “playing” members. I find it hard to believe you are saying that any MLS all star, barring paperwork, couldn’t displace an 18-25 spot guy.

  8. Andy. says:

    camjam,

    i’m talking about the 2012 ALL-Star team not previous years.

    One could field a pretty good All-MLS team that i think would be a middle table Premier side. Thats not the question though.

    First off. Neither goalkeeper would make an EPL roster. Right there you’re pretty screwed. You need a good keeper in the EPL. Not one defender would make an EPL roster.

    midfielders: Rosario and Zusi are not PL quality.

    forwards: Eddie Johnson couldn’t cut it at Preston North End. Pontius could maybe make it as a squad player. Wondo is not EPL quality.

    without LD, Henry, and Beckham this is a lower table championship side. Maybe these 3 would be enough to lift them to the bottom of the EPL but i doubt it.

  9. Chris says:

    And, your handle describes you perfectly, does it not?

  10. Dan in New York says:

    Easily first place in the Champion’s League, ahead of Chelsea.

  11. Mingjai says:

    Realistically, this is probably a lower half team that, with injuries, would be fighting relegation and, with a run of good luck, would be fighting to make the top half.

  12. Camjam says:

    Agree to disagree. You’re the one who made the claim that nearly none of them could make EPL rosters, which to my original point, is silly.

    Since you seem intent on a pissing contest:

    Goalkeepers: Radek Cerny. Played on QPR’s roster for last (and upcoming) season. Is there any question either goalie is a better player than this guy? Not really.

    And I’m sure the old/young duo of Rory Delap/Diego Arismendi has terrified opponents of Stoke city much more than Dero/Zusi would have these past 4 years.

    I’ve only pointed out that to say our all stars wouldn’t make a roster is silly. You cite Eddie Johnson as a failure…. But he WAS a roster player for 2 years (and another in the championship). Successful? Lord no. But he had the talent to hang in the 18-25 spots (as would Wondo if he cared to make the jump)

    I don’t doubt this would be a championship team without LD, Henry, and Beckham. But individually, these guys are more talented than you’re giving them credit for.

  13. Luc says:

    Any MLS team has a chance a mid-table EPL. The quality drop-off is huge after the first 4-5 super clubs with ridiculous money.

  14. Fred says:

    More realistically, the EPL lower half teams are awful and would struggle in most competitive leagues. England is overrated because of the teams at the top.

  15. Dee says:

    Chelsea has European title, training and a friendly already under their belt. I still think MLS will give them competition, but it would be a tough task for any squad that only has a couple of days of practice.

  16. Armando says:

    No complaints with De Ro

  17. David P says:

    LA needs to find Beckham an aerial finisher. It’s amazing they have gone all these years without one. Galaxy needs to keep up with the depth that NY has assembled.

  18. Hogatroge Abroad says:

    +1

  19. Duneman says:

    How could perception be so off??? “without LD, Henry, and Beckham this is a lower table championship side.” That is nuts. Every MLS team is capable of being a BPL club. As noted there is a huge drop after the first 4 or 5….then the order tends to come down to who has a few big games against the big teams for extra points and who has injury issues like Bolton. 3 points easily comes from just a one goal match so the order can change big with a few inches here and there (like QPR’s issues with goals being called off). Again…there are more then 5 teams in the BPL. You dont have to be Man City to be in the BPL. Just look at a team like Phili….Aston Villa’s 1-0 match is the first time in a while they have lost to a BPL team (beating Everton, Newcastle, etc) Yes it was not an in season Everton…but it was not a full Phili A-team either.

    You can always make excuses for how a friendly goes….The only way to “prove” it would be to send an MLS team to the BPL for a season which of course wont happen….but the argument being made here is that you could not pick 18 or so of the better talents in MLS and make a BPL team which is just nuts. It was said that Henry and Becks are not even BPL starters…which is also crazy. Not only didnt Henry and even Keane start a few games on post season loan? And for Henry…again there are other teams besides Arsenal. If you think Wigan, QPR, the Wolves etc wouldnt have started Henry if they had him….and multiple teams even tried to get Becks but knew they could not afford him to make the change and he only wanted to play for ManU if he went back.

    ….uggg….I want to say so much more but its just crazy to say if they played as a club the all-stars could not make it in the BPL…i am a bit at a loss of what to say. Again, most MLS clubs (not all stars) could do well and stay up in the BPL. There would be an issue with depth given that many of the guys are making 30-50,000 a year…but a few key player injuries can kill most of the bottom half teams during the season. There is a big difference in the breadth of talent on the top 5 teams…their bench could likely make another BPL team without issue….but once you get past the top 4 or 5 clubs….MLS can easily compete and I dont even see that as debatable. The difference between most of the BPL and MLS clubs is not as much talent but salary. And if the MLS guys got to play against better and better teams each week they would get better as well. There is sooo much talent in the All-star team. The issue for the All -stars playing a big club is not a lack of talent…its the fact they never play together while playing against a bunch of guys that do and have done for several seasons.

    ANYWAY….if someone has some free time…just take the All-stars…put them on a custom team on FIFA and have the X-Box play them against Chelsea and a few other BPL teams. I will just go with whatever the computer says ;-)

  20. danny says:

    Sounds like he is not just going to start the voted in Starting XI and maybe Zusi and Beckham are odd men out? Bummer because those guys do a great job of supplying the ball and scoring from distance. Sounds like it will be:

    – E J – Wondo –
    De Ro – Beckerman – Alonso – Donovan
    Morrow – DeMerit – Collin – Beitashour
    – Kennedy –

    I would like to see a 3-3-4 of

    – Wondo – Henry – Donovan –
    – Zusi –
    – Alonso – Beckerman –
    -Morrow – Valdes – Collin – Beitashour –
    – Nielsen –

  21. bryan says:

    dude, in a 4-4-2 you aren’t going to have Alonso and Beckerman. they play the same position. one of them would be paired with Becks.

    in your 4-3-3, Wondo out wide is silly. he is a poacher. Henry is more capable playing out wide as he did at Barca.

  22. Andy. says:

    most MLS teams could play in the EPL? that’s laughably ignorant.

    Most MLS teams would struggle in the Championship.