Donnelly: Sporting Kansas City Dominates MLS All Star Lineup

Yesterday Major League Soccer announced its 2012 All Star Starting XI… 

The All Star game is on July 25th in Philly and will pit the best in the MLS against EPL giant Chelsea.

Sporting KC is represented big time, with more players on the Starting XI than any other team.

That’s some major props to Sporting and its front office, considering KC doesn’t exactly get the national media coverage that some of the other teams do.

Kansas City has three players on the Starting XI – Jimmy Nielsen, Aurelien Collin and Graham Zusi.

My initial thoughts:

Jimmy Nielsen absolutely deserves this.  He’s been solid all year and has recorded shutouts in three of the last four league games. No problem at all with this pick.

Aurelien Collin is a little iffier. The Frenchman is certainly noticeable with his playing style and shaved head, and he’s had a decent enough year, racking up 3 goals from his defensive position. But to me Matt Besler is the more deserving defender.  Though not as visible, Besler does the little things that often go unnoticed.  His steady play allows Collin to be the wildman on the pitch.

The selection of Zusi, while not as much of a slam dunk as Nielsen, is more justifiable than Collin.  He’s earned an impressive 8 assists on the year – though to be fair he does take all of Sporting’s set pieces and corners.  He’s also been a solid contributor in the middle, showing a great work ethic and a nice touch, though not quite as nice as expected after he stormed his way to a fantastic second half of the 2011 season.

Zusi’s inclusion seems to be a combination of the carryover from his breakout performance last season and the fact that some soccer writers included him as a dark horse for the MVP prior to this season.

I think many would argue that Roger Espinoza is the more deserving of the Sporting midfielders, but I’m OK with Zusi’s inclusion on the Starting XI.

Really, just the fact that KC got 3 out of the 11 guys selected – which includes names like Thierry Henry, David Beckham, Chris Wondolowski, and London Donovan – is a big national recognition for Sporting as an organization.

This entry was posted in Sporting_Kansas_City and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Donnelly: Sporting Kansas City Dominates MLS All Star Lineup

  1. Mysterious_J says:

    Mostly agree
    The pick of Zusi is more about how he played this time LAST year. This season he has not taken a step forward at all. Collin does make some stupid plays, especially unnecessary fouls. However, he represents a rarity in this league: an individual player you would actually pay to see.

  2. Markus Aurelius says:

    No question that Besler’s solid play allows Collin to roam
    but it’s an all-star game and, whether we like it or not, it seems that every sport’s all-star game takes into account personality/style/flair/star-value at least in part and sometimes (unfortunately) as much as it takes into account talent, performance and execution. No question that Collin has that ‘it’ factor; however, on a less sound defensive team his style of play might quickly cross the line from brilliant to foolish. Collin had a mostly fabulous game against Houston though.

    I love Zusi and appreciate all that he brings to the team; however (certainly the contrast to Arnaud in the Montreal game makes me very thankful that we have Zusi in the middle) I would agree that Espinoza has probably been more valuable to the team in the middle this season. I also tend to believe that Espinosa’s tenaciousness and drive to the ball inspires others to work harder and leave it all out on the field.

    The White Puma has been as good as ever and without question is highly deserving.

    Quite a coup for SKC to land 3 of the 11 spots. We’re building something special here and I hope it lasts a long, long time.

  3. Markus Aurelius says:

    BTW, why does the title start with the “Hearne:” tag??
    Has Hearne taken over Matt Donnelly’s mind?

  4. Dwain says:

    Will KC host this game next year?

  5. Matt says:

    I’d say there’s a good chance, Dwain
    KC was thought to have been the runner up for this year’s game (Philly has a shiny new stadium too). So I would think KC would be right back in the conversation for next year.

  6. legendaryhog says:

    Collin? nope. Besler instead please.
    I’m not getting the Collin inclusion. He’s going to miss the Cup final because of yellow card accumulation. Also, he

Comments are closed.