Brek Shea almost made the 2016 MLS All Star game. This is why we can't have nice things. You read that right. As recently as June 23rd Brek Shea was leading all MLS defenders in all star votes. He isn't even a consistent starter on his own team, yet he was going to represent the entire league in their forthcoming match-up against English Premier League side Arsenal. That is a joke.
Thankfully, the voting has changed around and as of the most recently available data Brek Shea didn't make the all star team (that said, voting technically closed on July 4th and this is just through the 3rd). Now technically he still could get selected. San Jose Earthquakes coach Dominic Kinnear will fill out the roster after the MLS Commissioner, Don Garber, gets his two picks. So the fans pick 11 players, Garber gets two, and Kinnear fills in the last nine based on players who receive enough votes from a pool of players who get ballots. Brek Shea shouldn't make the team, but he was awfully close.
The Kansas City Connection
According to the data from July 3rd (remember, there was one day of voting left), the only Sporting Kansas City player who is a near sure thing to make the team is center back Matt Besler. I love Matt Besler. He is the face of the team. He is a hometown boy. He even represents his country (and quite well I may add). That said, he shouldn't be on the all star team.
Through this weekend he had only appeared in 11 of the possible 19 games. I would argue he has also been a bit off this year. He has made uncharacteristic mistakes and just generally not looked like the Besler of years past. It could be because Michael Bradley gave him a concussion earlier this year (thanks Mike!) or any number of other things. I would argue Besler isn't even the best defender on his team. Nuno Andre Coelho has played in more games (14) and just generally looked much better (though Besler really turned it around with that goal against Columbus).
The reason Besler likely made the team, as is the case with several other people, is name recognition. Look no further than Ashley Cole of the LA Galaxy. He clearly isn't one of the best three defenders in the league, but there he is next to Besler and Keegan Rosenberry. Rosenberry is an exciting rookie, but he probably shouldn't be on the team any more than anyone else on this list so far.
The Problems Don't Stop There
In the midfield the top four vote getters are Kaka, Andrea Pirlo, Giovani Dos Santos and Darlington Nagbe. Kaka has only played in 9 games this season. When he's healthy he's fantastic, but that's just not been the case this season. Of those players, only Giovani Dos Santos is even having a good year. Pirlo and Nagbe are doing ok, but their seasons are nothing special. How Sacha Kljestan and his MLS leading 10 assists isn't on that list is beyond me. Not to mention a relatively unhealthy Mauro Diaz has nine assists of his own.
The only things I don't have problems with are the goal keepers and most of the forwards. Andre Blake is the leading keeper, and I'm good with that. He's been fantastic (and full disclosure, I voted for him). At forward you have Sebastian Giovinco, Didier Drogba and David Villa. Drogba has had a down year since he has missed nearly half of his teams games, but he still has five goals in the appearances he has made. I'd probably replace him with Chris Wondolowski, but I'm sure he'll get selected since the game is in San Jose and his coach is picking the remaining players.
The main point is that fans simply don't know enough about the games. I'd say I'm a fairly large fan of MLS and I watch a lot of it, but I never miss a Sporting KC game (or Swope Park Rangers for that matter). The fans are only informed when it comes to their teams and goal scoring. They got most of the top goal scorers and one of the top shot stoppers. What the typical fan knows less about is all the play between the 18-yard-box.
I propose we allow the fans one to three players based on votes. They can keep voting by position so people who fancy themselves as knowledgeable can continue to vote for 11 players, but then when the fans screw it up it won't leave tons of deserving players out of the team. As for who votes them in, it should probably be some combination of coaches, technical directors, other staff, players and the media. I'm not saying I should still get a vote, because I did vote for Roger Espinoza too, and he probably isn't among the top four midfielders this season (though it's hard to quantify what he does on the field).
Whatever the solution is, it's not the fans. That said, I need to get back to playing FIFA 16 as I clearly didn't score enough goals with Dom Dwyer to make him the third forward (which was chosen by goals scored in FIFA 16 -- and ultimately went to Villa). Sadly I still probably score more with Diego Rubio, who until recently, was rated higher than Dwyer despite being his backup.