180629_MLSAllStarRoster

Tata Martino announces full 2018 MLS All-Star Game roster

Major League Soccer's star-studded roster is set for the 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target, and showcases the most diverse group in the league’s history. Atlanta United head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino made 14 selections, while two players were honored as Commissioner’s picks by MLS Commissioner Don Garber, for the highly anticipated event against Italian powerhouse Juventus Football Club on Wednesday, Aug. 1

Ten players with FIFA World Cup experience are on the roster, including five participants in this year’s tournament, among 16 of the league’s teams. The roster also features players from 16 countries – the most in MLS All-Star Game history, eclipsing the previous record of 13 in the 2016 and 2017 MLS All-Star Games.

STARTING XI: All-Star Head Coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino (Atlanta United) will select the starting XI from the roster below:

FORWARDS:

Josef Martinez - Atlanta United: The top goal scorer in MLS for the 2018 season, Josef Martínez, had a wondrous first season in 2017 with recording 19 goals – the most ever by a player on an expansion team. The 24-year-old was awarded both MLS Player of the Month and MLS Player of the Week two times in 2018. Martinez is a member of the Venezuela Men’s National Team in which he has been capped 42 times.

Sebastian Giovinco - Toronto FC: Giovinco led Toronto FC to a historic treble in 2017 – the Supporters’ Shield, MLS Cup crown and the Canadian Championship title. A game changer since his MLS debut in 2015, Giovinco’s opening campaign included a record-breaking tally of combined goals and assists as he collected MLS Golden Boot, Newcomer of the Year, and Landon Donovan MLS MVP honors. Earlier in 2018, Giovinco was named the MVP of the Concacaf Champions League, leading Toronto to a runner-up finish.

Zlatan Ibrahimovic - LA Galaxy: Signing with the Galaxy earlier this year, Ibrahimović stormed into the league with two late goals during his LA Galaxy debut on March 31. The former Juventus player is Sweden’s all-time leading goal scorer with 62 goals in 116 games. Ibrahimović has played in two FIFA World Cups (2002, 2006).

Carlos Vela - LAFC: A crucial member of the Mexico National Team, Vela has played in two World Cups (2010, 2018) and has won the Concacaf Gold Cup on two occasions. Before coming to LAFC, Vela played for such teams as Arsenal, Salamanca, Osasuna and Real Sociedad. He earned the Real Sociedad Player of the Year in 2011-12 and 2013-14.

David Villa - NYCFC: The 2016 Landon Donovan MLS MVP and captain of New York City FC, Villa was also an integral member for the Spain National Team in three FIFA World Cups (2006, 2010 and 2014); he scored five goals in leading Spain to its first World Cup crown in 2010. In 2018, Villa has tallied eight goals and four assists as New York City FC is once again among the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

Bradley Wright-Phillips - NY Red Bulls: A two-time MLS Golden Boot Winner, Phillips has spent the entirety of his MLS career with the Red Bulls since 2013. In the 2018, he has netted 11 goals, which ranks second among the league leaders. In 2017, Wright-Phillips became the first player in Red Bulls history to reach 100 goals among all competitions – MLS regular season and postseason play, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and Concacaf Champions League. He was named to the MLS Best XI in 2014 and 2016.

Midfielders

Miguel Almirón - Atlanta United: A member of the Paraguay National Team, Almirón starred for his country in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup before breaking out in 2016 at the Copa America Centenario. The 24-year-old had an impressive first season, recording nine goals and 14 assists. He was named the 2017 MLS Newcomer of the Year, was ranked No. 1 in the 2017 MLS 24 Under 24 list, was named to the 2017 MLS Best XI and was a finalist for 2017 Most Valuable Player.

Ezequiel Barco - Atlanta United: The Argentina youth star, despite an early-season injury, has showcased his talent to the tune of three goals and an assist since early May to lead the club to first place in the Eastern Conference. He has played for Argentina’s U-20 National team and made eight appearances. Before playing for Atlanta this season, Barco played for Independiente, and made appearances in Copa Sudamericana and Copa Argentina.

Alphonso Davies - Vancouver Whitecaps: The Canada National Team phenom and one of the youngest active MLS players in the league, Davies had an impressive inaugural year in 2017 with Vancouver. Davies also earned international acclaim when he won the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup Golden Boot and was named to the tournament’s Best XI at age 16. During the 2018 MLS season, Davies ranks fifth in assists with seven.

Jonathan Dos Santos - LA Galaxy: A member of the Mexico National Team, dos Santos has most recently represented his country in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, as well as the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. Dos Santos signed with the LA Galaxy in 2017 as a Designated Player after playing for Barcelona and Villarreal. 

Alberth Elis - Houston Dynamo: A member of the Honduras National Team since 2014, the 22-year-old Elis has been a budding member of the Dynamo since his 2017 debut. Elis scored 10 goals and four assists in 2017, and he is on his way to an even stronger 2018 MLS campaign. This year he has tallied eight goals and five assists in just 15 matches. During Concacaf Champions League play, Elis was named the tournament’s Best Young Player when he was competing for Olimpia.

Ignacio Piatti - Montreal Impact: The Montreal Impact star is once again putting together strong season in 2018 with eight goals and six assists. Piatti was named the Impact team MVP the past three seasons (2015-17). A model of consistency, Piatti recorded 17 goals and six assists in both the 2016 and 2017 seasons. He was named to the MLS Best XI in 2016.

Alex Ring - NYCFC: A member of the Finland National Team, Ring has earned 44 appearances while scoring two goals in international play. Ring was selected as New York City FC’s Newcomer of the Year in 2017, posting four assists in 29 regular-season games after a successful career with FC Kaiserslautern.

Ilie Sanchez - Sporting KC: Sporting Kansas City’s Newcomer of the Year in 2017 had a strong first season, appearing in 33 regular season games while adding two assists and helping contribute to 11 shutouts. This year, Sanchez has recorded two goals and three assists in 16 games as SKC leads the Western Conference.

Diego Valeri - Portland Timbers: The 2017 Landon Donovan MLS MVP, Valeri finished last season with 21 goals and 22 assists and has starred for the Portland Timbers in all six years in the league, winning the Golden Boot in 2013, his first year with Portland. Valeri, who has made three appearances for the Argentina National Team, holds the record for the fastest goal in MLS Cup history and was previously named to the MLS Best XI in 2013, 2014 and 2017. This is Valeri’s fifth selection to the MLS All-Star Game. 

Yoshimar Yotún - Orlando City: A starter and difference-maker for both club and country, Yotún played a heavy part in Peru’s run to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, as well as the buildup toward Peru’s first World Cup goal in 40 years. Yotún started in all three group matches in Russia. For Orlando City SC, Yotún has three goals and five assists this season. The creative midfielder has the versatility to also play as an attacking left back.

Wilfried Zahibo - New England Revolution: In his inaugural season with the New England Revolution, Zahibo has three goals and four assists in 16 games played. After seven professional seasons in France and Spain, Zahibo made the transition to MLS from Valencia CF and La Liga.

Defenders

Michael Parkhurst - Atlanta United: The six-time MLS All-Star selection is one of the most celebrated defenders in MLS. Parkhurst has played for the U.S. Men’s National Team, earning 25 caps and winning the 2007 and 2013 Concacaf Gold Cup. He was awarded MLS Rookie of the Year in 2005, Defender of the Year in 2007, and was named to the MLS Best XI in 2007. Parkhurst became the first team captain for Atlanta United.

Francisco Calvo - Minnesota United: The captain of Minnesota United FC and a member of the Costa Rica National Team, Calvo earned a trip to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Calvo tallied two goals and an assist in 27 games during his inaugural MLS season in 2017. A versatile player who can play multiple defensive positions.

Laurent Ciman - LAFC: A member of the Belgium National Team, Ciman was a part of the squad in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. In his inaugural year in MLS, he brought Montreal to the Concacaf Champions League final and the MLS Cup Playoffs and earned Impact Defensive Player of the Year. In addition, Ciman was named to MLS Best XI in 2015 and was awarded MLS Defender of the Year. 

Matt Hedges - FC Dallas: The 2016 MLS Defender of the Year, Hedges has become one of the most important players to the FC Dallas team and defense. Hedges was previously named to the MLS Best XI in 2015 and 2016. He has also earned five caps with the U.S. National Team.

Aaron Long - NY Red Bulls: After winning the 2016 USL Cup and earning USL Defender of the Year with the New York Red Bulls II, Long has made a smooth transition to the Red Bulls back line for the past two MLS seasons. From 2017-18, Long has started in 43 of 46 games with three goals in regular-season play.

Michael Murrillo - NY Red Bulls: A member of the Panama National Team, Murillo has most recently taken his talents to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Murillo originally played for San Francisco FC’s youth academy in Panama, eventually transferring to the club’s first division team.

Graham Zusi - Sporting KC: The U.S. National Team defender has made 55 international appearances and was an integral player for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Zusi has excelled for Sporting Kansas City, spending the entirety of his 10-year career with the team, and has helped Sporting earn the current top spot in the Western Conference. He is second in club history with 56 assists. Zusi was also previously named to the MLS Best XI in 2012 and 2013.

Goalkeepers

Brad Guzan - Atlanta United: In his first season with Atlanta United in 2017, Guzan made 14 starts and finished with the third-best goals-against average (0.71) in the league. In addition, he also recorded the sixth-longest shutout streak in MLS at 541 minutes. Guzan was previously named to the MLS Best XI in 2007 and was the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. U-21 team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Zack Steffen - Columbus Crew: Steffen has been dubbed the future of goalkeeping for the U.S. National Team, notably posting seven saves to earn a draw against France earlier this year. The 23-year-old with 30 saves in 14 appearances this regular season is tied for a league-best seven shutouts, including five clean sheets and 17 saves from May 5-27. Steffen leads MLS with the lowest goals-against average (0.79) among goalkeepers appearing in nine or more games in 2018.

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