Downtown Portland could resemble Recife on the night of Aug. 6.
Major League Soccer announced its Fan XI for the 2014 MLS All-Star Game at Providence Park on Aug. 6 when a side of MLS’ top performers take on German Bundesliga magnate Bayern Munich. In all, eight MLS players who participated in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil highlight the cast of All Stars that will take on a Bayern Munich group that had 14 players represent their respective countries in Brazil, more than any other club around the world.
The showdown in Portland might look eerily similar to the 1-0 Group G victory by eventual World Cup winner Germany over the United States men’s national team in rainy Recife, Brazil, on June 26. That includes Real Salt Lake’s Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando, who were among the Fan XI announced Wednesday night on ESPN. This is Beckerman’s eighth straight MLS All-Star recognition in his 15-year MLS career, while Rimando earns his fourth All-Star honors.
Joining the RSL duo are USMNT staples Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC) as well as recent World Cup vets Matt Besler and Graham Zusi of Sporting Kansas City. Defender Omar Gonzalez of the L.A. Galaxy joins his World Cup center back partner Besler as part of the Fan XI. U.S. great Landon Donovan is part of the crew, along with emerging Sounders star DeAndre Yedlin.
Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls) and Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders) are the lone international players who are part of the Fan XI, completed through combined fan voting on two platforms, both online — MLSSoccer.com and Twitter.
The All Stars will face a Bayern Munich side a year removed from its UEFA Champions League crown, but could feature World Cup winners Thomas Muller, Toni Kroos, Mario Gotze, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Jerome Boateng, Phillipp Lahm and Manuel Neuer. Six MLS All Stars — Beckerman, Dempsey, Bradley, Zusi, Besler and Gonzalez — started the June 26 Group G match against Germany.
The ballot that fans voted on consisted of eight players from each club as chosen by the media. The 10 players chosen by fans with the highest combined votes from the two methods were named to the Fan XI. The 11th All Star, Martins, was named via how many goals were scored by a select mount of players in EA sports video game “FIFA 14.” More than one million online goals were scored by fans with Martins in “FIFA 14,” catapulting him past Eddie Johnson, Robbie Keane, Donovan and Henry.
Being named to the Fan XI doesn’t guarantee a starting spot against Bayern Munich. MLS All-Star coach Caleb Porter, boss of the Portland Timbers, will select his starting lineup based on player availability and tactics. Commissioner Don Garber will make two hand-picked selections as Porter will complete his 20-man All-Star roster in an announcement Saturday.
2014 MLS All-Star Fan XI
Goalkeeper • Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders • Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
Midfielders • Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards • Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders FC - AT&T/EA SPORTS “More than a Vote” Challenge winner)