A few hours ago Major League Soccer unveiled it's First XI for the all-star game against West Ham United at BMO Field later this month.
Team lines up as follows:
Goalkeeper: Matt Reis (NE)
Defenders: Jimmy Conrad (KC), Frankie Hejduk (Columbus), Michael Parkhurst (NE)
Midfielders: David Beckham (LA), Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Chicago), Shalrie Joseph (NE), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas), Robbie Rogers (Columbus)
Forwards: Kenny Cooper (FCD), Landon Donovan (LA)
You guys notice anything missing?
If you didn't, let me point out that the MLS First XI, chosen by voting from fans, coaches, players and (of course) the media contains NO representation from Toronto FC.
Some of you are probably wondering how this happened, given that TFC fans voted early and often (the MLS website allowed up to 10 votes per person, per day), and vaulted several TFC players to the top of early fan voting lists.
Here's how: Media, coach and player votes were more heavily weighted than fan votes. So while TFC's rabid fan base propelled hometown players to an early lead, that advantage disappeared when everyone else filed their ballots.
Now I understand a lot of TFC fans are probably upset about the shutout, but before they flood the commissioner's office with angry emails they need to remember a couple of things:
1. The team isn't complete yet. These are just the first 11 guys named to an 18-man roster. On July 15 all-star coach Steve Nicol will choose five more players, and after that the commissioner will select two more. That's real good news for Toronto fans, because....
2. One of those seven additions will definitely come from TFC. Speaking at a news conference this morning MLS deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis made a point of praising Toronto's passionate fans, and realizes that fielding a TFC-free team July 24 would be just plain dumb. He suggested as much when speaking to the media a few minutes later. He didn't use the word "dumb," but did say the league would include at least one hometown player in the roster.
So relax, guys. Someone from TFC will dress for the game against West Ham United.
I'm not a gambling man, but my money's on Marvell Wynne.
Before we continue, let me remind you guys for the 88th time that the rules of journalism dictate that I'm not responsible for predictions that don't pan out, but receive credit for the ones that do.
So yeah, if I've got to select on TFC player to add to the team, it's Wynne. In my very, very VERY humble opinion he's the team's best player this season, and his numerous "Man-of-the-match" trophies bear that out. He's the one constant on an inconsistent team, and a relentless, hustling defender who's a lot of fun to watch.
I'd suit him up, but we'll see what the league does.
It's true. TFC officially waived him earlier today.
It's not a surprise, given that he'd gone from a part-time starter last season to a full time reserve in 2008.
-- Morgan Campbell