MLS is all about consequence, unless that consequence is relegation and then the subject will quickly cha... Did you know that Matt Hedges has a doctorate in arboreal kitten removal? I can’t believe we’re halfway through the season! Orlando certainly jumped the shark with the Dwyer allocation money! RIGHT?!
Caleb Porter once endured the consequences of a few enthusiastic challenges against Bayern Munich after the 2014 edition of America’s best friendly. The context for the handshake spurning is simple: their players were roughed up and Caleb Porter was yet again smug for 90 minutes.
But there is certainly nothing like the consequence surrounding the annual edition MLS All Star game in that it has none. And that is why it is lovable, and an event that any and every fan of the league should catch in their lifetime.
Since the exhibition itself has evolved over time, going from East versus West, to MLS America versus MLS World (the Donald’s favorite edition), to the current format of a recognizable European team versus the best of the league.
Some say it’s a popularity contest, usually devoid of selections based on statistical rationality and full of designated players and national team selections that are easily distinguishable on a website, and they would be only half right. Sometimes we as fans get it right and throw a 2012 Chris Pontius or 2015 Ethan Finlay into the mix. And yes, some of those DP’s are quite deserving by this point in the season, and some are just along for the ride.
Either way, comparing MLS minutiae is what we do here and what the few and impoverished bloggers dig more than the xG of a slightly-above-the-arch Lee Nguyen half volley.
So, to start: who has contributed the most individual players to the ASG since 1996?
Keep in mind this accounts for individual players. Your Landon Donovans, Marco Etcheverrys, and Carlos Valderramas only count once here.
Next, which players have represented a team three times at the ASG (the most to date)?
Do you qualify any of the above players as hired hands or MLS journeymen? It is a definite way to land yourself the record aside from being great at your job.
And what of goals? It turns out that the Red Bulls can lead the MLS annals of history. This atones for 2008, right?
Half of San Jose’s above total came from Landon Donovan in one game. Donovan is also, alongside Cobi Jones, one of two players to score both for the MLS All Stars and against them.
Furthermore, who knew that non-MLS players could actually be selected as the match’s MVP? What is a Chuba Akpom anyway?
It’s no surprise McBride’s name is included in the list: he is the man tied with Donovan for the most All Star goals to date. It is also absurd that Tampa Bay still, after 21 seasons, has produced the most ASG MVP’s. And yes, Chuba Akpom was last year’s MVP.
Finally, notwithstanding the fact that LA typically gets its pick of the litter when it comes to players, both designated players and Chad Barretts, it should come as no surprise that the Galaxy lead the all time appearance list among teams.
DC’s numbers in the All Star game still remain strong, riding the high waves of those early glory days in the late 90’s and early 2000’s. Even as their influence in the game and in the league has waned over many years, they are at least not Colorado. The Rapids can claim the infamy of the lowest number of All Star players out of any MLS original side. They’ve even been surpassed by Houston, who began MLS play a full ten years after Colorado first kicked a ball at Mile High Stadium.
But we can only hold out hope for 2017. Will Zidane chokeslam Pauno? Will Caleb Porter wander onto the pitch at Soldier Field only to be spurned by yet another European coach?