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Sharing the spoils

Click here for more on this story
Posted: Friday July 27, 2001 11:55 AM

o Storylines
o WUSA Game Watch
o Bandwagon
o From the Newsstand
o Sickbay
o From the Stands

By Jeff Green,

MLS East All-Star coach Ray Hudson had hinted before this week that he would pull a "Joe Torre" and stock the reserve list with his own players. Hudson stopped short of Torre's total of seven Yankees, but he did name four Miami Fusion backups to go with the four starters voted in by fans.

West coach Bob Bradley outdid Hudson, however, and named five Chicago Fire reserves to go with his two starters for the All-Star Game on Sunday in San Jose, Calif. (3 p.m. ET, ABC).

Neither comes close to outdoing D.C. United's All-Star total in 1999, the team's final championship season before collapsing beyond mediocrity. That year, D.C. had 10 All-Stars, including seven of the 11 starters.

(The Fusion, by contrast, had just one All-Star in 1999: commissioner's pick Leo Cullen.)

As well as each team has done on the field, few have questioned their selections.

"Ray Hudson approached the selection process extremely responsibly, as did Bob Bradley," said deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis. "There is naturally going to be some consideration for their own players, but this is not a case of coaches doing personal favors for their players.

"I don't know how you would leave [reserves] Diego Serna, Pablo Mastroeni, Ian Bishop or Jim Rooney off the All-Star team," said Gazidis. "All of those four reserves are deserving."

"My belief is that Miami has had a tremendous first half and it is natural that they would have many All-Star players."

Hudson said he would have added defender Ivan McKinley to the list if he hadn't been sidelined due to injury.

"This is a massive, massive statement about our club," Hudson told the Miami Herald. "When the national anthem comes on and I look out and see eight of our lads out there, it's going to be very hard for me not to bubble up and cry like a little kid.

"I can put my hand over my heart and say in all honesty that those four were not emotional picks for me," Hudson told the paper. "It is their inarguable right to go.''

"The entire Fire roster has contributed to our success this season," said Fire GM Peter Wilt. "The balance on this team is indicated by the fact that no Fire player has garnered MLS player of the week honors in spite of the tremendous team success.

"All the Fire players selected by the fans and Bob are worthy all-stars."

Hudson will likely to put Bishop and Mastroeni in the starting lineup to replace injured elected starters, the coach said.

D.C. teen Bobby Convey (hernia surgery) is among five starters who will miss the game, a group that includes D.C. defender Eddie Pope (family illness), MetroStars midfielder Clint Mathis (torn right knee ligament), D.C. United midfielder Ben Olsen (surgery on both ankles) and Dallas defender Lubos Kubik (three-game suspension).

Jason Kreis will reportedly choose to rest a sore ankle, according to Soccer America, which reported that coach Bob Bradley's request to replace Kreis with Fire forward Eric Wynalda was refused. Fire midfielder DaMarcus Beasley could be in doubt after missing Chicago's midweek U.S. Open Cup victory due to injury.

MLS Single Table
Playoff picture at All-Star break
Miami Fusion  19  12  40  39  24  Tied 1  5-2-3 
Chicago Fire  18  11  36  36  19  Won 1  7-2-1 
San Jose Earthquakes  19  10  35  32  20  Lost 1  5-2-3 
Los Angeles Galaxy  20  32  38  29  Lost 1  4-3-3 
MetroStars  19  30  28  25  Won 1  3-5-2 
Columbus Crew  17  26  29  27  Won 2  5-2-3 
Kansas City Wizards  19  26  23  38  Tied 1  4-5-1 
Dallas Burn  19  25  34  31  Lost 1  4-3-3 
Colorado Rapids  20  21  27  31  Won 1  3-3-4 
10  N.E. Revolution  19  20  24  32  Tied 1  2-3-5 
11  D.C. United  19  12  19  30  38  Lost 2  3-6-1 
12  Tampa Bay Mutiny  20  16  10  24  50  Lost 6  1-9-0 
  • Top three are division leaders.
  • Next five are in playoff position.
  • Bottom four are out of playoff position.
  • Home stretch
    Don't mistake the MLS All-Star Weekend as a midseason break. The season's midpoint has long since passed; with roughly two-thirds of the season gone, this is the home stretch. If your team is hoping to make up ground (see chart above), it had better happen quickly. Unless you're a Tampa Bay Mutiny fan -- just hope that your team doesn't set the MLS all-time mark for fewest wins (7), held by the 1999 MetroStars and 2000 San Jose Earthquakes (with the advantage of four additional games for each and of shootouts wins for the Metros). On a positive note, both of those teams turned into serious contenders a season later.
    Rest easy, Rocket Roy
    Don't look for anyone to challenge Roy Lassiter's MLS goalscoring record of 27, especially with the shorter season. If scoring leader Diego Serna of the Fusion plays in all of the Fusion's remaining games, and scores at his current pace, he'd fall short of 19 goals. His overall point total, assuming he also continues to assist at his current rate, will fall about five short of Lassiter's record (58). The all-time assist leader set by Carlos Valderrama last season (26) is not threatened.
    The good land
    It won't be all fun and games during All-Star Weekend for MLS officials, who are due to hear an expansion pitch on Friday from a Milwaukee investment group led by Tim Krause, according to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Krause, who appears to have done his homework, wants to build a 20,000-seat, $50 million stadium in downtown Milwaukee. The privately financed stadium would include design features that Krause himself studied in visits to major European facilities.

    Atlanta at San Diego, Sunday, 6 p.m. ET on CNN/SI
    Even without the services of injured FIFA Co-Player of the Century Sun Wen, league-leading Atlanta has turned into the WUSA's team to beat. National team mainstays and WUSA founders Briana Scurry and Cindy Parlow have brought a high level of experience to head coach Tom Stone's team, but just as important have been the contributions of the "no-name defense" and super subs such as Emily Burt. Midfielder Julie Foudy's San Diego Spirit, by contrast are in danger of missing the playoffs, sitting in sixth place going into the weekend's action. A win on Sunday would give the Spirit a big boost heading into the final stretch.
    Click here for the full WUSA schedule.

    King George

    In New York to promote an Aug. 4 doubleheader (MetroStars-Fusion, Colombia-Liberia), former world player of the year George Weah reiterated this week that he hoped to one day play in Major League Soccer for the MetroStars. Weah, 35, is married to an American and maintains a home in Queens. MetroStars fans may understandably be wary of taking on another aging foreign star, but do not confuse Weah with Lothar Matthäus. For proof, read S.L. Price's excellent Sports Illustrated feature on Weah.

    Give me that whistle

    Dallas Burn defender Lubos Kubik on Tuesday became the first MLS player to receive a three-game suspension for threatening a referee. Kubik's suspension and $5,000 fine were a result of his actions on Saturday, when he stormed onto the field and physically confronted referee Richard Heron in a 2-1 overtime loss to the Chicago Fire. Kubik was warming up behind the goal when Heron awarded a penalty kick to the fire. Kubik stormed onto the field, pulled the whistle from Heron's mouth and tossed it away. He received a red card and was escorted off. He is also suspended from the All-Star Game.

    Parlow POW

    Atlanta Beat forward Cindy Parlow was named WUSA Player of the Week after leading the WUSA's first place team to a 1-0-1 record for the week, totaling two goals and one assist with six shots on goal in two games. The WUSA founding player figured in all of the Atlanta scoring for the team's undefeated week. Parlow now has five goals and five assists in 14 games played.

    Metros: More problems surface for stadium plan, by Frank Giase at the Newark Star-Ledger

    Click here for the full list of MLS injuries and disciplinary suspensions.

    Last week, The Glance asked you to tell us tell what teams and players will lead the way and whom you think will fade down the stretch. See below for your responses.

    For next week, just tell us what's on your mind. Are you out there, soccer fans?

    Your name:
    Your e-mail address:
    Your hometown:

    Your take here (in 25 words or less)

    The Fire and Fusion will stay hot. The United and Mutiny will continue to fade. The Quakes and Galaxy need to pick it up, while the Rapids are the dark horse. The Metros without Mathis are a shell of their former selves. Fire forwards need to keep producing. Defender Jim Curtin has been a real find.

    Preki and Rooney need to be on for the Fusion to win. Pineda Chacon has to step up now. Olsen will bring some life and back to D.C., but too little to late. The Mutiny are done and need to be overhauled next season from the top down.

    L.A. needs Cienfuegos to be energized and for Simon Elliot to be a force. Have faith in Paul Caligiuri. Quakes need Agoos to be on form again. Ekelund is underrated (played for Barca Dream Team, lest we forget) and if he discovers some of his top form, look out. S.J. forwards gotta keep pluggin' away.

    Rapids are solid in all positions, but everyone must play to his utmost potential for them to make their mark. Spencer has been a godsend.
    --John Freeston, Boulder, Colo.

    As the Metros 'D' weakens from Hernandez's move forward, watch Tim Howard make save after save. Expect him to be the U.S. No. 3 by year's end; he should be already.
    --Jerry, Auburn, Ala.

    With all of Ray Hudson's obvious backup picks (Bishop, Mastroeni, Serna, etc.) It looks like the Miami Fusion are going to be playing the West All-Stars (with minor help from D.C. and the MetroStars). Let's see, Miami vs the West. I'll take the Fusion any day of the week.

    By the way, lets see some of the "great" South American clubs take on the Fusion, Fire, Quakes or Metros. Boca Juniors should thank their lucky stars that they aren't in MLS.
    --Derek, Miami wire services contributed to this report.

    Related information
    U.S. Soccer Week at a Glance: The Great Santino
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