3 MLS Players Who Didn’t Deserve a Snub For the All-Star Game

Caleb Porter and MLS fans named 21 All Stars but there are three glaring omissions
by Austin Farrow   |   Monday, August 04, 2014

Major League Soccer (MLS) 2012 Season Preview

Justifiable cases can be made for players like Harry Shipp, Lee Nguyen, Joao Plata, Justin Mapp and Brad Davis to be All-Stars. There is a total of 35 goals and 21 assists produced this season out of that group of players.

Despite that, they can’t all be All-Stars.

There just isn’t room on a 21 man squad and they are far from the only snubs. In fact, there are three snubs that I’d argue have shown more valuable and clutch this season. Here are three MLS players that realistically have no business not being an All-Star this season.

Benny Feilhaber

Feilhaber hasn’t been the most productive in the league with just 3 goals and 5 assists but has probably been the most important player to first place Kansas City this season. Feilhaber lies deeper than any other player mentioned in this article, too. He doesn’t always get an assist or goal but is likely to start a play with a sublime pass to the likes of Graham Zusi or Sal Zizzo who then get the ball to a man I will mention later in this piece.

If we were to judge Feilhaber strictly from this MLS season, it is easy to say he is the best passer from deep midfield in the league but other factors keep someone like Michael Bradley ahead of him in that category.

Feilhaber has also played the second most minutes of any Kansas City player. He has been such a vital part to how Sporting build chances. He is a composed, precise engine with eagle vision. At 29, it seems the Brazilian-Austrian American has become privy to exactly how he should play. For years before heading to Sporting Kansas City, it seemed like he struggled with how to exactly implement his style in a game. There doesn’t seem to be any sign of this now and it’s astonishing to me that he hasn’t been rewarded by the likes of Caleb Porter and fans. If Kansas City were to win MLS Cup this season, he may very well end up MLS MVP.

Federico Higuain

Who is the most prototypical number 10 in MLS? For those not sure, the number 10 is the midfielder behind the strikers in charge of sneaking the final ball through to them in a specific formation. Not all formations include a number 10. The top four in the league consist of Clint Dempsey, Javier Morales, Diego Valeri, & Federico Higuain in most minds.

Well, let’s start with Clint Dempsey. Dempsey is a fantastic finisher with great determination and grit. Dempsey is also very creative. His confidence leads him to do things other players wont even try. This causes many managers including Andre Villas-Boas, Sigi Schmid, and Jurgen Klinsmann to use him in this position. Dempsey is a good passer and has a good touch but both can be inconsistent. Out of his good attributes, his passing or final ball is probably his weakest. Unfortunately, an extremely consistent touch along with pinpoint passing ability is the most important concoction for a number 10. So, although Dempsey overall may be the best player in MLS, he’s not the best number 10.

As for Javier Morales and Diego Valeri, they are fantastic MLS players just as Dempsey. Morales for some time has been regarded as one of the best technical players in the league whether he’s crossing, chipping, passing, what have you. Morales, unfortunately, is now 34 however and as he ages he’s dropped a little deeper in the midfield. Morales, at one point, was, in my opinion, the best number 10 in the league but is more of a box to box midfielder now. Many players shift more centrally as they age, it’s understandable. Valeri, at 28, is still going strong as a number 10. There are two things that separate Valeri from the most number 10, number 10 in the league. These two things are agility and speed. Agility and speed aren’t as important as passing, vision, and creativity as a number 10 but when Valeri and Higuain are both so good with those three attributes, speed and agility take the edge.

There you have it. Federico Higuain is the best number 10 in MLS. He’s the most prototypical number 10, therefor he is exactly what you want out of your number 10. With seven goals and five assists this season, Higuain not being named to the MLS All-Star team is a travesty. Need I repeat this? Federico Higuain is the best number 10 in MLS.

Dom Dwyer

Even though he’s in the roster now, Dom Dwyer is probably the most obvious snub of this year’s All-Star team announcement.

He’s likely the first name you’ll think of when talking All-Star snubs. Why is this?

The answer is, goals.

He’s scored fourteen of them which is the second highest amount scored in MLS this season. He has contributed to 14 of Kansas City’s 31 goals scored this season. That’s 45%. He also has a 45% strike rate for shots on goal.

With all of this being said, I don’t have to explain in great depth why Dom Dwyer should be an All-Star. Dwyer is the man on the end of so many attacks started by Mr. Feilhaber. How ironic to see them both missing from this MLS All-Star team's first lineup. Now Dwyer is back in, which is great news, but the fact still stands that he was left off that initial roster calling. 

Austin FARROW

Nationality:
USA
College:
Indian River State
Club Domestic:
All MLS clubs
Club Foreign:
Manchester City
Bringing you news on soccer players across MLS and American players playing in top leagues around the world, Austin is a journalism major who enjoys the fine arts. He doesn't favor one club over another, but just enjoys all MLS play.
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