On Sunday, we learned who the fans believe are Major League Soccer's All-Stars. Of course, this being MLS actually allowing those outside the confines of the League's payroll a meaningful say is a step too far. Fans are allowed to select what amounts to a ceremonial starting lineup, with the League quick to make clear might have very little to do with the squad that takes the field against Chelsea.
MLS's press statement makes the distinction clear: "The First XI are not necessarily included on the game day roster. MLS All-Star coach Ben Olsen will select the roster based on player availability and tactical considerations, but all First XI players are All-Stars."
So the fans voted honorifics for players at the midseason break, with the potential for overlap with whoever ends up in the squad. Got it. As you might expect, this isn't how the market leader in all-star games conducts their fan vote. Barring injuries, fans select both starting lineup in Major League Baseball's All-Star Game along with a fan vote for the final player on each squad. That's a clever bit of maneuvering that allows baseball fans to right what might otherwise be a wrong with the last player selected.
Pretty cool, right? So why is it that MLS feels the need to hedge? Baseball is much more likely to experience fans of teams attempting to stack the vote for their guys simply because it's a more popular league than MLS. For whatever reason, MLS felt the need to protect itself from a one-team starting XI with a media vote down selection that only allows six choices per team. It's as if they don't trust the fans to do a good job with a ceremonial vote, much less actually picking players that will start against Chelsea.
Making this more overt than necessary, MLS scheduled it's All-Star First XI announcement for a Sunday during a nationally available game with the MLB All-Star Game schedule two days later. If we're not supposed to make cross-comparisons, why try to insert pro soccer into baseball's week? After all, the MLS All-Star Game is scheduled for July 25th with another roster announcement set for an ESPN game next Sunday.
Corner Rating: (where a 1 is MLS continuing to limit the ability of fans to pick an exhibition lineup and 11 MLS following the MLB model and giving fans a meaningful say) 4.
Last Week's Corner: We didn't get any standout quotes from MLS coaches in Week 18, so this stays at 6.