Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes and the MLS announced the game-day roster for the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game, which will be played July 31 at Sporting Park.
Vermes, who will coach the league’s squad against AS Roma for the match, announced nine additions to the MLS All-Star roster Monday afternoon during a conference call.
With the talent now assembled, Vermes hopes the hardest part of his job as coach of the MLS All-Star squad is finished.
“I’d love to be able to just sit down for the whole 90 minutes and not have to say one word,” Vermes, who is known for a fiery sideline temperament, said with a laugh.
Of course, that’s not to say the all-star affair will lack for intensity. Vermes’ selections were made with one primary goal in mind.
No additional Sporting KC players were selected, but the trio voted in by the fans — defenders Matt Besler and Aurelien Collin and midfielder Graham Zusi — were included on the game-day roster.
“Being the All-Star coach is a privilege and a responsibility,” Vermes said. “First and foremost, we want to try to win the game. My job is put together the best team that we can put on the field so that we can win, be competitive and make sure that we get the result.”
In fact, Vermes kept all 11 players who were part of the Fan XI, including Montreal forward Marco Di Vaio, who made the cut after winning the FIFA 13 In the Game Challenge.
“The Fan XI provided me with a starting point for this squad for this game,” Vermes said. “I wanted as much as possible to honor the fans’ wishes to see certain players in this high-profile game.”
Vermes added three players from Real Salt Lake — goalkeeper Nick Rimando, midfielder Kyle Beckerman and outside back Tony Beltran.
“When I played in the All-Star Game in 2000, it was East against West,” Vermes said. “It’s more of just entertainment. It was two groups of five going at each other in each half of the field and very little defending, to be honest with you. Whereas, this format is an incredibly compelling format, where we’re taking the best from MLS and putting them up against a Serie A team.”
Vermes’ other picks included LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane, Houston defender Corey Ashe, Montreal Impact midfielder Patrice Bernier and Vancouver forward Camilo Sanvezzo.
Keane’s teammate, revitalized U.S. men’s national team star Landon Donovan, wasn’t included, ending a run of 12 consecutive All-Star Game appearances.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber also made his two traditional picks, selecting New York Red Bulls Designated Player Tim Cahill, a midfielder, and Seattle Sounders defender DeAndre Yedlin, the first rookie to make the MLS All-Star squad since Michael Parkhurst with New England in 2005.
“There are a lot of players in the league that are well-deserving of this opportunity as well, but there’s only 20 roster spots,” Vermes said. “I tried to round out the roster as best I could regarding the positions that were needed.”
Vermes’ midfield selections in particular were an attempt to provide balance. The fan produced an offensive-minded quarter that includes Zusi, Houston’s Brad Davis, Chicago’s Mike Magee and Portland’s Will Johnson.
After all, the goal is to win.