Kansas City sports fans sure know how to stuff a ballot box.
Metaphorically speaking, of course.
After four Royals were voted to start the Major League Baseball All-Star Game, three Sporting Kansas City players were named part of the Major League Soccer All-Star Game Fan XI, the league announced Monday.
Matt Besler and Graham Zusi were named to the team for the fourth time, and midfielder Benny Feilhaber was selected for the first time in his career.
“I think it’s just a really good sports town,” Besler said. “People are dedicated, and people really like to support their teams. I think it speaks to the city’s willingness to get out there and vote.”
The MLS All-Stars will face English-club Tottenham Hotspur in Commerce City, Colorado, on July 29.
As part of the Fan XI, Besler, Zusi and Feilhaber are near-locks for the gameday roster, which will be announced Saturday, as chosen by Colorado coach Pablo Mastroeni. His selections will be of players other than those selected by the fans, and the fan vote does not represent the starting lineup.
Feilhaber, 30, has been the primary facilitator of a Sporting KC offense that leads the Western Conference with 1.52 goals per match. Through only 17 games, he has already recorded career highs in goals (five) and assists (nine).
“I think it’s probably my best year as a professional, so that would make sense that it’s my first,” he said. “I’ll cherish it, but obviously there are (still) a lot of things to do here with Sporting.”
Zusi is second on Sporting with four assists, despite being limited to 12 matches due to early-season injuries.
Besler has been the steady presence on a back line that has dealt with its fair share of key absences. Sporting KC has allowed the fewest goals (17) in the league this season.