Sounders FC goalkeeper Kasey Keller and midfielder Freddie Ljungberg were named today among the First XI of MLS All-Stars that will face Everton in the all-star game July 29 at Sandy, Utah.
Keller wasn't available at training today, but Ljungberg said: "We don't have all-star games and stuff back in Europe, but it's a nice thing. It's an honor. It will be fun. ... Of course it's nice for (Keller) to get in it as well -- two teammates -- so it's great."
They are among seven first-timers to make the team. The First XI also represent seven nations. And Seattle, Houston and Columbus are the only teams to place two players on the First XI.
"Well deserved," said assistant coach Brian Schmetzer, who led training again today while coach Sigi Schmid toured the White House with last season's MLS champion Columbus Crew. "Kasey was almost a shoo-in because I know Zach Thornton has had a tremendous year and you can't take anything away from him, (Pat) Onstad had a couple good saves Saturday, but Kasey has been such a tremendous influence on an expansion team and just helping this team get to where we're at, it's a no-brainer to me. And then Ljungberg – anybody that knows anything about soccer understands what a dynamic player he can be and we're just hoping he gets acclimated to being kicked all the time and can stay healthy and he'll have a good second half of the season as well."
Online fan balloting comprising 25 percent of the combined First XI vote, with MLS coaches and GMs (25 percent), media (25 percent), and players (25 percent) accounting for the remainder. Players and coaches/general managers could not register votes for players on their own teams.
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The rest of the team will be named next Monday.
Here's the full list and the news release from the MLS Website.
Here's an informed and interesting reaction from the Soccer by Ives blog, including some thoughts on some Sounders.