It was revealed yesterday that two members of the Chicago Fire, Bastian Schweinsteiger and Nemanja Nikolic, were voted into the MLS All-Star Fan XI. 13 more MLS players will be named to the 24 man roster, which will be announced in mid-July. It is expected that the Fire will get at two more players on the roster, or at least they really should.
With the game being in Chicago this summer, they should have four in the squad from a marketing perspective. They also deserve a quartet from a meritocracy stand point as well.
The Chicago Fire are currently leading the race for the Supporters’ Shield, and they’re the only team in the league averaging more than two points per match. They’ve done a complete 180 from the team that finished dead last in the entire league the past two years.
Chicago Fire GM Nelson Rodriguez and Head Coach Veljko Paunovic, the former coach of the Serbian U-20 World Cup champions, have done a masterful job in turning around the club so quickly. It’s astounding how fast they went from worst to first, and right now they have momentum on their side, as they’re undefeated in their last 11.
Here’s the full MLS All-Star Fan XI:
Goalkeeper: Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids)
Defenders: Greg Garza (Atlanta United), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City), DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo)
Midfielders: Bastian Schweinsteiger (Chicago Fire),Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United), Kaká (Orlando City SC), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC)
Forwards: David Villa (New York City FC), Nemanja Nikolic (Chicago Fire), Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)
Nikolic is a no-brainer as he’s the dominant front-runner in the Golden Boot race, and possesses a great chance of breaking the MLS scoring record.
Schweinsteiger is a must take as well, given that he’s arguably the most well known and best accomplished individual in Major League Soccer. You knew he would be a selection as soon as he moved over from Manchester United in late March and a new zeitgeist then surrounded the team.
However, the most glaring omission from the Fan XI is Dax McCarty. Not just from a Chicago Fire standpoint, but from the league overall.
McCarty rivals David Villa from NYCFC as the most important player to his team in the entire league. McCarty, who came over from the Red Bulls in the offseason, wears the captain’s armband and provides the Fire the leadership that they needed to complete the rebuilding project.
On-the-pitch he runs the system like a quarterback in football or a point guard in basketball. You could call him the Peyton Manning or Chris Paul of the Chicago Fire.
He’s the biggest snub from the Fan XI, so he must be the very next player to get in. Then you have to look at David Accam, how has ten goals and seven assists on the season. Last year, he was the probably the team’s best player, but look at the higher level he’s playing at now with a much better supporting cast around him.
Should there be a fifth Chicago Fire player selected? That’s iffy; especially when you would already have #cf97 comprising 1/6 of the squad already. At that point you have 11 slots left and there’s no real hands down, must pick individual left at that point.
Paul M. Banks runs The Sports Bank.net and TheBank.News, partnered with FOX Sports Engage Network and News Now. Banks, a former writer for the Washington Times, NBC Chicago.com and Chicago Tribune.com, currently contributes to WGN CLTV and KOZN.