By virtue of being one of the league’s best teams, boasting the league’s best defense this season, and beating opponents sometimes by football-sized final scores, the Union can boast three All-Stars in Wednesday night’s MLS All-Star Game.
Well, credit that, plus an injury to Alexander Callens of the reigning MLS champion and newfound Union rival New York City FC. Now defender Jakob Glesnes has been added to the 26-man All-Star roster that also features fellow Union defender Kai Wagner, in his second consecutive appearance alongside goalkeeper Andre Blake.
MLS’ All-Stars will face the best players in Mexico’s Liga MX for the second straight season, as the league seemingly looks to shift from its league’s best getting beaten by European clubs in preseason mode.
MLS All Star Game
where: Allianz Field, St. Paul, Minn.
When: 8:30 pm
TV: ESPN, Univision, TSN
streaming: ESPN app and TVA Sports
» READ MORE: Union’s Jakob Glesnes added to MLS All-Star Game roster
Andrew Blake. Statistically the best goalkeeper in the league and the most likely to start the match for MLS All-Star head coach Adrian Heath.
ESPN’s broadcast. If anyone remembers the less-than-optimal coverage of MLS’ Eastern Conference final between the Union and NYCFC last season, courtesy of the Worldwide Leader, then all eyes will be on the presentation of this one. It was a match described as players “looking like Tetris pieces” by one MLS pundit. However, when it comes to soccer, the announcers probably do not get much better than Jon Champion and color analyst Taylor Twellman, the latter of whom has never been afraid to voice his opinion of him — for better or worse — during a live telecast.
Bragging rights. On the world soccer stage, Mexico doesn’t like us and we don’t like them. While both sides will host different international players, when it comes to soccer circles, this is chest puffing for these bordering nations. Even the fans who claim they don’t care about the outcome will use the match as a measuring stick between the leagues and their respective soccer cultures.
» READ MORE: Union crush Houston Dynamo, 6-0, led by Mikael Uhre and Dániel Gazdag
Chicharito Hernandez, forward: The Mexican international who plays for MLS’ Los Angeles Galaxy is playing in his second All-Star Game in just three seasons. Chicharito can score in bunches and can be the holdup man for others to score — one of the many reasons why he’ll be rocking the captain’s armband.
Aaron Long, defending: Long no longer is a long shot to feature for US men’s national team this November in Qatar. Should he earn considerable minutes in this match, it’ll be the latest opportunity to see what the centerback can do against world-class competition, since you know USMNT coach Gregg Berhalter will be tuning in.
Raul Ruidíaz, forward: In short, Ruidíaz is a baller. He’s the leading goal scorer for the Seattle Sounders, and since entering the league in 2018, he’s got the third-highest goal total in MLS with 55. If you remember that there was no MLS season in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic, you’ll realize how impressive that is.
Blake hasn’t missed an MLS All-Star Game since Barack Obama was the president of the United States. Blake has represented the Union in 2016, 2019, 2021, and this year’s match.
Sebastien Le Toux was the Union’s first MLS All-Star in 2010. Le Toux was listed as a midfielder despite being a forward with nine goals to his credit by July when the All-Stars squared off against Manchester United.
Union midfielder Michael Farfan was a second-half substitution coming on for David Beckham in 2012 when the game was held at PPL Park (now Subaru Park) in Chester.
“There are probably a lot of guys who deserved it also, so I’m just really, really happy, and it shows that all the hard work pays off.” — Kai Wagner, on his second consecutive MLS All-Star nod.
» READ MORE: It’s surprising that Kai Wagner is still with the Union, but it also isn’t
“Wow. Feels good, but I couldn’t have done it without the guys, now it’s time to go there and make them proud.” — Andre Blake, who is the only player in Union history to have made an All-Star roster more than twice and also was an ESPY Award nominee last season.
George is Digismak’s reported cum editor with 13 years of experience in Journalism