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2019 MLS All-Star Game: Carlos Vela, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney lead Fan XI selections

Carlos Vela, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney were among the big names revealed for the first time Friday

The fans of Major League Soccer have spoken.

We now know 11 of the players who will take the pitch for MLS on July 31 in Orlando against Atlético Madrid during the 2019 MLS All-Star Game.

After teasing a few of the selections earlier this week, the league announced the full Fan XI Friday. It is comprised of players in the league who received the most votes from supporters around MLS. Among those players are four from the reigning MLS champs Atlanta United FC, star forwards Wayne Rooney, Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Carlos Vela, and – representing the host city – Orlando City SC’s Nani.

Here is the full Fan XI:

Goalkeeper: Brad Guzan (Atlanta United)

Defenders: Leandro González Pírez (Atlanta United), Walker Zimmerman (Los Angeles Football Club), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)

Midfielders: Ezequiel Barco (Atlanta United), Jonathan dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Gonzalo “Pity” Martínez (Atlanta United), Nani (Orlando City SC)

Forwards: Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy), Wayne Rooney (D.C. United), Carlos Vela (Los Angeles Football Club)

The league and its clubs had announced the selection of the four Atlanta players, Zusi and Nani earlier this week.

This will be the second MLS All-Star appearance for Vela, who has powered LAFC’s attack this season with a league-leading 16 goals and 10 assists. The 30-year-old designated player from Mexico is joined in the Fan XI by LAFC teammate Walker Zimmerman, who has scored once in 15 starts this season. It’s the first All-Star nod for the 26-year-old defender. Behind Zimmerman’s defense and Vela’s play-making abilities, LAFC is in the driver’s seat for the Supporter’s Shield this season with 37 points and a 11-1-4 record.

Just behind LAFC in the Western Conference standings is their crosstown rivals, the LA Galaxy. Much of the club’s offense and highlights have been generated by Ibrahimovic, who has 11 goals and three assists so far this season. The 37-year-old Swedish superstar was voted to the All-Star team last season, but chose not to play. Ibrahimovic was voted in this year through the “EA Sports FIFA 19 More Than a Vote Challenge.” The EA award recognizes the player selected the most by fans setting their starting lineups in the FIFA video game.

Dos Santos has two goals and an assist this season and is also getting his second All-Star nod.

It’s the first All-Star selection for Rooney, who joined D.C. United midway through the 2018 season. So far this year, the English superstar forward has tallied eight goals and five assists in 16 MLS contests. His play has helped D.C. United get off to a 7-4-6 start, good enough for third in the Eastern Conference.

When Nani and Rooney take the field in Orlando, they’ll join a rare group of players who have been on both sides of the MLS All-Star Game. As teammates with Manchester United, they took on the boys from MLS in 2010 and 2011.

After signing a three-year deal with Orlando City in February, Nani has notched eight goals and four assists in 13 games this season.

Guzan and Barco are both making their second All-Star appearances. Guzan started in the game last year in Atlanta, while Barco – who is coming off a run with Argentina in the U-20 World Cup – entered as a second half sub. It’s the first nod for Gonzalez-Pirez, who along with Guzan has anchored Atlanta’s defense this season which has allowed a league-low 11 goals in 15 games. Martinez joined the Five Stripes this past winter via transfer from Argentine side River Plate, where he was named South American Player of the Year. He has a goal and two assists in 14 MLS games this season.

This marks the seventh All-Star nod for Zusi, who has tallied a pair of assists in 11 games with Sporting Kansas City this season. The 32-year-old MLS veteran was born in Orlando and grew up in nearby Longwood.

Zimmerman and Dos Santos are the only two Fan XI selections who are also competing in the Concacaf Gold Cup this summer; Zimmerman with the U.S. and Dos Santos with Mexico.

The full MLS All-Star roster is expected to be released next week.




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