Sporting Kansas City's Matt Besler, Aurelien Collin and Graham Zusi are among the 20 MLS All-Stars on the gameday roster, announced on Monday by Sporting KC Manager and MLS All-Star head coach Peter Vermes, for the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game at Sporting Park on July 31. All three players were voted to the MLS All-Star Fan XI earlier this month and will be available for selection to take on Italy's AS Roma in the summer showcase.
Sporting Kansas City's three selections to the MLS All-Star gameday roster are tied for the most among any team.
Besler, 26, was an MLS All-Star in 2011 and was named the MLS Defender of the Year and MLSSoccer.com Breakout Player of the Year in 2012. The Overland Park, Kan. native has emerged as the starting center back for the U.S. Men's National Team in 2013 with seven appearances, including four starts in FIFA World Cup Qualifying, after making his international debut in January. Besler signed a new contract with Sporting KC in December and has started 15 MLS matches in 2013, his fifth professional season with his hometown club.
"I'm very excited," Besler said. "The All-Star Games are fun for everybody, especially for us. We are looking forward to showcasing what our league has to offer and we're looking forward to facing AS Roma."
Collin, 27, earns All-Star honors for a second straight season. A Defender of the Year finalist in 2012, Collin has started 18 matches for Sporting KC in 2013, including all eight of the club's shutouts. The Frenchman has contributed three goals, second most among MLS defenders this season, and added one assist. Collin leads MLS with 129 headed clearances and is second with 180 clearances on the year.
Anchored by MLS All-Stars Besler and Collin, Sporting Kansas City has conceded the fewest shots (179) and shots on goal (56) of any MLS team.
"I'm happy. It's a good picture of the Sporting Kansas City team. We have been successful for the last few years, so I'm very happy for the team and for the opportunity to represent the city and the team during the All-Star Game," Collin said. "I hope everybody is going to come to our fashion show on Tuesday night and to watch us win against AS Roma.
Zusi, 26, also becomes an All-Star in back-to-back seasons. An MLS MVP finalist in 2012, Zusi has four goals and five assists in 18 games played in 2013. The fifth-year pro, drafted by KC in the 2009 MLS SuperDraft, recently signed a new contract with the club and is a nominee for Best MLS Player at the 2013 ESPYS . He has 14 international appearances for the U.S. Men's National Team, including eight caps in FIFA World Cup Qualifying, with one goal and three assists. Zusi leads all MLS players with 49 successful crosses/corners and 37 chances created from set play.
"I'm very excited to represent Sporting Kansas City," Zusi said. "It's a cool experience and it should be an incredible night against AS Roma."
Sporting Park will host the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game at 8 p.m. CT on July 31, featuring international opponent AS Roma from Italy's Serie A and nationally televised live on ESPN2 and UniMas in the United States. A total of 32 All-Stars (four goalkeepers, eight defenders, 13 midfielders and seven forwards) will be named per the collective bargaining agreement, with MLS player voting determining those named to the inactive roster announced on July 31.
Visit SportingKC.com/asg for all the latest on the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game.
MLS All-Star Gameday Roster
Goalkeeper: Raúl Fernández (FC Dallas), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders: Corey Ashe (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Tony Beltran(Real Salt Lake), Aurélien Collin (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Patrice Bernier (Montreal Impact), Tim Cahill(New York Red Bulls), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Will Johnson (Portland Timbers), Mike Magee (Chicago Fire), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards: Marco Di Vaio (Montreal Impact), Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Camilo Sanvezzo (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)