Fans may have voted Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando onto the 2014 MLS All-Star team based on what they did as US soccer team members leading up to and at the World Cup. But the lack of other Real Salt Lake players on this All-Star team didn't faze Portland head coach Caleb Porter, who left every other RSL member off his 2014 MLS All-Star Game roster.
Porter, a coach RSL fans probably loathe more than any other man in charge (save for Galaxy smart-aleck Bruce Arena and Sporting KC's Peter Vermes), played the bad guy role to a T again on Saturday, July 19. Porter had 10 picks yet left off all but one member of his own team--former RSL and current Timbers midfielder Will Johnson was the lone exception.
What does this say about the MLS All-Star team that Porter will take to battle German giants Bayern Munich? It says the roster will have a distinctly international flavor to it--one that might be somewhat suspect in the back, similar to his own team.
Instead of adding RSL defender Chris Schuler, for example, Porter tacked on Michael Parkhurst of Columbus and the sinister Aurelien Collin of Sporting KC--another player RSL fans don't care for much.
You'd also think RSL winger Tony Beltran would get a sniff as a backup to Seattle Sounders and US international DeAndre Yedlin, but no. Seattle Sounders defender Chad Marshall got the call, marking the fifth Sounders player selected to the All-Star roster. Look, everyone's happy that the Cascadia Cup rivalry gets represented in Portland--well, kind of--but five?
In midfield, RSL's own Javier Morales has had a nice season as well, leading the team in assists (five). Sports Illustrated even named him one of "20 most worthy players" for the All-Star Game prior to Saturday's announcement.
But even Morales was left off the roster in favor of Johnson and New York Red Bulls and Australia international Tim Cahill, who has scored one measly goal and offered up one assist in MLS play. Cahill probably got a spot because he scored twice for the Aussies in Brazil.
What smarts even more about this Morales dis by Porter is that in the last World Cup year, or 2010, Morales was selected. So the Argentine's streak of being included in All-Star games during World Cup years is now over--thanks in part to Cahill's inclusion.
Morales' only hope now--as it was in 2013--is to be named as one of nine "inactive" All-Star roster players later. As it stands now, this marks the second year in a row that Morales has been overlooked for no good reason at all.
Commissioner Don Garber could have picked Morales with one of his two picks as well and saved face--but he went with Portland midfielder Diego Valeri. The selection of Valeri makes more sense than Cahill's though, because Valeri has had eight assists and scored four goals for Portland.
At forward, you can't argue with some of the names on the roster, like Robbie Keane of the LA Galaxy and Toronto FC striker Jermain Defoe. Golden Boot leader Bradley Wright-Phillips of the Red Bulls is on fire--and he too was selected by Porter.
For all the nice selections Porter made up top, he didn't select goal-poacher Erick "Cubo" Torres of Chivas USA--nor did he snag RSL's own Joao Plata, the diminutive forward from Ecuador enjoying his best run of form as a pro with seven goals this season.
Garber did select Torres, thankfully, with the second of his commissioner's picks. But Morales will stay home in Salt Lake while his teammates Beckerman and Rimando head off to Portland to represent the league's best.
If forgetting about Morales doesn't seem fair to RSL fans, that's because it isn't--and it proves what RSL fans already know. The claret and cobalt are still considered an afterthought--despite the fact that it made MLS Cup last year.