MLS All-Star Notebook: The Game Before the Game

Photograph by Matt Kremkau

By JACK BELL

MLS logoCHICAGO — Major League Soccer has a slew of favored talking points these days — expansion, expansion and more expansion; the league’s player contribution to the United States national team; and the development and maturation of academy players into what the league calls Homegrowns (with a capital H).

While that term might have a different connotation to certain people and in certain places (we’re looking at you Colorado and Humboldt County, Calif.), MLS deserves credit for at least trying to present its young investments with a path to its senior teams.

To that end, one night before the league’s all-stars take on Real Madrid, minus Cristiano Ronaldo (see next item), the coaches Brian McBride and Mike Magee (a Chicago native) added three players. The MLS Homegrown team will take on the U-20 team of Mexico’s Chivas Guadalajara — the defending U-20 champion of Liga MX.

Added to the MLS roster on Monday were Sporting Kansas City defender Erik Palmer-Brown, Atlanta United midfielder Chris Goslin and Real Salt Lake midfielder Jose Hernandez. They replace Vancouver midfielder Alphonso Davies, Montreal midfielder Ballou Tabla and Portland defender Marco Farfan, all of whom are injured.

Palmer-Brown was the captain of the U.S. U-20 team at the 2017 FIFA U-20 World Cup, and won the Golden Ball at the 2017 CONCACAF U-20 Championship as the tournament’s top player. Goslin, 17, has represented the U.S. at the U-17 level. Hernandez has started seven matches in his first season with Real Salt Lake.

The Red Bulls have sent three players to the game: Derrick Etienne, Evan Louro and Tyler Adams.

Finally, U.S. fans might get their first extended look at Jesse Gonzalez, who recently completed a one-time change of association from Mexico to the U.S. and was part of the U.S. team that won the CONCACAF Gold Cup last week (though he did not play).

The 2017 MLS Homegrown Game will be played at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill., on Tuesday night, Aug. 1 (8 p.m. Eastern; live Univision Deportes Network, streamed live on UDN’s Facebook page).

Real News: Ronaldo in Spain, Not the Windy City

Real Madrid’s marquee player, Cristiano Ronaldo, was in Madrid on Monday to answer charges of tax fraud in a Spanish court. He did not accompany the team to the United States for its games in the International Champions Cup and will not be in uniform for Wednesday night’s MLS All-Star Game.

It is a huge disappointment for MLS, not to mention the fans the league expects to fill Soldier Field on Wednesday night, Aug. 2 (8:30 p.m. Eastern; Fox Sports 1, Univision, TSN, TVA Sports).

Spanish authorities have charged Ronaldo and his advisers and agents at Gestifute with a fraud of more than $17 million for funneling his image rights through a series of shame companies in a bid to avoid paying taxes.

According to ESPNFC, at closed hearing in Madrid Ronaldo, who has denied all charges, spent 90 minutes in front of Judge Monica Gomez Ferrer.

In a statement released by Real Madrid, Ronaldo said: “The Spanish tax service [Hacienda] knows the detail of all my income because we have given it to them. I have never hidden anything, nor did have I ever had the intention of evading taxes.

“I always do my tax declaration in a voluntary manner, as I think that we must all declare and pay taxes according to our income. Those who know me know that this is what I ask from my advisors — that they keep everything up to date, and correctly paid, as I do not want any problems.”

Are MLS Owners United for Beckham?

League officials, meeting on Wednesday, are expected to make some sort of determination — finally? — if David Beckham’s marathon efforts to put an expansion team in Miami will be approved.

The long-running saga, in which Beckham has the right to purchase the rights to run a team for a mere $25 million — when two new teams are expected to cost $150 million or more — could come to a head. The league will add a 23rd team next year, Los Angeles FC, and plans to award two more expansion slots before the end of the year for entry in 2019 or 2020.

Schweinsteiger to Captain MLS Team

Bastian Schweinsteiger, who played for two teams that previously played against MLS all-stars (Bayern Munich and Manchester United) but not against them, was voted by fans on Snapchat as the MLS captain.

The other candidates were New York City FC’s David Villa and Colorado’s Tim Howard.


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