TUKWILA, Wash. – Pointing out MLS All-Star Game snubs can be an admittedly tired exercise.
Every year, every team can likely point to at least a couple of key contributors that they feel should have been name All-Stars and weren’t. With only 26 roster spots to go around, snubs are simply inevitable.
That said, the release of the 2016 MLS All-Star Game roster on Sunday included at least two notable omissions for the Seattle Sounders in defender Chad Marshall and midfielder Osvaldo Alonso.
Few MLS players have demonstrated the type of longevity that Marshall and Alonso have in their careers, and neither has seen their form dip in 2016. On the contrary, the omissions come in a season when both have been as good as ever.
Speaking with reporters after a training session earlier this week at Starfire Sports, Sounders forward Herculez Gomez took the opportunity to make a case for Marshall.
“It’s tough to see a player like Chad Marshall left off the All-Star list,” Gomez said. “I get to see how day-in-day out how good he is. Chad’s been a monster for us all year. It’s sad that we couldn’t have done a little more to help him be there.”
Now in his third season in Seattle after a decade-long stint with Columbus Crew SC, Marshall has maintained his status as one of the league’s most imposing defenders. His 6-foot-4 frame and aerial prowess also make him a matchup nightmare on set pieces. Marshall has scored three goals for the Sounders this season and has 20 for his career.
“His timing’s always been good in the air,” Sounders head coach Sigi Schmid said on Tuesday. “He’s a big guy, he’s fearless and when he’s on the move like that then he’s really tough to mark. He’s scored a lot of big goals with his head. Whenever he’s moving, he’s dangerous.”
Alonso, meanwhile, is also in the midst of a 2016 campaign in which he has been arguably Seattle’s most consistent player. He has started every MLS game for the Sounders this season, tallying a goal and already managing a career-high four assists in 19 games, while also continuing to be one of the league’s most proficient defensive midfielders.
“It’s what he has in his head [that separates him],” Sounders midfielder Cristian Roldan said of Alonso on Tuesday. “It’s his brain. He’s a very high IQ soccer player. His defensive work rate is amazing and his ability to pass the ball and distribute is by far one of the best on our team.”
Schmid pointed out on Tuesday that the pair’s omission could be, in part, attributed to Seattle’s team struggles in 2016.
“Sometimes, it’s a little bit of a reflection of record,” Schmid said. “So that’s just something we have to accept a little bit.”
Regardless of the reasoning, Marshall and Alonso’s standout campaigns won’t be recognized with an All-Star game appearance – at least this season. The Sounders won’t be entirely unrepresented, however, as forward Clint Dempsey was selected to the squad.
The MLS All-Stars take on Arsenal at Avaya Stadium in San Jose on July 28.