- The Washington Times - Wednesday, July 17, 2002


Which U.S. World Cup team is it? The one that finished eighth last month in Korea, or the one that finished dead last in France in 1998?

It's hard to tell judging by the 18-player roster for the U.S. national team released yesterday for the Aug. 3 Major League Soccer All-Star Game at RFK Stadium.

The game is being hyped as a sort of victory tour for the 2002 World Cup team and MLS, but the uninspiring U.S. All-Star roster shows otherwise. None of the 11 European-based players from the 23-man World Cup roster will play in next month's exhibition.

There are as many players (10) on coach Bruce Arena's All-Star roster from the team that reached the quarterfinals of last month's World Cup as there are from the team that finished 32nd and scored one goal in France during its 1998 fiasco.

"We made an attempt [for the European-based players], but they are in a very important preparation period with their club teams," Arena said. "It would be virtually impossible to bring any of those players back."

The MLS All-Star roster will be announced today in New York. The U.S. All-Star roster includes players from past and present U.S. World Cup teams who play in MLS.

Among those from the 2002 World Cup team are San Jose Earthquakes forward Landon Donovan and Columbus Crew striker Brian McBride, both of whom scored game-winning goals for the United States in Korea. McBride holds the distinction of being the only player in U.S. history to score a goal in two World Cups, getting the Americans' only goal in France during a humiliating 2-1 loss to Iran.

The U.S. All-Star roster has plenty of older players: Defenders Mike Burns (31) and Alexi Lalas (32); midfielders Chad Deering (31), John Harkes (35), Chris Henderson (31) and Preki Radosavljevic (39); and goalkeeper Juergen Sommer (33).

This is the first time MLS has used this format U.S. All-Stars vs. MLS All-Stars in the seven-year history of the event.

The six previous All-Star Games have bordered on the ridiculous. Highlights included Donovan imitating Brandi Chastain by ripping off his jersey to reveal a sports bra after scoring a goal and goalkeeper Tony Meola playing striker and pulling down defenders' shorts.

"We believe that we have an opportunity to perhaps profile how great our players are and how competitive our league is against different types of competition," MLS commissioner Don Garber said.

• Ken Wright

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