The New York Red Bulls will have one representative at the 2016 MLS All-Star game. Sacha Kljestan has been named to the 26-man roster set to play Arsenal in San Jose on July 28.
Kljestan is still leading the league in assists, despite not having contributed to a goal since May (at the time of the announcement; RBNY has a game against Philadelphia Union to play, and Kljestan's return to the score sheet would be welcome). He was fourth on the league's assist-making list for the 2015 regular season.
The All-Star selection is certainly an accolade and testament to Kljestan's superior play since returning to MLS after a long stint in Belgium with Anderlecht. But RBNY's primary set-piece taker has been one of the team's busier players so far this season. Red Bulls head coach Jesse Marsch likely won't be overjoyed to hear his most productive play-maker has to squeeze in a flight to California between the first team's matches against NYCFC (at home on July 24) and Chicago Fire (on the road on July 31).
Kljestan will at least be able to keep teammate Tyler Adams (selected to play in for the league's Homegrown Team on July 27) company on the plane.
The full 26-man MLS 2016 All-Star roster:
Goalkeepers: David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Andre Blake (Philadelphia Union)*
Defenders: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City)*, Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire), Liam Ridgewell (Portland Timbers), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Lauren Ciman (Montreal Impact)*, Kendall Waston (Vancouver Whitecaps), Keegan Rosenberry (Philadelphia Union)*, Andrew Farrell (New England Revolution)
Midfielders: Jermaine Jones (Colorado Rapids), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers)*, Mauro Diaz (FC Dallas), Andrea Pirlo (NYCFC)*, Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC), Kaka (Orlando City SC)*, Sacha Kljestan (RBNY), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact)
Forwards: Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC)*, David Villa (NYCFC)*, Giovani Dos Santos (LA Galaxy)*, Didier Drogba (Montreal Impact)*, Cyle Larin (Orlando City), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
* = Fan XI selection.
The team will be coached by San Jose's Dom Kinnear, who was also nominally responsible for selecting the roster. He picked all 11 players who won the fan vote for All-Stars, plus a few less-expected names. Rookie defender Brandon Vincent has had the misfortune to spend his first season playing for a not-good Chicago Fire team, and might be considered Kinnear's most surprising pick.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber picked two of the players on the roster: Mauro Diaz and Kyle Beckerman.