Hans Backe will have some familiar faces at his disposal as he prepares for the national spotlight.
The Red Bulls coach picked Thierry Henry, Juan Agudelo, and Tim Ream to play among the 22 players who will represent the best of MLS against English Premier League powerhouse Manchester United in the 2011 AT&T MLS All-Star Game at Red Bull Arena next week. Backe, who was named MLS All-Stars head coach in June, finalized his selections for the star-studded squad on Monday.
Unlike other American sports leagues that tap their own All-Stars in recognition of their in-season contributions, Backe's selections reflect an emphasis on fielding a competitive squad against a ManU side that claimed a decisive 5-2 win over the MLS All-Stars in the 2010 edition at Reliant Stadium in Houston.
Henry and Ream, along with Red Bulls defender Rafael Marquez, were originally selected by the fans in the All-Star First XI vote earlier this month which guaranteed their place among the All-Star squad but not necessarily a starting role or even playing time. Backe already confirmed last week that Marquez will miss the festivities as he recovers from a groin injury.
MLS Commissioner Don Garber previously designated Agudelo as one of the game's two Commissioner Picks last Saturday. However, Backe has final say on who will be on the pitch to kick off against ManU.
Among Backe's other notable picks include Los Angeles Galaxy midfielders David Beckham, who will face his former EPL side, and Landon Donovan, Chivas USA midfielder and New Jersey native Nick LaBrocca, and San Jose Earthquakes forward and 2010 Golden Boot winner Chris Wondolowski.
The 2011 AT&T MLS All-Star Game will take place at Red Bull Arena on Wednesday, July 27. First kick is scheduled for 8:30 p.m.
The final roster is below:
Goalkeeper: Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Faryd Mondragón (Philadelphia Union)
Defenders: Corey Ashe (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Geoff Cameron (Houston Dynamo), Bobby Convey (San Jose Earthquakes), Sean Franklin (LA Galaxy), Jámison Olave (Real Salt Lake), Heath Pearce (Chivas USA), Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls).
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), David Beckham (LA Galaxy), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Jack Jewsbury (Portland Timbers), Shalrie Joseph (New England Revolution), Nick LaBrocca (Chivas USA)
Forwards: Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Omar Bravo (Sporting Kansas City), Omar Cummings (Colorado Rapids), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Inactive All-Stars*: Kasey Keller (Seattle Sounders FC), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Rafa Márquez (New York Red Bulls), Brek Shea (FC Dallas)
*Inactive All-Stars will be replaced via player voting at a later date.