Six Sounders FC Players Selected to 2021 MLS All-Star Game
SEATTLE, WASH. - Major League Soccer today announced its roster for the 2021 MLS All-Star Game on August 25 in Los Angeles, with Sounders FC seeing a club-record six selections. Raúl Ruidíaz, João Paulo, Yeimar Gómez Andrade, Nouhou, Alex Roldan and Cristian Roldan were among the 28-man roster that will face the Liga MX All-Stars at Bank of California Stadium. This marks the first MLS All-Star appearance for each of the six Seattle players, who were all selected via the fan, player and media vote. Notably, the simultaneous All-Star Game selection of both Alex and Cristian Roldan marks the first time a pair of brothers have been named to an MLS All-Star Game in the same year.
The roster was determined through a combination of fan, player and media voting (13 players), designations by All-Star Head Coach Bob Bradley (13 players) and a pair of selections by MLS Commissioner Don Garber. The historic match against the best of Liga MX is set to take place on Wednesday, August 25 at 6:00 p.m. PT at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles (FS1, Univision, TSN, TVA Sports). Tickets are available via MLSsoccer.com/AllStar21.
On top of being a club record, Sounders FC's six selections are tied for the second-most in league history. D.C. United's 2006 squad holds the record with eight selections, while the San Jose Earthquakes and FC Dallas also had six in 2002 and 2005, respectively. The Rave Green's previous high was five selections in 2014, and the club has seen at least one player appearance in all but one of the MLS All-Star Games (2018) since Sounders FC joined the league in 2009.
Sounders FC (9-3-5, 32 points) hosts FC Dallas (4-7-5, 17 points) in a midweek matchup this evening at Lumen Field (7:00 p.m. PT / JOEtv, Prime Video, 950 KJR AM, El Rey 1360 AM).
SOUNDERS FC 2021 MLS ALL-STAR SELECTIONS
DEFENDER YEIMAR GÓMEZ ANDRADE
Yeimar has been selected to his first MLS All-Star Game since joining Sounders FC in February of 2020 from Unión de Santa Fe. Thriving in Seattle's new 3-5-2 system, Yeimar has been a standout centerback so far this season, having played in all 17 of Seattle's matches and leading the league with 51 interceptions, 16 more than any other player. Yeimar and the rest of the Seattle backline led the club to an MLS-record best start to the season with an 8-0-5 mark, in which the defense allowed an average of less than one goal per match during the run. Yeimar played an important role in Sounders FC's run to a MLS Cup appearance a year ago, as the Colombian's ability to win the ball and utilize his frame shone as the club claimed the Western Conference crown.
Veteran defender and 2019 MLS Cup champion Nouhou has been selected to his first MLS All-Star Game after working his way through the Sounders FC system since April of 2016. Since converting primarily to centerback in 2021, Nouhou has made his presence felt along Seattle's new three-man defensive backline. While recently hampered by an adductor injury, Nouhou aided Seattle to a MLS-record 8-0-5 unbeaten run to start the 2021 campaign. Nouhou played in every minute of Seattle's first eight matches, aiding the Western Conference leaders to five clean sheets to start the campaign. After representing Cameroon in 2017 for FIFA World Cup qualifiers, Nouhou recently returned to the lineup for Les Lions Indomptables.
DEFENDER ALEX ROLDAN
A four-year MLS veteran after a being selected in the first round of the 2018 MLS SuperDraft out of Seattle University, Roldan has seen a breakout season in 2021, following a position change to right wingback within Seattle's new formation. Roldan participated in all but three minutes of Seattle's first 13 matches, leading the club to a league-record 8-0-5 start to the 2021 campaign. Roldan has proven his efficiency not only along the backline but also on the attacking front, as the 25-year-old defender is tied for third in the club with a combined goals and assists total of four. Roldan recently made his international debut with El Salvador with four appearances and a goal in the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup, recording a strike in his debut. The simultaneous All-Star Game selection of both Alex and Cristian Roldan marks the first time a pair of brothers have been named to an MLS All-Star Game in the same year.
MIDFIELDER JOÃO PAULO
In January 2021, Sounders FC exercised its option to buy João Paulo, completing his transfer from Brazilian club Botafogo. João Paulo made 25 appearances across all competitions on loan from Botafogo in 2020, tallying four goals and six assists to help the Rave Green advance to the 2020 MLS Cup Final. In 2021, João Paulo is tied for fifth in MLS with five assists and has been a game-changing presence for his team in the center of the pitch, ranking third league-wide in touches (1,389) and tied for 11th in duels won (105).
MIDFIELDER CRISTIAN ROLDAN
Roldan began his MLS career after being selected in the first round of the 2015 MLS SuperDraft out of the University of Washington. In 2016, Roldan emerged as mainstay in Seattle's starting XI and in 2017 he won Sounders FC MVP honors for the first time after a breakout season as one of the top players at his position in Major League Soccer. Roldan has 25 career caps for the U.S. Men's National Team, most recently helping his nation earn the 2021 Concacaf Gold Cup title. The seven-year MLS veteran ranks fourth in club history in games played (185), starts (168), minutes (15,267) and is tied for fifth with 27 assists in regular-season play. He also ranks third in club history with 23 postseason games played, helping the club to four MLS Cup Final appearances and two titles. The simultaneous All-Star Game selection of both Alex and Cristian Roldan marks the first time a pair of brothers have been named to an MLS All-Star Game in the same year.
FORWARD RAÚL RUIDIAZ
Currently leading the race for the MLS Golden Boot with 11 goals, Ruidíaz earns his first All-Star selection in 2021. Signed by Seattle as a Designated Player in the 2018 summer transfer window, Ruidíaz has been the league's most prolific goal-scorer in his three-and-a-half seasons in MLS. His 53 MLS goals (including postseason) are the most in the league since making his debut in July of 2018, in addition to ranking third in club history in goals across all competitions behind Fredy Montero and Clint Dempsey. His nine postseason goals rank first in club history, helping lead the club to two MLS Cup Final appearances and the 2019 title. He burst onto the scene in 2018 with 10 goals in just 14 regular season appearances before coming to life in the postseason with three goals in two games. The Peruvian international helped guide his national team to the 2019 Copa America Final before finishing the 2019 MLS regular season with a team-leading 11 goals. Ruidíaz scored four goals and provided four assists in the postseason, including a goal in the MLS Cup Final, as Sounders FC claimed the 2019 MLS Cup title on home soil. He earned MLS Best XI honors at the end of the 2020 regular season with 11 goals in 14 regular season appearances.
2021 MLS ALL-STAR GAME ROSTER BY POSITION
GOALKEEPERS (2): Pedro Gallese (Orlando City SC)^, Matt Turner (New England Revolution)*
DEFENDERS (9): Julian Araujo (LA Galaxy)*, Yeimar Gómez Andrade (Sounders FC)^, Jesus Murillo (LAFC)*, Nouhou (Sounders FC)^, Miles Robinson (Atlanta United FC)*, Alex Roldan (Sounders FC)^, James Sands (NYCFC)*, Kai Wagner (Philadelphia Union)*, Walker Zimmerman (Nashville SC)^
MIDFIELDERS (7): Eduard Atuesta (LAFC)*, Carles Gil (New England Revolution)^, João Paulo (Sounders FC)^, Damir Kreilach (Real Salt Lake)*, Emanuel Reynoso (Minnesota United FC)*, Cristian Roldan (Sounders FC)^, Lucas Zelarayan (Columbus Crew SC)^
FORWARDS / WIGERS (10): Gustavo Bou (New England Revolution)*, Tajon Buchanan (New England Revolution)#, Cade Cowell (San Jose Earthquakes)#, Javier Hernández (LA Galaxy)^, Nani (Orlando City SC)^, Ricardo Pepi (FC Dallas)*, Diego Rossi (LAFC)*, Raúl Ruidíaz (Sounders FC)^, Daniel Sallói (Sporting Kansas City)*, Carlos Vela (LAFC)^
^Fan / player / media vote
*Bob Bradley selection
#Commissioner Don Garber selection
SOUNDERS FC ALL-STAR SELECTIONS BY SEASON
2009: Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Kasey Keller, Freddie Ljungberg, Fredy Montero
2010: Kasey Keller, Freddie Ljungberg, Fredy Montero
2011: Osvaldo Alonso, Kasey Keller
2012: Osvaldo Alonso, Eddie Johnson
2013: Osvaldo Alonso, DeAndre Yedlin
2014: Osvaldo Alonso, Clint Dempsey, Chad Marshall, Obafemi Martins, DeAndre Yedlin
2015: Clint Dempsey, Chad Marshall, Obafemi Martins
2016: Clint Dempsey
2017: Stefan Frei
2019: Nicolás Lodeiro
2020: N/A (match cancelled due to COVID-19)
2021: Yeimar Gómez Andrade, Nouhou, João Paulo, Alex Roldan, Cristian Roldan, Raúl Ruidíaz
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