Thursday, January 29, 2015

Union's Zach Pfeffer added to MLS Homegrown Game roster

Updated on Tuesday, July 22: The news is now official. Union midfielder Zach Pfeffer is one of three additions to the MLS Homegrown Game roster, along with FC Dallas midfielder Danny Garcia and Real Salt Lake defender Carlos Salcedo.

Union's Zach Pfeffer added to MLS Homegrown Game roster

Zach Pfeffer. (Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Union)
Zach Pfeffer. (Photo courtesy of the Philadelphia Union)

Updated on Tuesday, July 22: The news is now official. Union midfielder Zach Pfeffer is one of three additions to the MLS Homegrown Game roster, along with FC Dallas midfielder Danny Garcia and Real Salt Lake defender Carlos Salcedo.

Three players were withdrawn: Seattle's DeAndre Yedlin made the All-Star Game match roster, as expected, and Montréal's Wandrille Lefèvre and Karl Ouimette will be at the team's CONCACAF Champions League game on August 5. I have updated the roster below with all of the additions and subtractions.


Union midfielder Zach Pfeffer is headed to the MLS Homegrown Game after all.

Major League Soccer hasn't officially announced it yet, but I've been told by a source with direct knowledge that the 19-year-old Dresher, Pa., native will be part of the exhibition, which is part of next month's All-Star Week festivities in Portland. I haven't been able to confirm whether anyone on the initial Homegrown Game roster has been withdrawn, only that Pfeffer is going.

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It might not be coincidence, though, that Wednesday night, Seattle Sounders defender DeAndre Yedlin was named as one of the 11 players voted by fans to the All-Star Game roster. Unless the 20-year-old right back gets injured in the next few days, he's a lock to be named to the official match squad for MLS' midsummer classic. 

That announcement will be made on Saturday, during halftime of ESPN2's national broadcast of Kansas City-Los Angeles (6:00 p.m., ESPN2, ESPN Deportes and TSN2). Once it happens, Yedlin will be withdrawn from the Homegrown Game roster. After that, the Pfeffer news will likely become official.

Although Pfeffer's time with the Union has been limited, he has been playing extremely well for the U.S. Under-20 national team. That includes a mini-tournament going on this week at the Stubhub Center campus in Carson, Calif.

On Monday, Pfeffer registered a goal and an assist in the U.S.' come-from-behind 2-1 win over Chile:

On Wednesday, Pfeffer scored from the penalty spot as the U.S. cruised to a 4-0 win over Bermuda. Prior to that game, he sat down for an interview with ussoccer.com. It's a good read.

(It's worth noting that the U-20 squad includes two other players with ties to the Philadelphia region. Defender Russell Canouse is a Lancaster native, and former club teammate of Pfeffer when he was on loan at Hoffenheim last year. Goalkeeper Zack Steffen is a Downingtown native who's a product of the Union's academy and Downingtown West High School.)

As for the All-Star Game, which take place on August 6, here's the full list of MLS players selected by fans' votes. The results were announced during the national broadcast of Wednesday's Union-Red Bulls game. Not surprisingly, the honorees include some of the biggest names from the U.S. and abroad:

Goalkeeper: Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Omar González (Los Angeles Galaxy), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders)
Midfielders: Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards: Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), Obafemi Martins (Seattle Sounders)

That's a pretty stacked group. But as with any All-Star Game, fan voting is a popularity contest. Among the players who failed to make the Fan XI are the top five scorers in MLS this season: New York's Bradley Wright-Phillips, Kansas City's Dom Dwyer, Chivas USA's Erick "Cubo" Torres, Toronto's Jermain Defoe and Los Angeles' Robbie Keane.

The final 18-player game day squad will be chosen by All-Star team coach Caleb Porter from these players; two names picked by MLS commissioner Don Garber; and any players who received votes from more than two players in their balloting. Porter gets the nod because the game is being played in Portland.

Providence Park, the Timbers' home, will be the stage. German powerhouse Bayern Munich will be the opponent. ESPN2, UniMás, TSN and RDS will broadcast the game starting at 9:30 p.m. Eastern time.

When all is said and done, there will be 14 inactive All-Stars to go with the 18 on the game day roster. MLS' collective bargaining agreement with its players' union calls for a total of 32 names, dating back to when the game was played entirely with MLS players. Each of the 32 players - four goalkeepers, eight defenders, 13 midfielders and seven forwards - will get a bonus for the honor. The inactives will be announced on the day of the All-Star Game.

You'll find the updated Homegrown Game roster below. The squad will play against the Portland Timbers U-23 team on Monday, August 4 at 10:00 p.m. ET. If you're going to Portland for All-Star Week, you can get free tickets here. If you aren't going, you'll be able to watch the game free of charge online via WatchESPN and MLSSooccer.com.

2014 Major League Soccer Homegrown Game Roster

Goalkeepers

Jon Kempin, Sporting Kansas City: 5 seasons / 0 minutes
Matt Lampson, Columbus Crew: 3 seasons / 1,310 minutes

Defenders

Connor Lade, New York Red Bulls: 3 seasons / 2,263 minutes
Wandrille Lefèvre, Montréal Impact: 2 seasons / 861 minutes
Ashtone Morgan, Toronto FC: 4 seasons / 5,237 minutes
Shane O’Neill, Colorado Rapids: 3 seasons / 3,550 minutes
Karl W. Ouimette, Montréal Impact: 3 seasons / 1,326 minutes
Erik Palmer-Brown, Sporting Kansas City: 2 seasons / 235 minutes
Carlos Salcedo, Real Salt Lake: 2 seasons / 1,179 minutes
DeAndre Yedlin, Seattle Sounders: 2 seasons / 3,670 minutes

Midfielders

Steven Evans, Portland Timbers: 2 seasons / 0 minutes
Danny Garcia, FC Dallas: 1 season / 282 minutes
Zach Pfeffer, Philadelphia Union: 4 seasons / 221 minutes
Chris Ritter, Chicago Fire: 1 season / 378 minutes
Harrison Shipp, Chicago Fire: 1 season / 1,195 minutes
Russell Teibert, Vancouver Whitecaps: 4 seasons / 3,193 minutes
Wil Trapp, Columbus Crew: 2 seasons / 2,526 minutes

Forwards

Caleb Calvert, Chivas USA: 2 seasons / 0 minutes
Bradford Jamieson, Los Angeles Galaxy: 1 season / 0 minutes
Sean Okoli, Seattle Sounders: 1 season / 18 minutes
Dillon Serna, Colorado Rapids: 2 seasons / 809 minutes
Tommy Thompson, San Jose Earthquakes: 1 season / 1 minute
Gyasi Zardes, Los Angeles Galaxy: 2 seasons / 2,788 minutes

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, U.S. national teams and the rest of the world's most popular sport. It's also a place for fans to gather and celebrate the culture of soccer and its unique place on the sports landscape.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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