Cunningham who currently leads all players in Major League Soccer with 10 goals scored on the season was a surprise omission from the original All-Star voting. He returns to Columbus as an All-Star amazingly for the first time in his eight-year career. Cunningham and Fulham FC forward Brian McBride were teammates on the Columbus Crew from 1998-2003 and remain tied as the top two goal-scorers in Columbus Crew history with 62 goals each. The 28-year old was acquired by the Rapids from the Crew prior to the 2005 season.
Two other MLS players (Chicago Fire defender Ivan Guerrero and San Jose Earthquakes midfielder Brad Davis) were also selected as injury replacements.
The three players all making their first career All-Star appearance will replace previously selected MLS All-Star starters - Eddie Johnson Eddie Pope and Amado Guevara - who will not be able to participate due to injuries. With these selections 11 MLS teams will be represented at the midsummer showcase. Later this week Clarke will choose the three new players for the starting lineup from the current pool of 10 reserve players.
Guerrero who started all five games for Honduras in the recently concluded 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup and who scored a goal last Thursday against the United States in the semifinals makes the All-Star team in his first year in MLS. As a midfielder/defender with the Fire Guerrero has scored two goals and registered four assists in 18 games so far this season.
Midfielder Brad Davis also makes his first-ever appearance in the MLS All-Star Game in his first year with the San Jose Earthquakes after an offseason trade from FC Dallas. After 14 games played in 2005 Davis is tied for the League lead with eight assists. The 24-year-old caps off a memorable week which also saw him score the clinching penalty kick for the United States on Sunday to help capture the 2005 CONCACAF Gold Cup.
Clarke also announced today that FC Dallas defender Greg Vanney will captain the MLS side on Saturday.
On the other side of the pitch Fulham FC has added defender Dean Leacock and midfielder Michael Timlin to their roster and the two players joined the team in Columbus late on Monday.
MLS ALL-STAR ROSTER:
GOALKEEPERS (2): Matt Reis (New England Revolution) Scott Garlick (FC Dallas)
DEFENDERS (5): Greg Vanney (FC Dallas) Jimmy Conrad (Kansas City Wizards) Frankie Hejduk (Columbus Crew) Chris Albright (Los Angeles Galaxy) Ivan Guerrero (Chicago Fire)
MIDFIELDERS (7): Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy) Clint Dempsey (New England Revolution) Ronnie O'Brien (FC Dallas) Shalrie Joseph (New England Revolution) Christian Gomez (D.C. United) Simo Valakari (FC Dallas) Brad Davis (San Jose Earthquakes).
FORWARDS (4): Carlos Ruiz (FC Dallas) Taylor Twellman (New England Revolution) Pat Noonan (New England Revolution) Jeff Cunningham (Colorado Rapids)
INJURED (Will not play): Eddie Pope (Real Salt Lake) Amado Guevara (MetroStars) Eddie Johnson (FC Dallas).
GOALKEEPERS (2): Mark Crossley (Wales) Jaroslav Drobny (Czech Republic).
DEFENDERS (8): Carlos Bocanegra (USA) Alain Goma (France) Niclas Jensen (Denmark) Zat Knight (England) Zesh Rehman (England) Liam Rosenour (England) Moritz Volz (Germany) Dean Leacock (England).
MIDFIELDERS (8): Papa Bouba Diop (Senegal) Ahmed Elrich (Australia) Claus Jensen (Denmark) Sylvain Legwinski (France) Steed Malbranque (France) Mark Pembridge (Wales) Tomasz Radzinski (Canada) Michael Timlin (England).
FORWARDS (4): Luis Boa Morte (Portugal) Heider Helguson (Iceland) Collins John (Holland) Brian McBride (USA).