07/31/2013 08:25 am ET

2013 MLS All-Star Game: American Stars Link U.S. National Team To All-Star Side Facing Roma


By Keith Hickey,

KANSAS CITY, Kan. -- When the Major League Soccer All-Star side faces off against AS Roma on Wednesday, there will be a significant U.S. men's national team presence.

Nine of the 22 players on the All-Star roster were members of the squad that lifted the CONCACAF Gold Cup on Sunday. Two more, midfielders Brad Davis and Graham Zusi, are U.S. national team players. Seattle Sounders fullback DeAndre Yedlin represented the United States in the U-20 World Cup last month.

While it is expected that Americans are plentiful in the USA's domestic league, fans of the domestic game will be encouraged by the number of MLS products able to compete for places on one of the deepest and most effective U.S. national teams the United States has ever produced while still with their MLS clubs.

"It's shown how far this league has gone," said San Jose's Chris Wondolowski, the current holder of the Major League Soccer Golden Boot who also tied for the CONCACAF Gold Cup scoring crown. "I think the MLS is going to continue to grow exponentially. It shows out there on the field, and last All-Star game, being able to beat Chelsea, things of that nature, have shown how great some of these players are."

Midfielder Graham Zusi agrees.

"I think it's great for MLS," said the 26-year-old Sporting Kansas City standout. "It shows the amount we've grown as a league, and it shows we can compete at the highest level. There's a number of guys in this group who play with the U.S. national team. It just talks leaps and bounds for this league, and where it's come.

Midfielder Kyle Beckerman sees the familiarity between the national teamers as an asset that could help the cream of MLS make a good showing against a famous European club like Roma.

"I think a lot of us are pretty familiar with each other because of that," Beckerman, Real Salt Lake's captain, said. "We've just been saying 'the tour keeps going, the band's heading to Kansas City.' It's been a fun month with these guys, and we've been really successful winning games and hopefully we can continue that."

The Philadelphia Union's 20-year-old rising star, Jack McInerney, who was an unused substitute on the Gold Cup-wining side, agreed.

"You come in and it's pretty comfortable," McInerney said. "I've been with the guys for a while, and I know them pretty good. Hopefully we can carry that over and put in the same result.



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