Ahead of tomorrow night’s MLS All-Star Game, a Landon Donovan-coached group of academy products from around MLS will take on the Mexican under-20 national team in the MLS Homegrown Game. Donovan selected the roster he’ll lead tonight in San Jose, and it features some notable names. USMNT forward Jordan Morris is in the squad, as are two players with caps for the senior Canadian national team (Jordan Hamilton and Maxime Crepeau) and a litany of youth national team players. That includes goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez, a Mexican under-23 national team player still eligible to represent the US.
Key player: Jalen Robinson
Obviously. Robinson, after years of limited minutes and a bit of confusion over where his future was on the field, has shown in 2016 that he’s ready to play center back at the MLS level. The Catonsville, MD native has only appeared in three games for United this season, and one of those is a stoppage time cameo in Houston. However, in the other two outings, he played 90 minutes against Kei Kamara and the New England Revolution as well as 120 minutes in the US Open Cup. Thanks in part to his proactive defending and a knack for producing a key tackle or block whenever he was left without cover, United conceded precisely 0 goals in those 210 minutes.
This step up in play couldn’t have come at a better time. With Steve Birnbaum attracting transfer bids from abroad due to his USMNT exploits and club captain Bobby Boswell being 33 years old, United’s decision makers have likely spent some time wondering who will step in if either normal starter needs to be replaced. Kofi Opare has mostly looked like an MLS starter since arriving from LA, and now Robinson has established that he deserves real consideration if and when United needs a center back. It’s a good problem to have.
Location: Avaya Stadium (San Jose, CA)
Kickoff time: 9:00pm Eastern
Available TV: None
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
Treat this as the gamethread for tonight’s match.