Here's the thing: All-Star Games are dumb. We are repeatedly told this by journalists. They are dumb in MLB; they are dumb in the NHL; they are dumb in the NFL; they are really, really dumb in the NBA; and based on the reactions of fans, bloggers, podcasters, and journalists alike they are the mostest dumbestering thing ever in MLS.
Keeping that in mind, we don't want Jose Goncalves to be on your stupid MLS All-Star team...so there!
Seriously, there was no way that Goncalves was going to make the fan ballots. Despite the Revs being the MLS flavor of the month, the Fan XI is nothing more than a popularity contest. This explains why the Fan XI was a misinformed amalgamation of players that included Chris Wondolowski, who despite past performances can't hold Jack McInerney's jock strap this season. So while New England has suddenly picked up a few new followers, it is not going to push someone like Jose (an unsexy central defender) over Omar Gonzalez or Matt Besler (USMNT starting central defenders) or Aurelien Collin (who is as sexy as an MLS central defender gets. Come on, everyone, even I like Aurelien Collin). Beyond three defenders, the Fan XI is generally going to be a mixture of goal scorers, Designated Players, pretty boys, and USMNT players.
I don't want my Jose Goncalves hanging out with a bunch of over-paid (in MLS terms) softies! Do you?
Then there is the idea that this is a friendly. A friendly against AS Roma. A friendly that, while pulling in media attention, really doesn't do a whole lot for the league as a whole. While the MLS All-Stars have beaten Chelsea in the past, there is still the possibility that AS Roma could potentially embarrass the MLS All-Stars (see: Manchester United). When MLS wins, no one cares. When MLS loses, it is a definitive statement on how bad the league is. Seriously, this is simultaneously why the MLS All-Star Game is considered both the best and worst All-Star Game. We're placing a team that has trained a few times against a team, which is some cases, has been training together for years.
I don't want my Jose Goncalves in such a lose-lose situation. Do you?
Then there are the repercussions of actually playing Roma. If the MLS All-Stars win great, except Rudi Garcia will obviously see the awesome specimen that is Jose Goncalves - as he will obviously be the MVP in a dominant performance - and Roma will obviously swoop down to FC Sion and offer them an exorbitant fee and the Revs will lose him early. Either that or he gets injured (see: Nat Borchers) or is terrible, comes back with his confidence destroyed, and is awful the rest of the way.
It's one or the other here, folks. He'll be sold to Roma, injured, or have his confidence shattered. There is certainly no in-betweens here. Am I right?
Honestly, having Jose Goncalves labeled as the mid-point defender of the year by Ives Galarcep and Jeff Carlisle is a much bigger deal. It means that for the first time in a while the Revolution and a Revolution player are rating on the national soccer media's radar.Totally.
Being called one of the biggest snubs of the All-Star game by The Shin Guardian...
Also Jose Goncalves a fairly ridiculous All-Star snub as well.— Matthew T (@shinguardian) July 15, 2013
and in a Washington Post blog are just as important as making the team! Right?
Sarcasm aside, I am truthfully not too upset over Jose Goncalves not being named an All-Star from a "pride perspective". As often is the case in MLS, it is the salary repercussions that bother me. Despite breakdowns of salaries that the Player's Union put out every year, the complexities and mysteries in players' contracts are still hazy at best. One thing that we do know is that a good portion (I'd wager all) of MLS players have a bonus in their contract for making the All-Star team. At this point, JoGo is going to miss out on it.
Hypothetically, he could be named an All-Star Reserve and that would entitle him to the bonus; perhaps, that would be the best case scenario. He gets his money, I get the joy of knowing he's an All-Star, and he does not have to play in the game. I, however, am not holding my breath.
Truthfully, I would really prefer not to lose Jose Goncalves for a meaningless game. Will it be a meaningless game that I watch while wishing that a member of the New England Revolution were playing in for reasons of pride? Maybe. But I'd rather keep our best player and captain's legs fresh for what is shaping out to be an inevitable push for the playoff in the second half.
All-Star Games are a bit of a catch 22: if our players make, it we complain about them playing an extra game; if our players don't make it, we complain about them being disrespected. In this comparison, I'm holding out for an All-Star reserve naming for Jose Goncalves. That would be the best case scenario: he will get his bonus, and not have to play in a midseason friendly.
And at the end of the day, isn't that what it's all about? Trophies before friendlies? Even if the trophy may still be a bit out of reach and the friendly is an All-Star Game.