On Tuesday, Major League Soccer announced the roster for the 2023 MLS All-Star Game, and for the first time in club history, New York City FC has zero players named to the team. The annual event will occur on July 19, and the MLS players will welcome Arsenal F.C. to Audi Field.
In some ways, it is not surprising. This season has been extremely rough, and NYCFC is not doing well. There have been some games where the team has played well, but the results have been poor.
On the other hand, there have been players, like James Sands and Gabriel Pereira, who have had good individual seasons. Sands especially has been incredible this year, and arguably can be considered as one of the top defensive midfielders in MLS. It is somewhat surprising that the American was not chosen.
It is a good thing NYCFC is not participating in the All-Star Game
However, this is actually a good thing for NYCFC. That means the club will not lose any players for a midweek, meaningless match. Yes, it is an honor to be named to the All-Star game, and can be a fun event to partake in. Yet, it is still a regular game where injury can occur, and where minutes are played.
This will also allow the Pigeons to focus on the next opponent and match, thus limiting the distraction of the yearly event. In fact, that very opponent will be Atlas F.C. in the Leagues Cup, for the two play one another on July 23. And based on the current record, the team desperately needs to focus. The upcoming tournament will allow for an opportunity for NYCFC to try and turn the season around.
Plus, it is extremely likely there will be new faces on the roster, for summer signings are expected. The Pigeons will need every opportunity for the players, both current and future, to get used to one another and make adjustments to the squad.
Hence, it is not a bad thing that the Bronx side will not be featured in the MLS All-Star game. Of course, injuries could lead to a selection, but hopefully that will not be the case. New York City FC must focus on the fixtures that matter instead, and ideally, this summer will lead to a turnaround for the rest of 2023.