Arena faces tricky lineup decisions in Houston
One of the more intriguing storylines heading into Wednesday’s All-Star Game is how MLS All-Star manager Bruce Arena will make use of his Los Angeles Galaxy players following their commitments in the CONCACAF Champions League the night before.
The Galaxy welcome the Puerto Rico Islanders in the first leg of their CONCACAF Champions League qualifying round, while Toronto FC host Honduran side Motagua the same night.
“It’s difficult to say,” All-Star assistant manager Dominic Kinnear said on Monday. “You can’t put the players’ health at risk. I know the fans voted the players in and the fans want to see them play, but as far as the time on the field they spend, it’s a big decision for Bruce.”
Kinnear confirmed that he and Arena have had preliminary discussions about the matter and that they have centered around Galaxy players Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle, Omar Gonzalez and Donovan Ricketts, as well as TFC midfielder Dwayne De Rosario.
All five players were part of the first 11 players elected to the All-Star Game.
“I know that Bruce has in mind that his best interest is to have a healthy Landon Donovan and other players,” Kinnear said. “You don’t want to think it’s a competitive disadvantage by maybe Bruce playing some players more than others. It’s a delicate thing he has to handle.”
“He’s experienced enough and he understands the other side of it as well. He’ll be very careful what he does with his players and what he does with the other players as well.”