Domenic Mobilio has been to two Major Soccer League All-Star games, but the Blast forward says this one will be the best.
When the MSL yesterday released its All-Star selections for the Feb. 13 game at the Baltimore Arena, Mobilio learned he had made the East squad through a vote of his peers. His two previous selections had been by the pick of the All-Star coaches.
"To me, this is like the first time," said Mobilio, one of five Blast players chosen to the squad.
The Dallas Sidekicks, with six selections, led the East, and the San Diego Sockers, also with six, led the West.
Dallas' Tatu made the East team for the seventh time, and is the only East player with more than four All-Star appearances. That contrasts sharply with the West, where seven players have made the team seven or more times.
The two squads should be in sharp contrast: The young East vs. the veteran West. But when it comes to goalkeepers, the sides are on equal footing. The East features Dallas goalie Joe Papaleo (13-7, 4.86 goals-against-average) and Baltimore's Cris Vaccaro (10-9, 5.23), in his fourth appearance. The West goal will be blocked by San Diego's Victor Nogueira (14-6, 4.84) and Wichita's Kris Peat (13-9, 5.67).
In the East, where All-Star experience on average is two years less than in the West (4.8 years to 2.8 years), the Blast's Mark Mettrick and Doug Neely are two of four players making their All-Star debut. Defenseman Iain Fraser is the fifth Blast player on the All-Star team.
"Playing here is going to be fun," said Mobilio. "When you're in other cities for the All-Star Game, they call your name and there isn't much reaction. But playing for our hometown fans in the first All-Star Game played here, that should be something."
Blast coach Kenny Cooper said the selection of Neely and Mettrick "is long overdue."
The game, which will be televised nationally by SportsChannel America, is part of a two-for-one package at the Arena. The USAir College Indoor Soccer Showcase will be played at 5 p.m., followed by the MSL All-Star Game at 8:05. About 3,000 tickets remain.
Player. . . . . . . . . Team
David Doyle (F) . . . . Dallas
Zoran Karic (F) . . . . Cleveland
Hector Marinaro (F) . . Cleveland
Domenic Mobilio (F) . . Baltimore
Andy Schmetzer (M). . . Cleveland
Kevin Smith (M) . . . . Dallas
Tatu (F). . . . . . . . Dallas
George Fernandez. . . . Cleveland
Iain Fraser . . . . . . Baltimore
Wes McLeod. . . . . . . Dallas
Mark Mettrick . . . . . Baltimore
Chico Moreira . . . . . Cleveland
Doug Neely. . . . . . . Baltimore
Troy Snyder . . . . . . Dallas
Joe Papaleo . . . . . . Dallas
Cris Vaccaro. . . . . . Baltimore
Chico Borja (M) . . . . Wichita
Paul Dougherty (M). . . San Diego
Dale Ervine (F) . . . . Wichita
Dale Mitchell (F) . . . Tacoma
Preki (F) . . . . . . . St. Louis
Brian Quinn (M) . . . . San Diego
Branko Segota (M) . . . St. Louis
Paul Wright (F) . . . . San Diego
Ralph Black . . . . . . Tacoma
Fernando Clavijo. . . . St. Louis
Ben Collins . . . . . . San Diego
Kevin Crow. . . . . . . San Diego
Danny Pena. . . . . . . Wichita
Kim Roentved. . . . . . Wichita
Victor Nogueira . . . . San Diego
Kris Peat . . . . . . . Wichita