Picking 5 players snubbed from the 2023 MLS All-Star roster using PFF grades

The 2023 MLS All-Star roster was revealed this week, which means it’s time to evaluate the team that will face Arsenal on Jul. 19 at Audi Field.

The 26-man roster was compiled through a combination of voting mechanisms and includes 12 players determined by a collective vote from fans, media, and players; another 12 players selected by the MLS All-Star head coach Wayne Rooney representing the host team, D.C. United; plus an additional two players chosen directly by MLS Commissioner, Don Garber.

It is a mechanism that is certain to leave out players that feel like their performance warranted a spot in the team to play the Premier League side who pushed Manchester City close for the title. In this article, we’ll use PFF player grades to select a one player at each position group who were snubbed. If you are unfamiliar with how our grades work, we have outlined the details here.

Michael Uhre, Philadelphia Union, striker

PFF shooting grade: 93.6

Michael Uhre has found it difficult to string a goalscoring streak together this season but he still boasts PFF’s highest shooting grade in the MLS of 93.6. The Dane has found the back of the net five times and been a key creator for Philadelphia Union in their two-man attack that sees Uhre partner Julian Carranza.

It has been a productive partnership for Union with Uhre contributing three assists, enough to warrant selection ahead of Sporting KC’s Alan Pulido who finds himself in hot form after rehabilitating from knee surgery at the start of the MLS season.

Carles Gil, New England Revolution, attacking midfielder

PFF passing grade: 88.7

MLS has always been a sanctuary for creative attacking midfielders, which is reflected in the All-Star roster. Out of the nine selected midfielders, five primarily excel in generating scoring opportunities rather than defensive duties (Lucho Acosta, Thiago Almada, Hans Mukhtar, Riqui Puig and Lucas Zelarayán). But one of the league's finest is staying home: Carles Gil of New England Revolution. The Spanish maestro is one of only two players in the league with at least three grades above 85.0: passing, 88.7; ball carrying, 85.6; and shooting, 85.0.

Artur, Houston Dynamo FC, midfielder

Houston Dynamo midfielder Artur
2PFW96E Austin FC midfielder Emiliano Rigoni, left, attempts a shot on goal against Houston Dynamo midfielder Artur, right, as Hector Herrera and Griffin Dorsey, center, look on during the first half of an MLS soccer match, Saturday, March 18, 2023, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
PFF passing grade: 90.5

Artur can feel hard done by not being selected alongside Dynamo midfield partner Hector Herrera after helping to put Houston on the path to the play-offs.

In a step to end their five-year absence from the play-offs, Houston traded with Columbus Crew to acquire the Brazilian last November. A move which appears to have paid off for the Dynamo as Artur has returned grades of 90.5 as a passer and additionally have graded above 80.0 in ball carrying (83.7), carry defending (81.8), challenges (80.5).

Yeimar Gómez Andrade, Seattle Sounders FC, defender

PFF challenges grade: 90.2

Remember how Carles Gil was one of only two players in the league with at least three grades above 85.0? The other is also robbed from an All-Star roster selection: Yeimar Gómez Andrade of Seattle Sounders FC.

The Colombian centre back, who happens to celebrate his 31st birthday today, has been excellent when it comes to challenges (90.2), clearances (89.7) and defending carries (87.4), while also being reliable on the ball with 75.8 Ball Carry Grade and a 70.8 Passing Grade.

Maarten Paes, FC Dallas, goalkeeper

PFF shot-stopping grade: 91.8

With only three available goalkeeper slots available in the All-Star roster, it is extremely difficult to get in, especially considering Rooney picked his number 1 at D.C. United (Tyler Miller). Based solely on the primary job of a goalkeeper (stopping shots), our pick is Maarten Paes of FC Dallas.

His 91.8 PFF shot-stopping grade is the highest in MLS and the Dutchman is one of two goalkeepers — the other being St Louis City's Roman Bürki, who is in the roster — to have more than one +1 graded saves (watch here and here).

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