We have until July 30 to pick our All-Stars, which is a tad off-kilter, because August is going to be the soul-crushing, agonizing final furlongs that grinds pretenders into the unforgiving dust. And I don't wanna vote for someone who costs their team a playoff spot on the last weekend.
Ideally, we'd have it after the championship game, because the story of WPS Year One is very different if Marta's Sol taste champagne or boot to the face. Okay, it's unfair to ask the suffering servants of WPS to arrange a roster in a week, but as of this moment, it wouldn't occur to me to vote for anyone on the Red Stars, for example. What if they make this majestic run and make the playoffs? Who am I to deprive the Red Stars, er, stars, out of a free trip to St. Louis?
I'm referring to the city. I can use the abbreviation. GOD.
On the bright side, this really is one of the easiest ballots I've filled out since November. Default to LA Sol players unless there's some compelling case for another team's player, sign, seal, deliver. What could be easier.
GK: "But I LOVE Hope Solo! She's the best! She won the United States an Olympic gold medal, and I really really really like her!" Tough fish, punks. This is the WPS All-Star ballot, not the Who You Like ballot. You'll have Karina LeBlanc, and you'll like it. Anyway, you'll enjoy her company. She's fun.
D: Yeah, see what I mean about compelling cases? Can't in good conscience vote for Franko. Maybe I could write in the baby, or something. Nah, all the "Soccer Mom!" headlines from the Joy Fawcett era would come back like undercooked pork. Stephanie Cox has played every minute for the best team in the league. It's also a little hard to argue with Allison Falk, since she's the only other Sol defender on the ballot who is now playing regularly, and I don't want to waste a write-in vote. I'm putting the A's Tina Ellertson there, just so I don't look totally biased. Why Ellertson ahead of LePeilbet? Well, the Saint Louis games I saw, Ellertson looked terrific.
M: Camille Abily, Aya Miyama, Shannon Boxx, Wagner's been hurt too much and there's no other Sol midfielder in this section. So I've got two midfield spots remaining. (I've kidded Miyama now and again about having the worst shot in the history of civilization, but her passing has been absolutely splendid. I don't anticipate much pushback on Abily and Boxx.) Sonia Bompastor is one obvious pick, and I can't decide on spot number five between Chalupny and Kelly Smith. (WPS has Smith listed as a midfielder on the ballot.) Um, um...see, the Breakers are in second now, thanks to that stupid loss Saint Louis had against the Freedom's assistant coach/goalkeeper. And Smith has more goals, which is understandable for a forward. But my heart says Lori Chalupny.
F: LA forwards: Marta, Brittany Bock's a defender, Han Duan's been disappointing, so another spot opens for the teeming masses. Eniola Akulo, Saint Louis, just ahead of the sentimental vote for Tiffeny Milbrett. Milbrett's been great, but she's been great because FCGP have been awful, and if they hadn't have been awful, then Milbrett wouldn't have had the chance to be great. So it's Akulo. Except Kelly Smith has been more productive. I guess what I'm saying is, I can't decide among Smith, Akulo, and Chalupny, and I can't decide whether to punish Smith because of the ballot structure, or punish a deserving midfielder because WPS thinks Boston's offense is run through Amy Rodriguez and Kelly Schmedes.
"But what about Cristiane?" Half her production for the year was in one game, the Red Stars are nearly out of it, etc. Maybe if she's awesome this weekend.
"But what about Kai?" Dunno. Beat Saint Louis tonight, get into a better playoff position, and we'll start considering a Sky Blue or two.
"But aren't you voting primarily for the team you've seen over twice again more times than any other?" Hm, good point.
If you think I missed someone, let me know. Or you can totally ignore me and vote your own picks here. Happy clicking!