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Osvaldo Alonso, Eddie Johnson give Sounders FC two All-Stars
Osvaldo Alonso and Eddie Johnson will represent Sounders FC as MLS All-Stars in Wednesday's 5:30 p.m. exhibition against Chelsea FC.
Seattle Times staff reporter
Sounders' all-time MLS all-stars2009 (4): Fredy Montero, Kasey Keller, Freddie Ljungberg, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado
2010: none (Sounders played a Champions League game on all-star date)
2011 (2): Keller, Osvaldo Alonso
2012 (2): Alonso, Eddie Johnson
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TUKWILA — For the first time since 2009, Sounders FC will have multiple players available in the MLS All-Star Game.
Seattle's representatives will be midfielder Osvaldo Alonso and forward Eddie Johnson as the league's stars play a 5:30 p.m. exhibition Wednesday against English club Chelsea FC, which beat the Sounders 4-2 in a friendly last week.
"It's well deserved for both of them," said coach Sigi Schmid. "Ozzie should've been an All-Star from Year 1, but that's just my opinion. He's a guy that's been very consistent for us, and Eddie has obviously had a very, very good year for us so far."
Alonso, the Sounders' two-time team MVP, has played a huge role defensively as Seattle is tied for the fewest goals allowed in the Western Conference. Johnson, acquired in a preseason trade, leads the team with eight goals.
The Sounders duo weren't among the first 11 players selected to the All-Star team through a fan vote, but were added to the roster by D.C. United coach Ben Olsen, who will manage the league's team at PPL Park in Chester, Pa.
Alonso was voted an inactive MLS All-Star by a player vote last season. He wasn't available to play but did receive an All-Star bonus as negotiated in the collective-bargaining agreement.
Schmid felt other Sounders were deserving of consideration, too, singling out goalkeeper Michael Gspurning, forward Fredy Montero and defender Jeff Parke.
"I think our team has more than just two All-Stars," the coach said.
With the decisions already made, Schmid's concerns have switched to playing time. The Sounders have a busy stretch coming up with the group stage of the CONCACAF Champions League next week and the U.S. Open Cup final on Aug. 8.
"Both of those guys (Alonso and Johnson) have played a lot of minutes over the last two months," Schmid said, "so hopefully they won't play a ton of minutes on Wednesday. ... We have more games than the other guys, so hopefully they'll take that into account."
The fact playing time is the main concern for Johnson shows just how far he has come. The 28-year-old forward was received with mixed reviews in his MLS return this year. Many felt he was past his prime after a disappointing stint in Europe and not worth giving up the promising pair of Mike Fucito and Lamar Neagle in a trade with Montreal.
With eight goals — five in his last seven games — Johnson has proved the critics wrong. He will be one of the leading contenders for MLS Comeback Player of the Year and could be on track for an eventual return to the U.S. men's national team.
Being an All-Star will help.
"It's a good honor for him," said Schmid. "It's a good reflection of what he's trying to do, which is play very consistently, and slowly but surely get recognized again for his soccer abilities."
"I'm happy for him," added general manager Adrian Hanauer, "and I'm certainly happy that the trade has worked out. The reason we made the trade was because we knew what Eddie was capable of. ... The goals for Eddie are fantastic, but I'm way less concerned — and I think Eddie is less concerned — with the statistics than winning playoffs games, winning trophies."
• Goalkeeper Kasey Keller, who retired in the offseason, was the only Sounder to play in last year's All-Star Game.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or email@example.com
On Twitter: @joshuamayers