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Reasons why Kahlina and Malanda got snubbed by MLS

By Brian Maurer


Adilson Malanda (Photo courtesy of CJ Hellner/TopBin90)


Charlotte FC will be without representation in the MLS All-Star Game for the third consecutive season. While local fans may feel their team was snubbed all three years, the 2024 All-Star selection results feel more like a robbery than in the past.


This is primarily due to improvements Charlotte has made defensively. They are currently tied for second in MLS in goals against (21), fifth in xGA (23.7), and lead the league in clean sheets (9). Regardless, the team is still without an All-Star. The question is how?


Here are a few reasons why the Crown isn't being represented in Columbus:


Popularity


Based on the voting update that MLS posted on June 7, no Charlotte players were in the top five of any position. This isn't surprising as the Crown has no nationally recognizable players. This made it almost impossible for Charlotte players to be voted into the All-Star Game, even if a few MLS pundits acknowledged them as worthy of consideration.


Players voted in by fans, media, and players

  • Cristian Arango (F) - Real Salt Lake

  • Christian Benteke (F) - DC United

  • Lionel Messi (F) - Inter Miami

  • Luis Suárez (F) - Inter Miami

  • Luciano Acosta (M) - FC Cincinnati

  • Sergio Busquets (M) - Inter Miami

  • Riqui Puig (M) - LA Galaxy

  • Jordi Alba (D) - Inter Miami

  • Justen Glad (D) - Real Salt Lake

  • Aaron Herrera (D) - DC United

  • Miles Robinson (D) - FC Cincinnati

  • Maarten Paes (GK) - FC Dallas


Wilfried Nancy's picks


The best opportunity Charlotte had was if 2024 MLS All-Star Coach Wilfried Nancy viewed them highly enough for selection. Even with his number of choices increased to 16 he still did not feel any player from the Carolinas were worthy.


In goal, Nancy picked Roman Bürki and Hugo Lloris over Kristijan Kahlina. Kahlina has as many clean sheets as Bürki and voters' selection Paes combined. The Croatian also has more PSxG-GA than both of Nancy's picks combined. This means that Kahlina has prevented more expected goals than either of the coach's selections.


On the defensive line, Nancy picked Keegan Rosenberry, Luca Orellano, Steven Moreira, Thiago Martins, and Rudy Camacho. Picking players from Columbus and Cincinnati makes sense as they have both been strong defensive sides this season. Martins and Rosenberry are both on teams that are outside of the top five in terms of goals against (ninth and 18th respectively). These selections could easily make Charlotte players feel snubbed based on the results their backline has maintained.


Nancy's selections

  • Federico Bernardeschi (F) - Toronto FC

  • Denis Bouanga (F) - LAFC

  • Cucho (F) - Columbus Crew

  • Diego Rossi (F) - Columbus Crew

  • Mathieu Choinière (M) - CF Montréal

  • Evander (M) - Portland Timbers

  • Ryan Gauld (M) - Vancouver Whitecaps

  • Robin Lod (M) - Minnesota United

  • Hany Mukhtar (M) - Nashville SC

  • Rudy Camacho (D) - Columbus Crew

  • Thiago Martins (D) - NYCFC

  • Steven Moreira (D) - Columbus Crew

  • Luca Orellano (D) - FC Cincinnati

  • Keegan Rosenberry (D) - Colorado Rapids

  • Roman Bürki (GK) - St. Louis City

  • Hugo Lloris (GK) - LAFC


There was a clear benefit to being a Columbus Crew player, as 25% of Nancy's selections came from his own club. Being a former player of Nancy also likely benefited Choinière as he was selected for his second straight ASG.


The Commissioner's picks


Don Garber also made two selections. He made pretty typical picks compared to years past. Higher profile MLS veterans. This is what the Darlington Nagbe selection looked like this year. Without any of these types of players on Charlotte's roster, their chance of getting selected by Garber was next to nothing.


Garber's picks

  • Darlington Nagbe (M) - Columbus Crew

  • Héctor Herrera (M) - Houston Dynamo


Final Thoughts


There was a distinct advantage for players getting selected in the Eastern Conference versus the Western Conference (18 vs 12). This is likely at least partially due to the popularity of Inter Miami's squad and Nancy's bias towards his players and players he is familiar with in the EC.


Being a top-performing team in terms of points per match also helped players get selected. The top three teams in the EC based on pts/match account for 12 of the 18 EC players selected. The other six EC All-Stars were from teams performing poorly (DC United, CF Montréal), mediocrely (Nashville SC, Toronto FC), and well (NYCFC).


The WC All-Star selections were more balanced even if there were far fewer of them. The top three WC teams (again based on pts/match) make up less than half of the WC All-Star selections (five of 12).


The WC teams had a better chance of having an All-Star (10 of 14) compared to EC (eight of 15) even if they had six fewer All-Stars. This is because of the number of All-Stars chosen from Miami and Columbus. This top-heaviness could have also hurt Charlotte's chances since Garber and Nancy likely factored in needing to pick some WC players to balance out the roster.








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