Risers and fallers, who's hot and who's not … whichever way you put it, it's the ebb and flow of form and fortune that makes soccer interesting. Just as the commercial says, "In minute 23, you hate him … in minute 32, all is forgiven."
With that, we launch Ebb and Flow, our nod to the shifting momentum of Major League Soccer. This week, with just one day remaining until voting for the 2010 All-Star selection closes, we look at how recent form may have impacted the All-Star lineup.
↑ Flowing forth
Alvaro Saborio: The Real Salt Lake striker bagged another brace this past weekend in a 5-0 pasting of New England. The goals earned him Player of the Week honors—for the second time this season—and have him leading the impressive Claret-and-Cobalt in scoring. But is that enough to unseat LA's Edson Buddle as the hottest striker in MLS? [WATCH: Saborio's cheeky backheel]
Juan Pablo Angel: The Red Bulls striker is finding his form at just the right time. A perennial All-Star, the Colombian veteran is on a hot streak, scoring five goals in as many games. Word has it he may have some internal competition soon, especially if Hans Backe begins rolling out a 4-5-1 as he did against Colorado. [WATCH: Angel equalizes]
David Ferreira: One man can't do it alone, can he? Ferreira is All-Star through and through, leading FC Dallas in a four-match unbeaten streak. He's scoring goals, winning penalty kicks and controlling games. If he doesn't earn an All-Star nod, he'll surely be in the running for MVP. As Schellas Hyndman said, Dallas is "more his team than anybody else’s.” [WATCH: Ferreira earns a PK]
→ Holding still
Andy Najar: Those who questioned whether this 17-year-old has the maturity to be potent in this league are eating words. The versatile academy product has played all over the field for D.C.—including at right back in a cup game—and he added yet another dazzling golazo on Saturday. Though he'll likely not make the All-Star Team in 2010, it looks like he'll have plenty of chances in the coming years. [WATCH: Najar's volley].
Dwayne De Rosario: Another perennial All-Star, though DeRo may miss the summer classic due to Champions League obligations. Still, the attacking midfielder looks to have secured at least a selection thanks to him helping Toronto recover from a horrendous campaign start. TFC are now unbeaten in their last seven MLS games. [WATCH: De Rosario taps it in].
↓ Ebbing away
Freddie Ljungberg: Oh Freddie, where art thou? Your team needs you now more than ever. It's time to start focusing on the midfield, not the referee. Once again you find yourself in the All-Star mix, because, well, you ARE an All-Star. But with zero goals and two assists in 15 matches this year, do you really deserve the nod?
Shalrie Joseph: It wouldn't be an All-Star game without the Revs' heart-and-soul midfielder, would it? Plus, how awesome would it be to see the MLS icon go up against Manchester United's very own talisman, Paul Scholes? With a string of injuries and other issues keeping Joseph from the field this season, it looks as though this six-time All-Star will sit this one out.