Orlando City captain Nani and goalkeeper Pedro Gallese have been named to the MLS All-Star Team that will face the Liga MX All-Stars in the upcoming 2021 MLS All-Star Game on Aug. 25 at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. For Nani, it’s his second selection in three years (there was no event held in 2020) and it’s Gallese’s first All-Star Game selection. Both Lions were among the 13 players selected via a combined vote of fans, media, and players.
Prior to Nani’s second selection, the only Orlando City player to have made the event twice was former OCSC midfielder Kaká — also a team captain. Nani’s selection is no surprise. The Portuguese star has been having an outstanding season for Orlando in 2021, ranking among MLS leaders and pacing the Lions with his eight goals this season. He also leads Orlando City in game-winning goals (3), shot attempts (38) and shots on goal (17). The captain has been named to the MLS Team of the Week six times in 2021 — three times on the first team and three more on the bench. He has also won MLS Player of the Week once (for last week) and scored the AT&T Goal of the Week once.
Prior to leaving Orlando to represent Peru in the Copa America, Gallese was among the league’s best goalkeepers, with four clean sheets in his first six outings in 2021. He helped the team get off to a franchise-best six-match unbeaten streak to start the season and was named to the MLS Team of the Week once.
While it’s great for the club to be represented at the MLS All-Star Game, and a worthy honor for both players, it’s also worth noting that it’s likely Nani and Gallese will be on the other side of the country when they wake up on Aug. 26. That’s the day before Orlando City hosts Inter Miami on Aug. 27. If Nani and Gallese play half the match late on a Wednesday night in California, it would seem unlikely for them to start in Orlando on that Friday night — more so for an outfield player like Nani. We’ll have to wait to find out how much they play and what their availability would be for the Miami match, but it’ll be nice for Orlando City fans to have some hometown heroes to root for against the best players from Liga MX.
2021 MLS All-Star Team Roster
Gustavo Bou — New England Revolution (coach’s pick)
Tajon Buchanan — New England Revolution (commissioner’s pick)
Cade Cowell — San Jose Earthquakes (commissioner’s pick)
Chicharito — LA Galaxy (voted in)
Nani — Orlando City (voted in)
Ricardo Pepi — FC Dallas (coach’s pick)
Diego Rossi — LAFC (coach’s pick)
Raul Ruidiaz — Seattle Sounders (voted in)
Daniel Salloi — Sporting Kansas City (coach’s pick)
Carlos Vela — LAFC (voted in)
Eduard Atuesta — LAFC (coach’s pick)
Carles Gil — New England Revolution (voted in)
Damir Kreilach — Real Salt Lake (coach’s pick)
Joao Paulo — Seattle Sounders (voted in)
Emanuel Reynoso — Minnesota United (coach’s pick)
Cristian Roldan — Seattle Sounders (voted in)
Lucas Zelarayan — Columbus Crew (voted in)
Julian Araujo — LA Galaxy (coach’s pick)
Jesus David Murillo — LAFC (coach’s pick)
Nouhou — Seattle Sounders (voted in)
Miles Robinson — Atlanta United (coach’s pick)
Alex Roldan — Seattle Sounders (voted in)
James Sands — New York City FC (coach’s pick)
Kai Wagner — Philadelphia Union (coach’s pick)
Yeimar — Seattle Sounders (voted in)
Walker Zimmerman — Nashville SC (voted in)
Pedro Gallese — Orlando City (voted in)
Matt Turner - New England Revolution (coach’s pick)