Sebastian Giovinco, Miguel Almiron, Greg Garza leading MLS All-Star Fan XI
Sebastian Giovinco, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Kaka, David Villa, and Tim Howard are all set to feature in the fan-chosen MLS All-Star team that will face Real Madrid in Chicago on Aug. 2.
Madrid's preseason preparations see them face Manchester United, Manchester City and Barcelona in the International Champions Cup, before they round off their U.S. trip with a game against the MLS All-Stars at Soldier Field.
Major League Soccer has invited supporters to decide the first 10 players they feel should be included against the European champions, and released an update on the voting on Tuesday, with the voting set to close on Friday.
The system being used allows for one goalkeeper, three defenders, four midfielders and two forwards to be named in the initial 10.
Among forwards, MLS leading scorer Nemanja Nikolic tops the voting, followed by Giovinco. U.S. national team strikers Jozy Altidore (fifth place), Clint Dempsey (sixth) and Dom Dwyer (seventh) are set to miss out on the Fan XI, as they also trail Villa and Josef Martinez.
Atlanta United's Miguel Almiron leads the midfielders, ahead of Schweinsteiger, Kaka and Michael Bradley. Another Atlanta player tops the defenders in Greg Garza, and he's joined by fellow U.S. internationals Graham Zusi and DaMarcus Beasley. Howard is the top goalkeeper.
The final member of the MLS All-Stars XI is being decided by EA Sports' "More Than a Vote" challenge, which sees fans vote for players by using them to score a goal in FIFA 17 on video game platforms. As it stands, New York City FC's Villa is set for last spot in the team, as he is second behind Giovinco, who is already in position to make the XI.
The Fan XI will all be named to the team, though All-Star coach Veljko Paunovic of the Chicago Fire will select the gameday lineup from those players, a pool of eligible players determined by media members, and two selections reserved for MLS commissioner Don Garber.
The MLS 2017 All-Star jersey was also revealed earlier this week, with the design featuring a blend of U.S.-style stars and Canadian maple leafs.
Dermot Corrigan is a Madrid-based football writer who covers La Liga and the Spain national team for ESPN FC. Follow him on Twitter @dermotmcorrigan