That was the final score of the 2010 NBA All-Star game this year.
Did the result, the play or the final score of that game mirror a playoff–or even regular season–game in the NBA?
Of course not.
The same can be said for the MLS All-Star game Wednesday night when a motivated Manchester United “B” team went up against essentially the MLS All-Star “A-” Team–it sort of has to be considered an “A-” team when the league’s best player (Landon Donovan), the league’s top scorer (Edson Buddle) don’t start and when arguably the league’s best coach (Bruce Arena) has less than a day to prepare?
That Manchester United came off a 2-1 loss to a ho-hum Kansas City Wizards squad only served to further stack the deck against the MLS All-Stars, some of who could never participate (any player on Seattle) and some of who showed up and could only take a quick snooze to prepare (the Los Angeles Galaxy’s Edson Buddle, Landon Donovan, Omar Gonzalez, Donovan Ricketts and even Bruce Arena).
Did anyone else witness the baseball debacle that occurred last week when the Giants turned the table on the Dodgers after a managerial snafu forced a less-than-warm George Sherrill into the game who promptly game up the game to the Giants?
Well this situation was similar as the MLS All-Stars, including players like Kyle Beckerman and Shalrie Joseph, who have missed time recently or missed a good chunk of the season, were forced to take on one of the top squads in the world–showcasing some of their best young players like Macheda, Obertan (who left due to injury) and Cleverly–without proper warm-up and repetitions as a team and further during the middle of the week!
What the fans got was a scorefest and what MLS got was a record crowd of 70,000 people (more than 3x the amount for a quality NBA game) and that’s the only number that probably matter to MLS execs.
Yes, the success was probably based upon a huge Mexican contingent, many of them ready to bear witness to the forthcoming reign of Chicharito at Old Trafford and probably based upon Man United fans themselves. (By the way, how about ESPN inaccurately continually calling United “Man U” all evening and following on Sportscenter…yikes!)
But if crowd numbers and the dollars associated with it weren’t the goal of MLS execs then they–and certainly not the players–should be berated.
Steve Goff, and I’m not picking on him, called the debacle, “an embarrassment for MLS.”
If that’s accepted to be the case, then today, Thursday, Don Garber and MLS officials should be posed the question of precisely what their expectations were for this exhibition game and whether they deem it a success.
In fact, with the game–poorly timely, poorly managed in season to begin with–being a lopsided affair, the league might owe it to the players to come out and take ownership of the set-up and express satisfaction with the efforts of the players who participated.
That said, over 70,000 fans got treated to seven goals (one from from home town man Brian Ching), most of the big stars and, from what we hear, a great evening at Reliant Stadium in Houston.