Poor Performance By MLS All-Stars No Reflection On Players


That was the final score of the 2010 NBA All-Star game this year.

Ryan Giggs vs. Shalrie Joseph...

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.

19 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Fernando Sanchez on 2010/07/29 at 3:43 AM

    MLS ALL STAR WITH NO STARS ON THE OPENING….? Something smell fishy over here …Now here .come the excuses…If this is MLS master plan to attract more American fans to the sport….Congratulation s


  2. Posted by seamus on 2010/07/29 at 4:58 AM

    what’s inaccurate about calling United “Man U”?

    i have more than one friend from Greater Manchester who are United fans and they often refer to the club as Manyoo.

    I think constantly referring to the Premier League as “EPL” is more of a peeve for me.


    • Someone, I can’t recall who or when, commented on this site that ManU is a derogatory term used by opposition fans. It has something to do with ManUre and the 50’s Munich Air disaster. If that’s the truth it’s a distatsteful name to call the club, and ESPN should’ve known better, but I can’t say I’m surprised that they didn’t.


  3. Posted by donald kelley (boston) on 2010/07/29 at 5:59 AM

    I agree with Steve Goff, the game was an embarrassment for MLS. No doubt, MLS management will be very pleased with the turnout and revenue and visibility. But make no mistake, the seeds of discontent have been sown. Over time, they will sprout and flourish if this scheduling fiasco is not dealt with.

    It gets down to money and resources. If MLS management thinks the all Star event is important, then it should allocate time for it by scheduling a single weekend as an All Star ‘break’ — a mid-season breather/celebration for everyone else. Suck it up guys, it’s going to mean one week of lost revenues.

    Trying to squeeze the game in mid-week is a half-baked approach that is sure to get half-baked results. In time, the talented MLS players and the loyal MLS fans will dismiss the All Star game as a farce. Even the visiting teams like Manchester United will lose interest and wander off. Who wants to be associated with a farce?


    • Posted by MichaelN on 2010/07/29 at 6:14 AM

      Manchester United will lose interest in playing in front of 70,000 fans in late July? Also – I agree with the “true break” concept, but this year was already interrupted for three weeks by the WC Group Stages.


  4. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/29 at 6:37 AM

    Yes, they got 70,000 last night, but so would a quality NBA or MLB match up if the stadium allowed. I am guessing that a lot of this is to do with Man. Utd. being the opponent. What I am saying is that the issue isn’t that there are not football fans in the States, it’s that there are not as many MLS fans in the States. Obviously moving in the right direction, but the MLS executives need to get down from that sugar pedestal.

    Calling Man. Utd., “Man U” isn’t inaccurate, it’s more disrespectful as it has negative connatations to the Munich Air Disaster. But to be honest, that’s not necessarily the case in 2010, especially with the younger generation, it’s just another abbreviation rather than a sick reference to an awful tragedy.


    • Posted by kaya on 2010/07/29 at 2:02 PM

      I’ve heard (OK, read) this “Man U refers to the Munich Air Disaster” business before, but don’t get it. No one *ever* referred to them as that before? And Man U is supposed to be an obvious, insulting reference to this occasion?


      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/29 at 2:52 PM

        Man U Never Intended Coming Home.

        The *only* person who has ever mentioned this to me growing up was my mate’s late grandad (who was alive in ’58). I have heard this mentioned more in the 6.5 years I have been Stateside than in the 31+ years I was in London…


    • Posted by Faith on 2010/07/30 at 6:53 AM

      The crowd size definitely was definitely thanks to Manchester United rather than the MLS. I was at the game, and I’d say 70% of the crowd was rooting for them.


  5. Are you intentionally calling chicharito a girl?

    Habla un poquito de español,

    Bill Mill


  6. Also, anyone see Garber’s “rephrasing” on Donovan?

    “Landon is an incredibly important part of the American soccer movement and to have him lead MLS after performing on the world stage, is extremely valuable,” league commissioner Don Garber told Reuters on Tuesday.
    “I am pleased that he renegotiated his deal for several more years and I hope that he will stay here for the rest of his career …(but) it’s not my decision, it’s Landon’s decision and L.A. Galaxy’s decision.”



  7. Posted by Sam on 2010/07/29 at 10:44 AM

    My biggest gripe is that the post-game commentary and player interviews were all about/with Landon, who only played for fifteen minutes and didn’t do much else but prove to the world that he is a whooole lot shorter than Van Der Sar.

    At what is supposed to be a marquee event there was a lot of problems. For instance, it was hard to figure out if the All-Stars wanted to win the game or just give everyone a chance to play grade-school-style.

    Seeing a few guys who were left off the world cup squad play pretty was interesting. Chad Marshall and Ching did well, although Marshall showed why he was left off more than Chingy did in my opinion.

    In a world where I don’t care about winning and losing I was really excited to see Jaime come on. Moreno kind of reminds me of Charles Barkley, I don’t know why but I get a big smile when I see him on TV. Really totally awesome dude, he is. I bet he will be at DC United games after he retires playing drums with Barra Brava, hell, he’ll probably even be tailgating. Players don’t come around like him all that often and it’s going to be sad to see him go.

    The game was kind of a bummer in a lot of ways. Although, It was funny to watch Man Yoo get handed a trophy in a near empty stadium.


  8. Posted by kaya on 2010/07/29 at 2:03 PM

    Wasn’t able to watch this in the end… guess I didn’t miss much. Yikes!


  9. Posted by Nelson on 2010/07/29 at 2:20 PM

    I think this game showed that the MLS backline needs to be speedier more than anything else. Chicharito’s chip was offside. So really it’s a 4-2 scoreline. Something I’ve seen my beloved Spurs suffer at the hands of Manchester United. All in all, it would’ve been a great game had the MLS started a better first 11.


  10. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/07/29 at 2:57 PM

    I think the MLS executives need to carve out the weekend in the season this game deserves. It was utter madness that Galaxy players were considered considering they played 24 hours earlier. Donovan’s cameo role was just keeping up appearances as he is the face of the MLS. If they want to maximise this game, then they could also give the MLS players a few more training sessions together too.


    • Posted by Faith on 2010/07/30 at 7:01 AM

      Agreed! It’s not surprising that they lost when you consider how little they’ve played together. And you’d think that MLS would want to milk Donovan & Buddle’s fame for all it’s worth and have them play the whole time, but that’s kind of impossible when they schedule the game like they did.


  11. Posted by Dinho on 2010/07/29 at 3:14 PM

    Here’s what they should do… play a real “All-Star” game. East v. West.


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