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All-Stars Shouldn't Fear Celtic
USSoccerPlayers, July 19th, 2007 4PM

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Ian Plenderleith of USSoccerPlayers says MLS is on to something in ditching the East vs West All-Star format in favor of inviting the world's best teams to compete against its players. It's a pro-marketing and pro-competition move in the sense that both sides have an incentive to win: MLS wants to shirk its reputation as an also-ran league, while big clubs aim to preserve it.

Plenderleith says Thursday night's contest (TV: 9 pm ET, ESPN2, TeleFutura) is particularly well-positioned given Celtic's trip Stateside last year, when the Scottish champ left with its tail between its legs thanks to a 4-0 thumping from D.C. United. You can bet that the likes of Thomas Gravesen and Jan Vennegoor of Hesselink will be revved up to make sure that doesn't happen again. And you can bet the MLS All-Stars -- always ready, willing and attentive of having to prove themselves -- will be raring to go as well. Naturally, Coach Steve Nicol and his players said as much during Wednesday's press conference.

As Plenderleith says, "don't be fooled by those 41 Scottish titles next to their name," as the Scottish Premier League has been nothing but a two-horse race for years. Celtic is still a perennial underdog in the Champions League, and there should be no reason MLS can't pull off the same feat it did against Chelsea last year.

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