New England Revolution coach Steve Nicol hit out at critics over the level of play in Major League Soccer Thursday night after coaching the league's All-Stars to a 2-0 victory over Scottish champion Celtic. "First of all, if you look at the people that are probably criticizing and having a go, they probably don't know anything about the game," he said, adding that the British press often diminishes the American league in order to sell papers. Nicol believes the All-Stars' comprehensive win -- which could have easily been by more -- against the UEFA Champions League-bound side will be a great boost to the league's profile.
Last year, the MLS All-Stars beat then-English champion Chelsea, 1-0, thanks to a thunderbolt from Houston's Dwayne De Rosario. The Canadian international was at the forefront again last night, controlling midfield along with Dynamo teammate Ricardo Clark. De Rosario created the first goal for Juan Pablo Angel, the game's MVP, and set up Juan Toja for the second, drawing a foul at the top of the box after nutmegging his defender.
"I think we deserved to win the game," Nicol said. "We've come a long way in 11 years and we've really reached a point where we may be on the threshold of really taking that extra step." The Revs coach lauded the league's decision to bring in players like Angel and David Beckham, who commanded most of the media's attention despite not playing Thursday night. Nicol said the former England captain would "up the ability and the professionalism and the desire of everybody around him," adding that at 32, he's not yet past his best.