Join Now  | 
Home About Contact Us Privacy & Security Advertise
Soccer America Daily Soccer World Daily Special Edition Around The Net Soccer Business Insider College Soccer Reporter Youth Soccer Reporter Soccer on TV Soccer America Classifieds Game Report
Paul Gardner: SoccerTalk Soccer America Confidential Youth Soccer Insider World Cup Watch
RSS Feeds Archives Manage Subscriptions Subscribe
Order Current Issue Subscribe Manage My Subscription Renew My Subscription Gift Subscription
My Account Join Now
Tournament Calendar Camps & Academies Soccer Glossary Classifieds
MLS All-Stars put reputation on line
by Ridge Mahoney, July 24th, 2008 7AM
Subscribe to Soccer America Daily

MOST READ

MOST COMMENTED

Does the soccer world care if the MLS can run its winning record against foreign opposition in the All-Star Game to 5-0?

No, despite the fact it is being televised to nearly 100 countries (TV: ESPN, TeleFutura, CBC, live, 7 pm ET) )and approximately 300 media credentials have been issued.

But MLS players, coaches and executives care, and the head coach and players from West Ham United, the opponent for Thursday night's game at BMO Field, know that an MLS with David Beckham has boosted awareness of America's soccer league.

"David Beckham coming here has raised MLS a lot higher in England and in Europe," said striker Dean Ashton Wednesday, following a West Ham training session. "Everyone is talking about it. It's on the up and if it it keeps getting better a lot of players will want to come here."

Translated, West Ham may be just two weeks into preseason training and is short on fitness as well as match sharpness, yet there are positions up for grabs, and manager Alan Curbishley is expecting a better showing than the Hammers gave last Sunday in beating a mostly Columbus reserve squad, 3-1,  even though that match was played on grass, and FieldTurf is the surface for the All-Star Game.

"Artificial turf isn't ideal and we're not familiar with it, but we won't use that as an excuse," said Curbishley. "We came here to get two games because we thought it would help us in our preseason getting ready for the Premiership. A couple of our guys couldn't play in Columbus and but I expect them to play in this game, and a few others we'll just have to see how it goes."

All-Stars head coach Steve Nicol said much the same thing about two Houston players, midfielder Dwayne De Rosario and Pat Onstad, who played a twice-rescheduled league match Wednesday night in Washington.

"We'll see how they are when they arrive," said Nicol. "But I told all the players I can't guarantee if they'll start or how much they'll play."

Michael Parkhurst, Sacha Kljestan and Robbie Rogers were scratched from the All-Star squad when they were named to the U.S. Olympic team. Juan Toja, Jonathan Bornsteinand Steve Ralston were named as replacements, yet Toja and FC Dallas teammate Kenny Cooper have been negotiating possible transfer moves in the days leading up to the game, so in that respect, at least, both Curbishley and Nicol have distractions to consider as their teams prepare for a friendly.

MLS is 4-0 in matches against foreign club teams, having beaten Chivas Guadalajara (2003), Fulham (2005), Chelsea (2006) and Glasgow Celtic (2007). Those results might not resonate around the globe, but the MLS All-Stars take the reputation of their league seriously even if not a lot of other people do, Beckham or no Beckham.

"On the one hand, it was nice when it was East versus West and just the MLS guys getting together for a few days," says Landon Donovan of a format used in past seasons before MLS decided to pit its best against foreign opposition. "But a game like this means a lot more on so many levels, and as professional players, we're always anxious to face a challenge. We know West Ham is in preseason, but they're professionals, like we are, and nobody wants to lose any game. I expect us to play well and I know they'll want to give a good showing, too."

For Beckham, the game is a chance to reconnect with his boyhood from far across the Atlantic Ocean. Its name notwithstanding, West Ham is located in the East End of London, from whence Manchester United plucked him as a teenager after inviting him to train for a week while he was 14.

"It's great, being an East End boy playing against West Ham so many times with Manchester United and also scoring against West Ham, which didn't go down well with a few friends," he said. "But it's always nice to play against a quality team. They're a team that have got some good players and they're working towards the start of the Premiership. It'll be a tough game -- you always look forward to that."

MLS All-Star Roster:
Goalkeepers: Pat Onstad (Houston Dynamo), Matt Reis* (New England Revolution).
Defenders:Jim Brennan (Toronto FC), Jimmy Conrad* (Kansas City Wizards), Frankie Hejduk* (Columbus Crew), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA).
Midfielders: David Beckham* (Los Angeles Galaxy), Cuauhtemoc Blanco* (Chicago Fire), Dwayne De Rosario (Houston Dynamo), Christian Gomez (Colorado Rapids), Shalrie Joseph* (New England Revolution), Pablo Mastroeni (Colorado Rapids), Steve Ralston (New England Revolution), Juan Toja (FC Dallas).
Forwards:Juan Pablo Angel (forward, New York Red Bulls), Edson Buddle (Los Angeles Galaxy), Kenny Cooper* (FC Dallas), Landon Donovan* (Los Angeles Galaxy).
*First XI picks.

 



No comments yet.

Sign in to leave a comment. Don't have an account? Join Now




AUTHORS

ARCHIVES
FOLLOW SOCCERAMERICA

Recent Soccer America Daily
Video Pick: Sakho sent home after Alcatraz visit    
Here's the GoPro video of Liverpool's Alcatraz tour filmed by Mamadou Sakho before Coach Jurgen Klopp ...
MLS Injury Report: Timbers' Borchers out for season    
Portland Timbers defender Nat Borchers will miss the rest of the 2016 season with a ruptured ...
TV Report: MLS All-Star Game will air in Cuba    
The MLS All-Star Game will be broadcast for the first time in Cuba. MLS reached an ...
Crowd Count: MLS chases 2015 attendance record    
At the All-Star break, MLS clubs are averaging 21,429 fans a game, almost unchanged (down 0.6 ...
What They're Saying: Chinese soccer fan Netizen Liu Ningning    
"I don't mind spending money on the ticket, I don't have to watch the game, but ...
What They're Saying: Bill Edwards    
"As [head coach] Stuart [Campbell] said after the match, the officiating was disgusting. It was the ...
USL Rewind: Big crowd sees Cincy win River Cities Cup    
Drained by a busy schedule of league matches and a friendly against Crystal Palace, FC Cincinnati ...
NWSL Rewind: Goals rain down for Seattle    
The Seattle Reign, the two-time NWSL regular-season champion, scored a season-high five goals as it pounded ...
Video Pick: Giovinco aces two free kicks    
Sebastian Giovinco's hat trick in Toronto FC's 4-1 win over D.C United included two free-kick golazos, ...
NASL Rewind: Omar Bravo scores on debut    
Former Mexican World Cup striker Omar Bravo scored in his debut for the Carolina RailHawks in ...
>> Soccer America Daily Archives