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ASG debate: keep or switch format?
by Paul Kennedy, August 5th, 2014 9:44PM

TAGS:  bayern munich, mls


[PORTLAND DAILY] Should MLS keep its current All-Star Game format in which its all-stars face a foreign club like they will Wednesday against Bayern Munich at Providence Park. Or should the league revert to an East-West format? Clint Dempsey and Thierry Henry are on opposite sides in the debate.

This is the 10th straight year MLS has brought in a foreign club to face its all-stars. They are 5-3-1 in the last nine seasons to go along with a 3-1 win over Guadalajara in 2003. In 2002, the MLS all-stars played -- and beat -- the U.S. national team, 3-2, in the aftermath of the its quarterfinal finish at the World Cup. The other seven All-Star Games were intraleague games -- six East-West games and one USA-World match.

Wearing his U.S. national team captain's hat, Dempsey advocated for a return to the East-West format as a way to reward more players.

“I think it would be cool to go back to the old system -- East vs. West -- because I think you could reward more players and you can reward more coaches for doing a great job,” he said at the pre-game press conference. “But at the same time, it's still exciting to play against a team like Bayern.”

Henry has been a big proponent of the current form, saying he never paid attention to the game until the MLS All-Stars started playing -- and doing well -- against foreign clubs.

"Hopefully, we can try to perform but it's not always easy," said Henry, who is playing in his fourth game. "I remember we had a good game against Chelsea [3-2 win in 2012], horrible one against United [4-0 loss to Manchester United in 2011] and we didn't touch the ball too much against Roma the last one [3-1 loss in 2013]."

1 comment
  1. John Soares
    commented on: August 6, 2014 at 9:06 p.m.
    I think EAST--- WEST could work well and be both fun and competitive. Perhaps more so than the current system. However an additional incentive will be necessary before players and coaches take the game seriously. MLB is a good example!?

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