[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]."