The MLS All-Star Game is meant to be a celebration of the league. The game should be a showcase of the talent that Major League Soccer has to offer, and of how far the sport has come in this country. The current "MLS vs. the World" format has failed at this objective. Four times in the past five years the MLS All-Stars have failed to win the game, allowing a single foreign team to topple the best an entire league has to offer. While there are excuses to be made, the message sent by these failures is damaging to the league’s image and success.
How can we recruit the world’s top talents if they see MLS as a joke? How do we convince American soccer fans who ignore MLS to change their opinions when they see the All-Stars loose to the very European teams that they support? Allowing the All-Stars to lose to foreign opposition doesn’t showcase the league, it damages it.
An East vs. West All-Star format would be a real showcase. There would be a winner and a looser, but that looser would never be the league. Instead of throwing 20 guys who have trained together only once on the field against a team that is still in preseason, the contest would be between two teams on level footing. It would mean those Inactive All-Stars who get the bonuses but don’t take the field would all have an opportunity to play.
Until 2002 the MLS All-Star Game did use the East vs. West format. The league scraped that traditional format for a few reasons, partially because MLS could not throw together two adequate defenses to handle the offensive ability that featured in the game. This led to an average of 9.33 goals per game. Now, more than a decade later, with the talent that this league has to offer, lack of defensive ability can no longer be an argument against the East vs. West format.
We are calling on American and Canadian soccer fans to sign this petition and support the movement to bring back the East vs. West All-Star Game format. This change will help to attract more American fans to MLS, improve the quality of the All-Star Game, and forever do away with the embarrassment of watching our league lose to a foreign team.