This isn't a knock on the All Star Match, I wish I would have been able to make it down and cover it for you all, but rather it is to embrace the "trophies not friendlies" mentality. If there is a match that matters it should be treated as the priority by the fans, the players, the coaches, the organization, and the league over those that might look good as ticket sales but mean nothing long term.
Last night we saw two very interesting matches, first was the TFC vs. CD Motagua in which both teams played as if their lives depended on the outcome (which was a 1-0 win for TFC). TFC's line up was Frei, Attakora, Cann, Garcia, Usanov, de Guzman, De Rosario, Nane, Barrett, Peterson, and White. It was in fact one of their strongest possible lineups. The teams battled and it was Chad Barrett who gave his team a one goal lead heading into the second leg of this aggregate goal series.
The second match was also interesting but for a very different reason, it was the LA Galaxy vs Puerto Rico Islanders. LA stated a mixed lineup: Saunders, Berhalter, Lewis, DeLaGarza, Leonardo, Birchall, Donovan, Franklin, Gomes, Buddle, and Gordon. A solid mix of starters and reserves, but the result was a 4-1 win by the Islanders. Now the first two goals by the Islanders were solid goals, but LA had been the better team, but it was clear at the halftime break that LA wasn't playing well and everyone watching (including the commentators) could see it.
more after the jump:
So I am not sure to admire Bruce for trying to figure out a way to score, which left his team exposed and giving up more goals, or if I think he is a total idiot. You know there will be a second match, and instead of trying to solidify a defense that was struggling, he went offensive and dug himself a very deep hole. So from a coach that knows he is much more likely to be able to come back from a 2 goal deficit, he now faces a 3 goals gap with the opposing team having scored 4 away goals. This means LA would need to win by 4 goals, now you can ask what happened (MLS has it wrong, if they score 3 goals it would equal the score at 4-4 with the Islanders winning on away goals).
LA took shots, lots of them 23 with 7 on goal but one has to question what the LA players were thinking, were some distracted by the chance to face Man United in the All Star Match? Were some trying to figure out how many family tickets they could get for the August 7th friendly against Real Madrid? I simply don't know but I have seen LA play a good number of matches and this was one of their worst defensive efforts. One has to wonder what they will do differently when they head to Puerto Rico next week.
All of this leads me to recommend watching the Sounders who are saying that they are going to take the CCL very seriously, their match should be very entertaining and matter. The All Star match will be entertaining, but ManU is without several of their top players and will again play a rotating lineup of players as they have in their previous matches. The MLS will do the same thing, but with Landon and Buddle playing the full 90 last night, you can expect them to likely come on late in the match if at all. I expect that the LA players who didn't see action will get to start, so here is my guess at the starting XI for the MLS All Stars: Ricketts, Pearce, Marshall, Olave, Gonzalez, Davis, Joseph, Morales, Convey, Juan Pablo Angel, and Brian Ching.
So you can watch an entertaining match which will feature some big names in a match that means little to nothing, or you can watch a match that matters and will be played by players who are giving their all for their clubs. Oh I will watch the All Star match, right up to the point where the Seattle match comes on.
OFF MY SOAPBOX