MLS All-Star Game 2012 - Summary and Analysis
2012 MLS All Star Game
Who Won the 2012 Major League Soccer All-Star Game?
On July 25th, 2012 at PPL Park in Philadelphia, the MLS All-Stars faced off against Champions League winners Chelsea FC. The game was an exciting match, with back and forth action, resulting in a 3-2 victory for the MLS All-Stars over Chelsea FC.
The MLS All Stars will take on AS Roma for the 2013 All Star Game.
Starting Lineups and Photos
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2012 MLS All-Star Game - Match Summary
With a lot of hype surrounding the MLS All-Star game as well as live coverage on ESPN2, there were high expectations for the game. The MLS All-Stars and Chelsea Football Club took the field at a picture perfect PPL Park with a sold out crowd.
The MLS All-Stars were made up of the best players from around Major League Soccer as chosen by fans, the media and coaches. Some notable players on the All-Star team included David Beckham, Thierry Henry, Landon Donovan, Chris Wondolowski, Dwayne De Rosario and Eddie Johnson.
In the first 20 minutes, both the All-Stars and Chelsea saw a few half chances that were cleaned up by the defense. But just a minute later, the MLS All-Stars took the lead.
In the 21st Minute Landon Donovan steals the ball from a Chelsea player and sends a quick overhead through ball to Henry on the left sideline who puts a cross in to the penalty area. Chris Wondolowski, the MLS leading goal scorer, darts in, beating John Terry to the ball, and finishes into the back of the net. The MLS All-Stars are up 1-0.
Chelsea was quick to retaliate.
In the 31st minute, Chelsea gets a corner which finds the head of John Terry who hits it into the upper 90. Goal for Chelsea, game tied 1-1.
As the first half comes to an end, the All-Stars outside defenders Justin Morrow and Steven Beitashour do well to keep Chelsea’s offense from getting many more chances.
At the start of the Second half, both Chelsea and the All-Stars make a handful of substitutes. As this is Chelsea’s preseason, they are looking to try different player combinations and get the players up to match fitness. The MLS All-Stars are trying to give everyone selected for the team and chance to play in the game.
Surprisingly, despite the substitutions, the tempo and pace of the game remains high, perhaps because of the desire of each team to win the game or maybe each players desire to perform well. Either way, there were more goals to be had in the second half.
In the 56th minute, MLS substitute goalkeeper Dan Kennedy comes up with a huge save that he pushes out for a corner. Chelsea take the resulting corner, which does little to threaten the All-Star goal, but their next chance is much more successful.
In the 58th minute, Chelsea collects the loose ball off the corner kick and Ramirez sends a cross in around the 6 yard box. Dan Kennedy comes out to catch the ball but cannot reach it. It falls to the feet of veteran Frank Lampard who kicks it in for an easy go ahead goal. Chelsea leads 2-1.
At the hour mark, Chelsea makes a number of substitutes. As the commentators pointed out, Chelsea substitutes world class players, for world class players. No depth issues on their bench.
The MLS All-Stars also continue to make changes, taking off Donovan, Beckham, Wondolowski and Henry to put on other MLS All-Star players, with a favorable result.
In the 73rd minute, DC United’s Dwayne De Rosario chases down a long ball supplied by David Beckham, and lays it back to DC United teammate Chris Pontius, who entered the game for Donovan. Pontius makes a perfect side footed shot that beats Chelsea’s ‘keeper at the near post. MLS ties the game 2-2.
The game continued into the final minutes with Chelsea putting strong pressure on the All-Stars Defense. But the MLS players defend well, and create chances of their own.
The game looks like it will result in a tie, which would lead to an exciting penalty shootout. But the All-Stars have a different idea.
In the 91st minute, halfway through stoppage time, Kyle Beckerman sends a through ball in for Eddie Johnson. Johnson streaks towards the goal with only one defender for company and takes his shot around the edge of the penalty area. It takes a big deflection off the Chelsea defender and lands in the back of the net. MLS All-Stars win 3-2.
The game was exciting throughout, with neither team dominating the other. On a different day, Chelsea might have won, but on that day, the MLS won.
MLS All-Stars Win
Eddie Johnson's Game Winning Goal
What Does a Win for the MLS All-Stars Mean?
A lot of people (mostly MLS fans), will speculate what this victory for the MLS All-Stars over Chelsea, means. Some might say it shows the MLS is just as good as any other league. Others might say the All-Stars got lucky.
I think it is really just one more step closer to getting the league on par with other leagues around the world, and gaining a little respect.
One can argue that this is preseason for Chelsea, and they were not fit, or really trying. But the MLS All-Star team was made up of players from around the league, who only had a few days to play together. I don’t think either team had an advantage.
At the end of the day, this is an exciting victory for the MLS which has grown significantly in the last 10 years (9 new teams, 13 new soccer specific stadiums, huge increase in fans and TV coverage). These types of games are more for fun than anything else, and as a fan of good soccer, I thoroughly enjoyed watch the 2012 MLS All-Star Game.
Write your thoughts on the MLS All-Star game and what the win means, in the comments below.