Preview: All-Star Game
MLS All-Star team vs. Manchester United, 15th annual MLS All-Star Game
All-Time Record: This is the first match between the teams. The MLS All-Stars have won three times in four matches against teams from the English Premier League since 2005, losing only to Everton in penalty kicks in 2009.
8:30 pm ET; ESPN2, Galavision
What's at stake
After dispatching Chivas, Celtic, West Ham United, and Chelsea in previous editions, the 2010 MLS All-Stars face one of the most successful clubs in the world in Manchester United.
The MLS lineup includes US World Cup hero Landon Donovan, 2008 league MVP Guillermo Barros Schelotto, past World Cup selections in Brian Ching,Edson Buddle and Bobby Convey and seven-time MLS All-Star Shalrie Joseph.LA Galaxy coach and former US national team boss Bruce Arena leads the group.
Manchester United are in the middle of their preseason preparations, and several players that participated in the World Cup will not be playing on Wednesday night. The Red Devils still boast a star-studded lineup with the likes of superstars Ryan Giggs, Paul Scholes, Dimitar Berbatov and Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, who is the first Mexican player to sign with the Red Devils.
The All-Stars enter the match having had only two practice sessions together. In addition, the All-Stars from both the LA Galaxy and Toronto FC will likely see limited action Wednesday due to CONCACAF Champions League matches on Tuesday.
“We have two days to prepare [and to] come together as team. We know it will be difficult,” said Salt Lake keeper Nick Rimando. “We are all competitors when we cross this line and we want to win. We are representing our clubs and MLS.”
With a sell-out very likely at Houston's Reliant Stadium, the coaches and players are looking forward to participating in a great event for the league.
“We’re looking forward to the game,” said All-Star assistant and Houston Dynamocoach Dominic Kinnear. “It should be a wonderful crowd in a great stadium against one of the best teams in world football.”
Manchester United are playing the fourth of their five-game North American tour. After victories over Scottish side Celtic and the Philadelphia Union, the Red Devils were defeated by the Kansas City Wizards 2-1 on Sunday evening at Arrowhead Stadium.
The good news for Manchester United is the return of midfielder Nani, who saw significant minutes in his first game back from injury on Sunday against Kansas City. Darren Fletcher and John O’Shea, however, may miss the match on Wednesday night due to the same injuries that held them out against Kansas City.
United manager Sir Alex Ferguson won’t take many risks with his injured players, but he is determined that his team start the match Wednesday night better than they did against Kansas City.
“I think we also have to think a little tactically so we don’t give ourselves a problem starting the game,” Ferguson said. “We didn’t do that [against Kansas City] and we never started the game, and we gave ourselves problems from the start of the match.”
Heroes & Villains
Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez v. Chad Marshall – While no one knows how much time Chicharito will get in his debut for Manchester United, the speed and talent displayed at the World Cup this summer should make the All-Stars wary of the Mexican forward. Marshall has been a rock all year for the Columbus Crewand one of the league’s best defenders. Marshall and fellow All-Star Omar Gonzalez might be the foundation of a future US national team defense sure to face Hernandez and Mexico in the future.
Stat that makes you go "Hm…"
Three former MVPs of the MLS All-Star game are on the roster this year: Donovan (2001), Dwayne De Rosario (2006) and Juan Pablo Angel (2007). Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard is the only non-MLS player to win the award (2009) since MLS All-Stars began regularly playing international opponents in 2005.