The best of the MLS take on Manchester United in the 2011 MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday, July 27 at 8:30 p.m. from the Red Bull Arena in New Jersey. The match will air live and in HD on ESPN2.
No team has posed a significant threat to Manchester United on its US tour so far. New England Revolution fell 4-1. Seattle Sounders suffered a real beating, losing 7-0. Chicago Fire threatened early, but eventually gave way and lost 3-1. Granted, none of those MLS team have had particularly inspired seasons; perhaps it’s a bit unfair to match teams scraping the bottom of the table with the EPL champion. Hopefully, our super-team can present a real challenge to Rooney, Giggs and company.
David Beckham, who will face his former club in the U.S. for the first time, leads the All-Star lineup alongside Thierry Henry and Sporting Kansas City’s Omar Bravo (pictured). New York Red Bull’s Juan Agudelo and San Jose Earthquake’s Chris Wondolowski are coming off appearances with the USMNT at the Gold Cup, and while one played far better than the other, the experience should help prepare them both for the game. Kyle Beckerman’s late inclusion cheered me. He’s a terrific player and team leader at Real Salt Lake, but seems consistently undervalued by the league, national team and public in general. Is it the dreadlocks?
There are some noticeable absences from the All-Star lineup, Landon Donovan being the most obvious. He is out with a calf injury. However, since he’s spent a decent portion of the year sidelined with injury, his omission from the final roster is no real surprise.
For me, the real disappointment is first-team choice Brek Shea, who is unavailable due to FC Dallas’s CONCACAF Champions League obligations. This kid has been incredibly exciting to watch all season. (MVP anyone?) He plays with a swagger seldom seen in the MLS, and I like it. Though he’s probably not long for the US league anyway, it would’ve been great to see him match up against an international powerhouse like ManU.
Final MLS All-Star 2011 Roster:
Tally Hall, Houston Dynamo
Faryd Mondragon, Philadelphia Union
Kasey Keller, Seattle Sounders
Corey Ashe, Houston Dynamo
Matt Besler, Sporting KC
Geoff Cameron, Houston Dynamo
Bobby Convey, San Jose Earthquakes
Sean Franklin, LA Galaxy
Jamison Olave, Real Salt Lake
Heath Pearce, Chivas USA
Tim Ream, NY Red Bulls
Kyle Beckerman, Real Salt Lake
David Beckham, LA Galaxy
Brad Davis, Houston Dynamo
Jack Jewsbury, Portland Timbers
Shalrie Joseph, New England Revolution
Nick LaBrocca, Chivas USA
Juan Agudelo, NY Red Bulls
Omar Bravo, Sporting KC
Omar Cummings, Colorado Rapids
Thierry Henry, NY Red Bulls
Chris Wondolowski, San Jose Earthquakes
Unavailable due to schedule or injury:
Omar Gonzalez, LA Galaxy
Rafa Marquez, NY Red Bulls
Brek Shea, FC Dallas
Landon Donovan, LA Galaxy