The 2012 MLS All-star game will see Chelsea FC of the English Premier League coming across the pond to play the best of the MLS when the All-Star game is played in Philadelphia July 25. It's the first time since 2006 that Chelsea will take part.
Because the game will be played in PPL Park, Peter Nowak, the Philadelphia Union's coach, will be in charge of the MLS group. The Union are currently one off the bottom of the Eastern Conference table with only one point on the season. The team overhauled their roster in the offseason, including sending star striker Sebastien Le Toux to the Vancouver Whitecaps.
While the Union are floundering, there are more than a few outstanding players around the MLS who should give Chelsea plenty of challenge when they face off. There will surely be some faces new to the All-star game, including league veterans rising and newcomers showing promise.
MLS team will be different from last season
One more of the more frustrating MLS players who just might be at the All-star game is the New York Red Bulls' Kenny Cooper. He's having a breakout year after being underwhelming most of last season for my hometown Portland Timbers. He's only two goals shy (6) of his entire production (8) in 2011.
Chelsea may well be fielding the side just coming off winning the Champions League. They are in the semis, but advancing beyond that level will be their biggest challenge yet. Chelsea are up against defending side FC Barcelona. If the English team falters against the juggernaut, the MLS will be playing a team defeated by FC Barcelona two years running.
Last year saw Manchester United falter in the Champions League final, and they took out some revenge on their U.S. tour, easily winning each match played. On the tour United beat the MLS All-Stars, got revenge on Barca, and thumped the Sounders in Seattle, 7-0.
Chelsea will also be making the trip to Seattle to take on the Sounders prior to heading to Philadelphia. They will face The Sounders at CenturyLink Field July 18. Chelsea are also battling for the FA Cup, and are in the semifinals of that contest. They could come to the United States with a lot of silverware, or looking to play out some frustration.
Chelsea will be wanting to avenge
When Chelsea played the All-Stars in 2206, the MLS side won a 1-0 decision. Playing for pride and to seek revenge for that score will certainly play a part as well. Chelsea will have the advantage of coming off their season and being in top form, while the MLS team won't have that much time playing together as a unit.
However it turns out, the game will be fun to watch. If the MLS team can prevail, they will raise their international stature immensely.
Jeff Musall is a lifelong fan of international soccer and loves the MLS as well, being a strong Portland Timbers fan. He is excited about Chelsea taking on the All-Stars and wants to see a great match.
- Chelsea FC
- English Premier League