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MLS All Star 2008   By Aldwyn McGill

MLS All Star Game reach a Milestone in Canada

  vs

July 24,2008:  Major League Soccer (MLS) much publicized All Star game against West Ham United of the English Premier League was a first of its kind since the All Star game was introduced in 1997.

 

For openers the All Star game played at BMO Field in Toronto was the first the All Star game was played outside of the USA and with a record crowd the atmosphere was electric for what might have been one of the best MLS squad the league has ever assembled.

 

The patriotic and vocal Canadian supporters on hand was a bit rattled the crowd anticipated the Canadian national anthem would have follow the national anthem of England only to have the anthem of the United States played to their displeasure but on this day patience was a virtue since the Canadian anthem was played just before the game got on the road the crowds sang loud and proud after hearing two national anthems before hearing our own.

 

As the dust settled and the game started the players in turn were having their problems in settling down in the opening minutes of play. So much so that it was difficult to determine which team the home crowd was supporting after streamers were thrown at corner flags when both teams were taking their corners to add to the fair amount of West Ham supporters present.

 

There was also the occasional booing of some of the All-Stars which is expected since Toronto FC's rivalry with some of the MLS teams is quite intense and as Beckham got a dose of hostilities in this his debut game in Toronto the streamers were tossed to cover him when he took his corner kicks.

 

However the fans venting actions was momentary and took a back seat to the action on the field of play as the two teams settled down and the level of play increased by the minute, which was apparent as the high profile players were beginning to assert themselves with their exceptional skill which got them to this stage of their career.

 

All eyes were glued to the field as the pace of the game picked up tremendously and as expected every MLS free kicks favored David Beckham and the MLS All Stars since the run of play was not favoring either side with both teams having good spells of ball possession.

 

West Ham United was very quick on the counter attack from the onset and it was on one of their penetrating play that Dean Ashton received a head on pass from striker Carlton Cole to scored with a sizzler of a shot past goal keeper Matt Reis to give his team a 1-0 lead.

 

The MLS All Stars responded one minute later as Chicago Fire midfielder Cuauhtemoc Blanco back heeled a pass to send Colorado Rapids midfielder Christian Gomez in the clear at inside right to beat West Ham goalkeeper Robert Green with a shot into the far post. 

 

At this point of the game there was not doubt which team the crowd was supporting as the MLS faithful chanted “It’s All Your Fault” while pointing to the West Ham goal keeper after the MLS equalizing goal. The fun had just begun and as the battle on the field intensified the crowd continued kept chanting “We Want Brennan” in support of the Toronto FC's only All-Star on the squad in an effort to get him inserted into the game from on the MLS team bench.

 

At this point of the game MLS All star midfielder Blanco was having his way with his West Ham defenders down the left flank and it was on one of his maneuvers that he managed to put the MLS All-Stars in the lead after turning his defender inside-out on the left flank and sending a right footed in-swinger into the upper corner of the last post to give the MLS All Stars a 2-1 lead at halftime.

 

There was more action in store in the second half as Dwayne De Rosario and Jim Brennan was inserted into the game at the 59 minute as the crowd erupted after watch them warming up after the intermission. West Ham made sure that there was no premature celebration as Ashton scored his second of the game after his well taken shot was deflected to the right of a stranded Matt Reis in the MLS net to quiet the crowd.

 

The MLS team which had momentum offensively continued to press forward and with the 12th man advantage looming large it was only fitting that hometown Dwayne De Rosario fit the script as he provided the margin of victory at the 69 minute with a goal from the penalty spot. The penalty was awarded after De Rosario was fouled in the box as he cut in from the left side.

 

In the post game ceremonies Cuauhtemoc Blanco of the Chicago Fire was named the Volkswagen All-Star Game MVP of the 13th annual Pepsi Major League Soccer All-Star Game and paid tribute to his team mates for making his job easy and most important continuing the winning streak.

 

The West Ham victory was the fourth in a row for the MLS team over international competition and as such has improved their record to a perfect 5-0 overall since the MLS versus the World format was adopted in 2003 and it also gives the MLS All Stars a hat trick against London-based teams, in their defeated of Fulham, Chelsea, and now West Ham in 2005, 2006 and 2008 respectively.

 

West Ham United -- Robert Green, Lucas Neill, Calum Davenport, Anton Ferdinand, Joe Widdowson, Julien Faubert (Junior Stanislas 75), Hayden Mullins (Jack Collison 65), Scott Parker, Matthew Etherington (Luis Boa Morte 46), Dean Ashton (Kyel Reid 80), Carlton Cole (Tony Stokes 91+),

Substitutes Not Used: Jordan Spence, James Walker

 

MLS All-Stars -- Matt Reis (Pat Onstad 70), Jonathan Bornstein (Edson Buddle 88), Frankie Hejduk (Steve Ralston 88), Jimmy Conrad, Pablo Mastroeni, David Beckham, Christian Gomez (Jim Brennan 59), Shalrie Joseph, Juan Toja (Dwayne De Rosario 59), Kenny Cooper (Juan Pablo Angel 46), Cuauhtemoc Blanco (Landon Donovan 46). 

MLS All-Star Game History

Year

Result

MVP / Attendance

2008           

MLS 3, West Ham United 2
Recap & Box Score >

MVP: Cuauhtemoc Blanco
Attendance: 20,840

2007

MLS 2, Celtic 0
Recap & Box Score >

MVP: Juan Pablo Angel
Attendance: 18,000

2006

MLS 1, Chelsea 0
Recap & Box Score >

MVP: Dwayne De Rosario
Attendance: 21,210

2005

MLS 4, Fulham FC 1
Recap & Box Score >

MVP: Taylor Twellman
Attendance: 23,309

2004

East 3, West 2
Recap & Box Score >

MVP: Amado Guevara
Attendance: 21,378

2003

MLS 3, CD Guadalajara 1
Recap & Box Score >

MVP: Carlos Ruiz
Attendance: 27,000

2002

MLS 3, USA 2
Recap & Box Score >

MVP: Marco Etcheverry
Attendance: 31,096

2001

East 6, West 6
Recap & Box Score >

MVP: Landon Donovan
Attendance: 23,512

2000

East 9, West 4
Recap & Box Score >

MVP: Mamadou Diallo
Attendance: 23,495

1999

West 6, East 4
Recap & Box Score >

MVP: Preki
Attendance: 23,227

1998

MLS USA 6, MLS World 1
Recap & Box Score >

MVP: Brian McBride
Attendance: 34,416

1997

East 5, West 4
Recap & Box Score >

MVP: Carlos Valderrama
Attendance: 24,816

 

 

 

 

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