- Posted by Drew Epperley
- On July 25, 2008
- 4 Comments
- BMO Field, Cuauhtemoc Blanco, David Beckham, Dwayne De Rosario, Edson Buddle, Jonathan Bornstein, Juan Toja, Kenny Cooper, MLS All-Star Game, MLS Expansion, Nolberto Solano, Shalrie Joseph, West Ham United
I feel as though the day after the MLS All-Star game I need to start announcing clean ups in aisle nine or something. So many stories from the game and the surrounding festivities this week. I kind of think we all underestimated just how big of an event this really truly was this year.
First off, I usually hate this current format for the All-Star game. A ‘select’ side of MLS players against a club in preseason form. But last night’s game just looked and felt better than some of the previous ones I’ve watched in this format. I don’t know if it was just the overall level of play out of the MLS side, or the quality game (3-2 scorelines are always entertaining), or if it was just because Toronto was one hell of a host.
But getting back to reality for second, it was a good win, not a great one for the league. Beating a club that typically finishes in the middle of the EPL won’t raise too many eyebrows about how the league is coming along in other parts of the world. It will look good for a day or two and then everyone will go about their merry way come Sunday when the week 18 games kickoff.
I loved the starting lineup for the league, even though the first 20 minutes were largely a total bore. But that is expect in a friendly of this nature. But once the goals started and things got moving in the second half with all the subs, the game kind of got this electric feel to it. It didn’t hurt to see three Canadians out there and have the home crowd got absolutely bananas for Dwayne de Rosario’s game winning penalty kick.
In all I think this game was a success and this week was a success for the league. So let’s look back on some more thoughts and news from the week and try to finish up that clean up that I first mentioned.
Cuauhtemoc Blanco easily was the man of the match. – I just wish I could have seen more. Blanco put on a nice show for the crowd with his goal and assist. Why ESPN decided the game winning PK was the goal of the game was beside me because Blanco’s strike before halftime was as cool as the other side of the pillow. He continues to show his value to this league. No offense to Toronto’s home boy De Rosario, but had DeRo been picked as the MVP I would have gone crazy!
David Beckham is still a class act. – I’m sure the Toronto fans were finally happy to see Becks play. He worked well with Blanco, Christian Gomez and everyone else last night. Its amazing watching him link up with classy players like Juan Pablo Angel too. It just makes the game so enjoyable to watch.
Shalrie Joseph is mighty good my friends. –There is a reason why I dubbed him my preseason pick for MVP this year. He won’t win because of where he plays on the field but damn this guy is so good and most don’t even see it. What I love about Joseph is he just continues to get the job done, no matter what game it is. He proved last night that he deserves another shot at going to Europe in a year or two (when his current deal is out of course!).
Bornstein may have impressed me the most. – Out of all the guys that I didn’t think deserved the All-Star bid, it was actually probably Chivas defender Jonathan Bornstein. But after last night he totally erased all of those thoughts with what he did on the field. If he plays even half as good as he did last night for the rest of the season, Chivas will be fine and will still contend out west.
Didn’t care for the MLS jerseys. – Black on a almost dark blue? Eh, I thought these kits were a miss for the most part. Why wasn’t it black on red shorts? I dunno, for me it may have been the only draw back to the game because it just looked weird to me on TV. I may be the only one on that though.
BMO Field looks great on TV. – I remember first seeing the renderings of BMO Field a couple years ago and thought it would be a crappy little venue but man was I ever wrong. I love this venue for MLS. Its not just the great fans but for some reason it comes across very nicely on TV. Okay, its probably because of the fans and the fact that we hardly ever see an empty seat there.
‘Bitchy’ the Hawk. – If you watched the ESPN telecast of the game you will know what I am talking about. Honestly never thought I would hear the name Bitchy on Primetime television.
FC Dallas has a tough week ahead. – Are they staying or are they going? We will see I guess whether or not Juan Toja will be in Romania next week and if Kenny Cooper will indeed go to Norway. Listening to Cooper during the second half last night gave me the impression (and both ESPN commentators) that he has played his last game in MLS. As for Toja, he denies but we all know he is leaving.
Buddle to stay or go? – Edson Buddle is also getting a nice look at by a Scandinavian club (probably Rosenborg) too. If he does go then you can pretty much bet that LA will land former West Ham United midfielder Nolberto Solano will indeed sign with the club. Though there is word he will probably sign regardless of what Buddle does or even what happens to Carlos Ruiz for that matter.
The expansion game. – Two more clubs in 2011. The league says they are going to strike while the iron is hot. I guess at MLS Cup we will know those two cities, or at least by MLS Cup will know of those two cities. My best is the cap will be raised in the coming year (the CBA ends soon) and with the new academies in place with most of the clubs we won’t have to question whether or not there is enough talent to fill these clubs, because we will.