Does Anyone Care About the MLS All Star Game?

 Does Anyone Care About the MLS All Star Game?

The 2010 MLS All Star Game is tonight at 8:30pm ET (ESPN2), which will feature the best players from Major League Soccer versus Manchester United.

While I’ll definitely watch the game, I’m honestly not that excited about it. Yes, I’d love to see a good game but as with all pre-season friendlies, the game is meaningless. My sense is that most followers of Major League Soccer give the game more credence than followers of Premier League clubs do. Perhaps many MLS fans believe it’s a chance to see how the league compares to one of the best Premier League teams?

To me, though, no matter if the MLS All Star team wins 4-0 or vice-versa, it’s completely irrelevant. It’s a game that’s scheduled to promote Major League Soccer, to generate revenue for Manchester United, to give players a chance to practice and to provide us, the viewing audience, with something to watch. No more, no less.

The concept of an all-star game began with baseball in 1933 when the best of the American League played the best of the National League. The mere idea of such a game is frivolous, other than the reasons stated above. Would anything change if the MLS All Star Game was eliminated? Even if it did, we would still have an opportunity to watch foreign teams from overseas play friendlies in the States. There would be just one fewer game.

What do you think? Share your opinion in the comments section below.

About Christopher Harris

Founder and publisher of World Soccer Talk, Christopher Harris is the managing editor of the site. He has been interviewed by The New York Times, The Guardian and several other publications. Plus he has made appearances on NPR, BBC World, CBC, BBC Five Live, talkSPORT and beIN SPORT. Harris, who has lived in Florida since 1984, has supported Swansea City since 1979. He's also an expert on soccer in South Florida, and got engaged during half-time of a MLS game. Harris launched EPL Talk in 2005, which was rebranded as World Soccer Talk in 2013. View all posts by Christopher Harris →
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49 Responses to Does Anyone Care About the MLS All Star Game?

  1. David says:

    I don’t know what it takes for people to understand that it’s a preseason match for Man Utd and a chance for the best in MLS to play a top tier club in the world of soccer.

    I think that this is a great idea from the MLS point of view. Where Basketball, Baseball and Hockey all-star games are down in attendance and viewing by anywhere from 40-70% over the last couple years, this structure of an all-star game actually holds decent TV ratings (despite the fact it’s now only on cable channels) and sells out 40k+.

    What are you looking for exactly, Gaffer? We have all learned that the game doesn’t mean that the MLS all-star team is better than Chelsea, Everton or anyone else they’ve beaten and that it’s a tune up for the visiting club. But I think it’s a win-win and don’t understand the hate for the match that many MLS fans look forward to attending (since they never get to see big names, plus it attracts new fans to see said names) and it’s a chance for the club team to really prepare for the season against a team that wants to prove they’re not scrubs.

    • Kevin says:

      There hasn’t been a spare ticket for an NBA all star or MLB all star game in years. I’ll grant you that television ratings are down, but attendance is very very very strong.

      As for the MLS all star game, I really don’t care. I actually care a little less about this match in comparison to the other friendlies. At least when Manchester United take on KC we can see a glimpse of how our teams would play against a facsimile of a top team. With the All Star game we get a rag tag bunch of players who haven’t played together going up against a shell of a legitimite side.

  2. CTBlues says:

    I plan on having the game on in the background while my friends and I hang out tonight. Hope the All-Stars beat those dirty Mancs.

  3. Randall says:

    Gaffer,
    As an MLS and EPL fan I am excited for the game tonight. I wouldn’t say the game is completely meaningless, especially for the MLS XI. In the end, the result is irrelevant, but the game does promote the league, which is ultimately a good thing. It’s the one chance to see the best of the best in MLS compete with a big time club. At the very least, it’s a novelty that isn’t seen in the other friendlies.

    Compare the MLS ASG to the other major American All Star Games. I would much rather watch tonight’s game than the Pro Bowl, the boring MLB ASG, or the glorified scrimmage that the NBA ASG has become. Yes, it’s still merely an exhibition, but I think it’s worth watching.

    • eplnfl says:

      Randell well said so on point. The All Star game is something that American’s may understand more. It’s a celebration, an event, an appreciation of the sport that American’s enjoy. Turn it into a festival of sport and you appreciate it. Ok, the result does not matter but it’s nice to get a win for your team.

      Lasts years game with Everton was a good one. I also think MLS All Stars vs. and EPl team of some note is a god match up for the US fan base.

  4. RayO says:

    The “All-Star” game has jumped the shark a long time ago whether it be in the NFL, MLS, NBA, MLB or underwater basket weaving. The threat of million dollar athletes getting hurt in a meaningless exhibition dictates it so.

    • Mike Fahey says:

      Among the North American sports, baseball best lends itself to an all-star format. This is because it requires very little coordination among team mates and there is almost no physical contact between opponents. American football requires a high degree of synchronization among teamates on both sides of the ball, and, like ice hockey, it is a rough, almost violent undertaking, unsuited to a “friendly” match. The National Basketball Association all-star game can be an engaging event between the equivalent of two immensely skilled “pick up” teams. It strikes this neophyte soccer fan that when it comes to all-star teams, the game most closely resembles basketball, except that it requires more cohesion between teammates.
      The Major League Baseball all-star game was a much more compelling event when American League fans had little or no chance of seeing players from the National League and vice-versa, either live or on television.

  5. sucka99 says:

    Back in 1933 the only time NL players would play AL players was if they made it to the world series. In that sense, this is much the same as the MLS teams will never play Man United as they’ll likely never get this chance to play Man United again.

  6. cam5131 says:

    The All-Star Game, while a tad cheesy, is still a fun event to watch. I just wish MLS wouldn’t schedule the game midweek when SEA, LA, and TOR have CONCACAF Champions League matches.

    • CTBlues says:

      Its not like it really matters the MLS sides don’t care about the CONCACAF Champions Leagues and noramlly send the b teams to matches which is a disgrace.

  7. McQueen says:

    Now that one of my Earthquakes is on the squad–GO CONVEY!–I’m suddenly interested!

    But seriously, I think it’s fun. It’s another chance to watch a football game instead of channel surfing or doing chores. I won’t say I’m too invested in the outcome, but I’ll happily watch the game.

    I know it might be fashionable to hate MLS, but come on.

  8. __wowza says:

    meaningless? partially.
    our seasons don’t match up at all really. if we could play one at the end of the EPL and start of the MLS, that would work. you could have a team play the MLS all stars as a cooldown, whilst we play as a warmup, or vice-versa. i’m not down with all of this mid-season shite, i don’t want any TFC players going anywhere when we’ve got important league games to play on top of the champions league. it’s pointless for them, on one side, they have to prove something, on the other, they look bad if they’re not working as hard as they possibly can.

  9. We love it because it brings the best teams over here. We get to see EPL teams on our turf. It doesn’t matter that it doesn’t matter. Its a chance to experience live the players that we see on the tele. Its an opporutnity to oogle their wives in the box seats above us. Its an opening for players like Henry to consider moving across the pond to live next door to Tom Cruise or Donald Trump. We want them here ’cause they give us stiffies. Its a win-win rinny tin tin.

  10. Ivan says:

    I am actually excited about the game!Yes, the “trophey” at the end is cheesy and unnecessary, but it is a good showcase for the league and an occasion to show the progress MLS has made on and off the field (Puerto Rico Islanders humiliating the Galaxy last night notwithstanding).
    Reliant should be full to capacity tonight and it makes me feel good about where soccer is going in the US. So, yes, I will be watching tonight!

  11. Erich B. says:

    I’m looking forward to it, as the format is unique when compared to the all-star games of the other major American sports leagues. I think the game lost a little of its luster for me when KC beat ManU on Sunday, as it would have been nice to have ManU come into this match with a perfect record on their tour.

    I would also agree that it is unfortunate that the match is taking place during a week when some of the MLS clubs have crucial champions league fixtures.

    At the end of the day, it is a match that will provide me with a temporary fix until the EPL season begins 8/14.

  12. alan says:

    certainly worthwhile, football in the U.S. is becoming increasingly popular, more people playing, watching and coaching.
    They seem to have a good structure in place and its only a matter of time (given the sheer number of people) that they catch up with the rest of Europe.
    These games keep providing that spark and pushing up interest.
    Looking forward to it myself

  13. Chris says:

    With UEFA CL, CCL, and Copa Libertadores I have enough games to watch today. wont even bother watching this shiet.

  14. troy says:

    I’ll be watching with some friends this evening, but in actuality only because I’m an MUFC supporter. To be honest, if there was another club playing (take fulham, chelsea, sevilla, or pretty much anyone else) I may watch but I wouldn’t be disappointed if I missed it. Despite the fact that these exhibitions are devoid many things that make the league fixtures in the EPL great, it’s what I expect. It’s the preseason. (Hell, even SAF said he’s not investing much into this year’s community shield when they get back across the pond. He’s already focused on Newcastle.)

    Gaffer, I agree with your point. It’s amazing how many people take preseason friendlies seriously or as an indicator of what is to come. Americans already know how useless the NFL, MLB, NBA, and NHL preseasons are, so what makes what happens with EPL, La Liga, SPL, Serie A, Bundesliga, or other leagues any different? I’ll tall you what, if MUFC has Obertan in the starting XI at Stamford Bridge, then I’ll take notice. (However, I do think Gibson is in for a big year as someone that can work the midfield and be a scoring threat from distance.)

  15. Tommy W says:

    I love the all-star game. Nuff said

  16. andrew says:

    Watch the Sounders game tonight instead.

  17. njndirish says:

    I’ll watch the first 2/3 of this then switch to the Sounders

    All-Star games, if played with fun in mind, are very enjoyable experiences in leagues that have them in midseason (Pro-Bowl is mindnumbingly stupid)

    If both teams come out tonight with the thought in mind to play high paced, low physicality, attacking football, then the All-Star game is a treat, but if either United or the All-Stars come out and play to win before playing for fun, it will be dull

  18. Lenny says:

    I’ll watch, but I’m certainly not excited about it. Between the World Cup break, the international friendlies, and now the All Star Game, there have been so few meaningful MLS games of late. I’d rather see an All Star Game after the MLS season, even if it means not having an international side involved.

    I’m excited about RBNY vs. Houston on Saturday, this match not so much.

  19. UpTheBlues says:

    Let’s hope the All-Stars can beat them.

  20. seattlered says:

    To answer your question, nope, I don’t care about a meaningless MLS all-star game. Thats why I watch Team USA in international competitions.

    Would prefer to get rid of all star games and let real teams play each other a la KC vs ManUre or USA vs England.

    I agree with andrew, I’d rather watch the Sounders game, or any Liverpool game because they’re my favorite teams.

  21. Jay says:

    I hate allstar games. For any sport. I can’t remember the last time I ever watched one. Oh wait, I remember. 1991.

  22. Tom says:

    I thought it was good fun when it was here in Denver. I was against it before then, I’ve been for it ever since. It is not “must see” TV, but if I’m home, I’ll watch it.

  23. paul says:

    I watch the mls and I care.
    Not in a “oh man WE better win!!!”, but in a “it should be fun” type of care.

    It’s like any other allstar game, its fun. That’s all. You either like these things or you don’t.
    I don’t understand what people need to do to “care”.

  24. Dave C says:

    I have the feeling it might be better if both teams genuinely felt honored to be there (as might be the case in other sports). For obvious reasons, Man Utd players probably couldn’t care less about being there – for them, playing in the all-star game is no more significant than playing a friendly against anyone else.

    I wonder if it could be more exciting if the MLS all-stars played some other kind of “all star” team. I appreciate that a “world all-stars team” or an “EPL all stars team” is completely unfeasible, but what about something like MLS vs a Japanese league all-star team? Or a Mexican league all-star team?

    I mean obviously the issue of players not wanting to risk injury in an exhibition would still apply, but I just think it would add a little excitement if there was some prestige involved for both teams.

    Also, it is absolutely ridiculous that an all-star game happens at the same time as CCL games? Which one takes priority?

  25. Arby says:

    I know a few young kids here in the U.S. that will be watching this game. To them, it means a lot.

  26. hunglow says:

    i totally disagree with the comment on this game is meaningless….the game will not only generate revenue for the red devils org. but provide a small boost to the houston economy as well as promote what i consider the world’s game in the U.S….it is a chance to measure mls, yes but also there is going to be some nice play these are not chumps and some players had opportunity to play in the EPL…..so to say it is “meaningless” is seeing this promotion from a small perspective

  27. OC says:

    Wow Gaffer, trying to cover Manchesters behind before the game by calling it “irrelevant” and “meaningless”? i gotta say, im getting tired of these articles that DONT DIRECTLY attack MLS, but they do. If your so tired of these things, why not just keep watching EPL replays of FSC and forget about MLS and everything around it. Maybe reconsider moving back to England?

    • The Gaffer says:

      OC, I’m not attacking MLS. I’m just saying that I’m not that excited about the game. It’s just my opinion. I don’t watch Premier League replays on FSC either. But I do care about MLS. When they had a team here, I was a season ticket holder.

      I just wish there was a MLS team within 1,000 miles of my home in the United States.

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

  28. OC says:

    And by saying “The mere idea of such a game is frivolous” just confirmed my belief. MLS and AMERICA WILL NOT BE LIKE ENGLAND! We are two different countries, with different tastes. GET OVER IT Gaffer. Seriously, stop being EPL centric. You want EVERYTHING to be the same between the two leagues.

    • The Gaffer says:

      OC, when did I say I wanted the two leagues to be the same?

      Cheers,
      The Gaffer

      • OC says:

        Well, reading your past posts, you continuously critic America’s soccer “ways” i.e. commentators, this game, and many other things. you also always seem to compare the EPL with MLS in some instances too. Yes, i understand its your opinion, your entitled to it, you can say what you want obviously, its just…. it gets me worked up, just like when a stupid co-worker tells me soccer is for girls. Sorry Gaffer, its just that you got my feelings going…

    • Jay says:

      Why does this have to be an America vs. England thing? Heck this isn’t really even a Soccer thing. I have plenty of friends (American) who like me, hate allstar games. They are pointless (to us).

      If you like allstar games, good for you. But a lot people don’t (including plenty of ESPN talking heads, are they EPL centric?).

  29. The_NZA says:

    oc, you have got to be kidding me? “Seriously, stop being EPL centric.” YOUR ON A BLOG NAMED EPL TALK, i would be worried if this blog wasn’t epl centric!

  30. The Gaffer says:

    OC, no worries, but in many ways, I support MLS and the game in the United States. I’m not one of those rah-rah bloggers who refuse to be honest in their criticism about MLS. I don’t wear rose-tinted glasses.

    As far as commentators go, I went on the record as being one of the first to publicly come out and criticize ESPN for deciding to pick an all-European team of lead commentators. I said that there should have been one or more US lead commentators in this World Cup.

    I also criticized the English commentators that Fox Soccer Channel was using during the early rounds of last season’s Champions League tournament and wrote articles in support of North American-based commentators doing the commentary.

    Whenever possible, I try not to make direct comparisons between MLS and EPL. They are two totally different leagues.

    Cheers,
    The Gaffer

  31. dlink09 says:

    i can’t listen to John harkes, i may surf around..

  32. ben says:

    no not at all

  33. brn442 says:

    “It’s a game that’s scheduled to promote Major League Soccer, to generate revenue for Manchester United, to give players a chance to practice and to provide us, the viewing audience, with something to watch. No more, no less.”

    Wow, Gaffer, even you sorted it out at the end – it makes the thesis of your article superfluous doesn’t it.

  34. eplnfl says:

    After it’s all done it can be shown why All Star games are fun and important and that it was another great night for soccer in America,

  35. ben says:

    i think these games are dangerous for the MLS and give a false reading on how good the MlS actually is. You dont see manchester united v mls alstars
    in any of these freindlys. Especially after a world cup and the main players still resting. You see the Manchester United reserves against the MLS. Giggs and scholes are no longer considered first team regulars although they do still play a substantial amount of games generally against the lower teams. The rest of the Side is made up of Young players many of whome will be loaned out at the start of the season, after fergie asses them on this tour. If you want to see how the american league stacks up you need to play a full side when match fit, not a second string side who isnt match fit and in the middle of pre season, playing against fully match fit americans. Only then can you see how you really stack up against the premiership

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