Red Bull Arena Will Host The 2011 MLS All-Star Game

Everyone was curious to know what the big announcement was coming from the front office of Major League Soccer this week. Some were expecting the announcement of the 2011 regular season schedule, or possibly the long awaited new playoff format. Well you would be wrong on both accounts.

The big announcement shared Tuesday was the return of the MLS All-Star Game to the New York City Tri-State area and this time instead of the Meadowlands it will be at second year Red Bull Arena. During the conference call with Los Angeles Galaxy player Landon Donovan and New York Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry, MLS Commissioner Don Garber took questions from the media on the special topic.

The main question that got me thinking was why won’t this game be played at the 70,000 seat New Meadowlands Stadium like it was last season down in Houston’s Reliant Stadium against Manchester United? For the first time in my opinion Don Garber wants to showcase 25,000 seat Red Bull Arena to the world. To show everyone that the game really matters in the United States and for once showing the brand new jewel of American stadiums instead of worrying about how much money can they fill their pockets.

Every year since changing the format from east versus west to the league versus a popular European club or that one year against Chivas of Guadalajara from Mexico, the league shows the world that MLS is a strong league and reap the rewards as well. It’s always exciting to see these clubs from Europe prepare for their upcoming seasons and coming to the States to appease their American fan base.

I remember the first two All-Star Games at Giants Stadium when MLS got started. When the club was known as the MetroStars, Tab Ramos scored the very first MLS All-Star goal along with keeper Tony Meola, midfielder Roberto Donadoni and striker Giovanni Savarese on the side. The East defeated the West three goals to two and since then it’s been a lot of fun to watch.

But for the last two seasons I have felt that the all-star game has outlived its usefulness. I understand that the other four professional sports have all-star games and it helps celebrate their sport for their mid-season. The NHL all-star game in Raleigh, North Carolina was changed up. Instead of an east versus west or North America versus the world, it was a fantasy hockey manager’s dream when one team led by Nicklas Lidstrom of the Detroit Red Wings drafted players against another team led by hometown player Eric Staal of the Carolina Hurricanes.

The NFL Pro Bowl has been considered a waste and they keep on trying to make it interesting by playing it before the Super Bowl. MLB’s mid-season classic has the league winner with four of the seven games in the World Series.

I still feel MLS needs to stop having the All-Star Game because it’s truly a waste of a day where we should put in a US Open Cup Round proper date, or if it’s a CONCACAF Champions League match. Those should be the most important things to see.

17 thoughts on “Red Bull Arena Will Host The 2011 MLS All-Star Game”

  1. I do think the American sports phenomenon of “All Star Games” has run its course in terms of the general public. I am a big fan of the NFL, but I NEVER watch the Pro Bowl. The most exciting part of the recent NHL All Star Weekend was the draft itself; the game an exercise in not getting injured.

    Of course, baseball’s version is the blueprint for all others. But upon thinking about it, baseball is probably the most “All-Star-able” sport of them all, and it’s the most successful in my opinion. Baseball is by far the most individual sport of them all, when it comes to the pure action of how the game is carried out.

    Here’s what I think…instead of MLS All Star Game…why not carry out a Cup during the first half of the season, with the winner earning the ability to play a European powerhouse in prime time? The team gets a huge part of the proceeds from the event. It would be an incentive to field a quality squad, and really gun for an opportunity to take a huge haul from a 75,000 seat arena against a club like Manchester United.

    1. Much as I can see the attraction of using a game against a big European team as a reward for winning some sort of cup, in reality I don’t think it would work. MLS teams get to play against European teams in the summer anyway. So what would distinguish some cup-winning MLS team vs a Euro team from a regular run of the mill MLS team vs a Euro team in an arranged friendly? The fixture would just be lost in the sea of MLS vs Euro team match-ups.

      I kind of like the All-star game the way it is.

    2. MLS All-Star game sells out stadiums, gets good ratings, and gets people talking about MLS on a national level. A single club playing against a giant is too polarizing.

  2. I’m not a defender of all things MLS, but I like the All-Star game. It was a fun night out in Colorado a few years ago, and it is hard team to make in our league because it is not two teams but one. I think it is fine if it goes to MLS stadiums some years, and bigger football stadiums in others. I’d like to see a Latin American opponennt for a change this year. It is fun to see the different players play together, just don’t take it too seriously.

  3. The All-Star game works in our sport because we have visiting opponents. One team, as opposed to two, means the league’s All-Star team is hard to make. This game is fun if you don’t take it too seriously. And it can do both big football stadium and smaller soccer stadiums depending upon the stature of the opponent and other circumstances. This is a nice event for Red Bull Arena, enjoy it if you’re in the area. It was a fun night in Colorado when we had it a few years ago.

    This means no MLS Cup final in New York. I wonder where the final will be.

    1. True true. I like the idea of an All Star Game. I think it’s fun to be able to see all the top players in the league play together for a night. The game may not mean anything, but that’s the way it should be IMO.

  4. Earl’s got a good idea. How about the team with the best regular season record from the previous season gets to play a European powerhouse? They the ‘Supporters Shield’ would actually mean something, in terms of pride AND $.

      1. Well obviously I exaggerated by implying that it doesn’t mean anything, but do you think the Galaxy view last season as a massive success?

  5. Honestly the All Star game for now still works. If we pick our best players from each team we can show a very strong side and its great for the snob american fans that only watch EPL to see the MLS isnt as bad as they thought. The problem is that scheduling in the middle of the season is a dumb move but we got no choice.

    Seriously though can you imagine if we could field a starting 11 with Henry, Marquez, Beckham, Donovan, Montero, Bravo, Gonzalez, Ream, Keller, Ferrara, DeMerit? I mean that is a pretty sexy roster to watch! And I guarentee it would get some sort of international interest

  6. Dan,
    From what I have noticed from reading people’s comments on this site is that they don’t care about the US Open Cup or the CONCACAF Champions league and think they are just consolation prizes for those that don’t win the MLS Cup, I’m looking at you Charles and DCUdip. They probably think your trying to make our league more the one that us “eurosnobs” will like and isn’t the American way.

    I hope I will be able to get a ticket to the match.

  7. MLS All Star is a fun and unique event that gets the world’s media attention. It’s a must and MLS needs to keep doing it every year.

  8. sad thing is that MLS puts out its best talent and the powerhouse team just put in a combo of their second and third stringers with one or 2 first string players to sweeten the deal. its still fun to watch though. no bashing but i hope MLS loses again this wear i enjoyed Man U’s “practice match” against MLS allstars last year they walked all over them. . but for the sake of showing the american masses that mls is a ok league and has something to show for then i hope they win. if not then its a missed opportunity and id expect more flak from people saying that mls sucks.

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