After first learning about the game between the MLS All-Stars and Chelsea, my first thought was that Chelsea would win by at least two goals. After such a good season and winning the 2012 UEFA Champions League, it seemed as though they were nearly unstoppable. Also, the All-Stars were at a disadvantage because they didn’t have enough time to develop the “bond” that exists within each separate team in MLS. After watching the game, I realized that I was completely wrong. MLS played a wonderful game in Philadelphia, and their hard work paid-off in the end with a 3-2 win against the European Champions. The All-Stars have played Chelsea once before in 2006, ending in an upsetting 1-0 loss for Chelsea. MLS’ ability to sustain similar results this year helped them recover after Manchester United crushed the team in the previous two years. The attendance at this game in PPL Park was a record-breaking 19,236 people.
San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski awarded MLS the lead with a goal in the 21st minute. It wasn’t anything pretty or special, but it was enough to get the ball in the back of the net. This has always been Wondolowski’s style. For him, it is not a matter of making it beautiful, its about scoring. Henry made a cross into the box, where John Terry slipped and Wondo kicked the ball right past him. Chelsea responded to the goal fairly quickly when Frank Lampard managed to make a beautiful header following a corner kick, putting hope back in the hands of the team. The rest of the first half remained quiet and ended in 1-1 tie.
Things got a bit harder for MLS during the second half. Although Chivas USA goalkeeper Dan Kennedy made an amazing save about ten minutes after the beginning of the second half, Frank Lampard came back to haunt him with a goal for Chelsea in the 58th minute. This gave the British a brief lead, until MLS once again found the back of the net. Dwayne De Rosario made an assist to his D.C. United teammate Chris Pontius, who kicked the ball past the Chelsea goalkeeper and equalized the score. After stoppage time began and the scores were still level at 2-2, the players knew that a penalty shootout was ahead of them. But it was Eddie Johnson who unexpectedly ended the game in a victory for the MLS. Two minutes into stoppage time, the ball was knocked forward to him, and he took a shot outside the penalty box. The ball took a deflection off of a Chelsea defender, but it still managed to make its way into the net, handing the win to the All-Stars.
The MLS All-Stars had a very tight defense throughout the duration of the game. It was very hard for Chelsea to find an opening in the MLS’ defense and to make a breakaway in their half. In general, they worked very well together, but Chelsea was only able to get by them after two corner kicks. The thing that separated the two teams was that the All-Stars weren’t afraid of taking chances. This proved to be an important aspect of the game. The fact that Chelsea was more hesitant and was always waiting for the perfect opportunity lost them the game. By the time they found that opening, Chelsea didn’t even have the ball. In the end, both teams played a great game, and although it was a fairly even match, the MLS All-Stars emerged victorious.