First Impressions - MLS All-Stars 1 : 0 Chelsea FC
Intellectually, we all understand that this game doesn't mean very much. That doesn't mean we can't take a bit of satisfaction in enjoying a win. It may not erase the World Cup disappointment, but it certainly felt good. Still, let's address a few of the strange moments that occured in this game.
First, we know that the announcers weren't sure what to do with it. Bringing Alexi Lalas in to spout drivel at us for twenty minutes seemed like a trememndous amount of disrespect for the game. I don't blame him for ESPN missing the goal, but I do blame him for boring the hell out of me.
Second, Eric Wynalda, who had earned some cred with me from the World Cup, shot it all to pieces in this game. Dave O'Brien, who I feel is getting better all the time, kept trying to go to Eric to gain insight on certain aspects, and would set him up nicely. Eric was in his own world, and usually would decide to make some point (the word is used generously) that had nothing to do with Dave's set-up. People complain about Dave, but he really has been put with people that don't make the broadcast as professional as it should be.
Also, how strange was it to hear Eric Wynalda talk about Brian Ching as someone that he was "upset never got a chance in the World Cup." That may be true, but let's not forget that Eric threw a tantrum when Ching was selected over Taylor Twellman for the US Squad. Eric, in his "it's all about me" style of commentary, couldn't be bothered to remember what he said only three months ago.
As for the game, it was a surprisingly enjoyable one to watch. It was a game one could enjoy, if not find exemplary, as a neutral. As an MLS supporter, I thought Chelsea looked the more dangerous side most times, but MLS represented well.
DDR is a most worthy MVP choice. Piotr Nowak deserves some credit, especially for all those who called him crazy for using three in the back. Facundo Erpen played the typical Facundo Erpen game: He shut down some attacks nicely, and made one or two insanely stupid plays (of course, him nutting Joe Canon wasn't the way I expected that to happen, but there you go...). Bobby Boswell should be legitmately considered for Defender of the Year this year, playing a solid game in the back as he has quietly all season. Moreno and Gomez went only 25, and to that I say "right on." They made the most of their time. Chris Albright reminded everyone why he is a good defender, and why he failed as a forward for DC. Josh Gros ran a lot. It was pretty much what you would expect. And, in a game that provided some drama where I expected little, I am fine with that.
Last note: I'm on vacation all this week. Oscar and Kinney have the keys to this place now, so they'll be covering the Real Madrid game for you (we may also be getting a special on-site report from one of our commenters.) I'll try and check in from time to time, but if I'm too drunk while at the beach, so be it. In that case, I'll see you on Saturday.