New England Soccer Today


Remember when the MLS All-Stars were undefeated against foreign opposition? Manchester United made sure those days were nothing but a distant memory as they defeated the MLS All-Stars 4-0 in the 2011 MLS All-Star Game at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J. on Wednesday night.

Revs captain Shalrie Joseph got to test himself against Manchester United for the second time in two weeks on Wednesday. (Photo by CHRIS ADUAMA/

It was the first time in MLS All-Star Game history that the league’s all-stars would get a rematch against a previous opponent.  Unfortunately for MLS, the league’s showcase ended with nearly the same result just a year after Man U won 5-2.

The All-Stars, with New England Revolution Captain Shalrie Joseph patrolling the midfield, held their own in the first half and rarely looked overmatched, despite being outmanned in the middle of the park thanks Red Bulls and All-Star head coach Hans Backe’s 4-3-3 formation. MLS had some half chances throughout the first half, but couldn’t find a way past United ‘keeper Anders Lindegaard.

United didn’t have the same problems with MLS goalies. In just the 20th minute Wayne Rooney combined with Dimitar Berbatov at the top of the box, drawing defenders and opening space for Anderson, who Rooney then found with a pass. Anderson would slot a shot past MLS and Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Faryd Mondragon to give United the early lead.

David Beckham would threaten with a blast from distance a couple minutes later, but Lindegaard was up to the task, pushing the shot wide for a corner kick. Brad Davis would force another tough save out of Lindegaard with a similar shot in the 29th minute.

The All-Stars took a hit shortly past the half hour mark when Real Salt Lake’s strong center back Jamison Olave was forced to leave the game injured. The Colombian was replaced by Houston Dynamo defender and Attleboro, Mass. native Geoff Cameron.

The Red Devils would end the first half by doubling their lead. South Korean international Ji-Sung Park produced some fancy footwork to beat MLS and Los Angeles Galaxy defender Sean Franklin before powering a shot past Mondragon inside the far post.

The MLS All-Stars actually maintained a slight edge in possession (51% to 49%), shots (6 to 4), and shots on goal (4 to 3) at halftime despite trailing 2-0, but after MLS made some halftime substitutions, including taking out Joseph, United was clearly the better side in the second half.

United picked up where they left off in the second half, adding a third goal under seven minutes into the period when a long goal kick from substitute ‘keeper Ben Amos was headed on to Rooney who then played Berbatov behind the defense with a through ball. Berbatov chipped the ball over MLS substitute goalie Tally Hall only to see his effort hit off the crossbar. The Bulgarian managed to collect his own rebound and hammered it into the empty net.

Mexican international Omar Bravo should’ve pulled one back for the All-Stars in the 64th minute after Amos failed to control a powerful long shot from Chris Wondolowski. The rebound fell to Bravo, alone in front of goal, but the Sporting Kansas City striker sent his shot just wide of the far post.

United would then go on to increase their lead. After wholesale changes at the hour mark, United’s 20-year-old striker Danny Welbeck would come off the bench to finish the scoring in the 68th minute. Getting the ball on the left flank, Welbeck cut inside on the MLS defense, gaining space on two defenders before blasting a shot from just inside the box that deflected off Cameron before beating Hall inside the near post.

The defending English Premier League Champions would go on to control most of the rest of their match as they cruised to their second straight MLS All-Star game victory and fourth straight victory, including a 4-1 win over the Revolution, on their U.S. tour.

MLS returns to regular league action this weekend. The New England Revolution (4-9-8, 20 points) travel to take on Sporting Kansas City (6-6-8, 26 points) at 8:30 p.m. on Saturday.

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