All-Star preview: De Rosario ready to lead MLS vs. Chelsea

MLS ALL-STARS vs CHELSEA FC
PPL PARK, Chester, Pa.
Wednesday, July 25, 2012
8:30 p.m. ET (ESPN2; TeleFutura; TSN/RDS)
 
The 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star Game once again features a rematch, as the MLS All-Stars take on Chelsea FC. It's a rematch of the 2006 event, when a sellout crowd at Chicago’s Toyota Park witnessed the MLS All-Star team defeat star-studded Chelsea 1-0 on a goal by Dwayne De Rosario. For a seventh time, an English Premier League club will provide the opposition – but Chelsea come into the MLS All-Star Game as winners of the UEFA Champions League and holders of England’s FA Cup.
 
 
THE OPPOSITION: Founded in 1905, Chelsea FC have won the English top flight on four occasions, first in 1954/55 and last in 2009/10, when they won the league and cup double, and this past season became the first London club to win the UEFA Champions League. Chelsea have also won seven FA Cup and four League Cups, and were twice winners of the old UEFA Cup Winners’ Cup. Chelsea play at Stamford Bridge in southwest London, the only home the club has known since its establishment.
 
CHELSEA LAST SEASON: Chelsea last season finished sixth in Barclays Premier League, with 64 points from 38 matches, 25 points behind champion Manchester City FC. Chelsea won the UEFA Champions League for the first time, defeating Germany FC Bayern München on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw over 120 minutes in the final at Munich’s Allianz Arena. Chelsea also won the FA Cup, defeating Liverpool 2-1 in the final at Wembley Stadium, their seventh triumph overall and fourth in the last six seasons.
 
THE FORMAT: This is the ninth time the MLS All-Stars have taken on international competition in the All-Star Game. The MLS teams hold a 6-2-1 record; they have outscored their opponents 16-14. Manchester United FC provided the opposition each of the last two years, the only foreign club to defeat the MLS All-Stars. Last year, at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., Anderson (20), Park Ji-Sung (45), Dimitar Berbatov (52) and Danny Welbeck (68) gave United a 4-0 victory. Manchester United won 5-2 in 2010 at Reliant Stadium in Houston, when All-Star Game MVP Federico Macheda scored twice in the opening 13 minutes – the first goal after 22 seconds.
 

Beckerman & DeMerit Preview All-Star Game

In 2009, English Premier League side Everton FC ended the five-game winning streak by the MLS All-Stars in a penalty kick shootout after a 1-1 draw over 90 minutes. Everton FC goalkeeper Tim Howard – who of course played in MLS – received the game’s Most Valuable Player award after making three saves in the penalty decider.
 
In 2008, the MLS All-Stars defeated English Premier League side West Ham United 3-2 in Toronto, the first All- Star Game played outside the USA. In 2007, the MLS All-Stars defeated Scottish Premier League power Celtic FC 2-0, while in 2006, the MLS All-Stars defeated former Premier League champions Chelsea FC 1-0 on a goal by Dwayne De Rosario. The 2005 event saw the MLS All-Stars defeat English Premier League club Fulham FC 4-1 at Columbus Crew Stadium and in 2003, the MLS All-Stars downed Mexican club CD Guadalajara 3-1 at The Home Depot Center.
 
The 2003 contest was the second consecutive year a single team of MLS All-Stars was selected for the midseason classic, as the year before the MLS All-Stars took on a U.S. national team selection following the USA’s historic quarterfinal performance at FIFA World Cup 2002 Korea/Japan. All 18 of the players selected by Bruce Arena for the match plied their trade in MLS. In 1998, an international theme was also used in the MLS All-Star Game as a team of U.S. MLS stars took on a squad comprised of international MLS stars. Each of the other seven All-Star Games has featured an East vs. West format.
 
RULES OF COMPETITION: All players in the squad for both teams are eligible to play. Each team will be allowed to make up to 10 substitutions. At the end of 90 minutes, if the teams are tied, no extra time will be played and the game will be decided by kicks from the penalty mark.
 
AGAINST THE PREMIERSHIP: It’s the seventh time in eight years an English Premier League club will provide the opposition. Manchester United FC provided the opposition each of the last two years, recording wins by a 5-2 scoreline (2010) and 4-0 (2011). In 2009, Everton FC ended the MLS All-Stars perfect record against their international opponents with a victory on penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw. The best of MLS have also taken on Fulham FC (4-1; 2005), Chelsea FC (1-0; 2006) and West Ham United FC (3-2, 2008). The series began six years ago when the MLS side defeated CD Guadalajara of Mexico; the All-Stars have also defeated Scotland’s Celtic FC.
 
THE REFEREES: Baldomero Toledo will be the referee for the 2012 MLS All-Star Game. In his ninth season as a Major League Soccer referee, Toledo presided over the 2007 MLS All-Star Game, between MLS and Scotland’s Celtic FC in Commerce City, Colo. The assistant referees are Ian Anderson and Greg Barkey. Barkey will be in his fourth All-Star Game, having also run the lines in 1996, 1998 and 2008. This is the first All-Star Game for Anderson. The fourth official is Jorge Gonzalez, the referee for the 2011 MLS All-Star Game; it’s the second consecutive year Gonzalez has been the fourth official.
 
TEAM SELECTION: The 2012 AT&T MLS All-Star team was selected in four phases. A total of 32 All-Stars are named each year, per the collective bargaining agreement.
  • Ballot creation: A select media panel determined the field of players – six players per team – who were most deserving of consideration for this year’s All-Star Game. Those 114 players were eligible for fan voting.
  • Fans then selected the “First XI” All-Stars through three digital platforms – at MLSsoccer.com, via text message (SMS) and on Twitter. In addition, the player who received the most text votes was selected as an All-Star.
  • Coach & Commissioner selections: The MLS All-Star head coach, Ben Olsen of D.C. United, selected the 18-man gameday roster. Players named to the First XI were eligible for selection to the gameday roster. MLS Commissioner Don Garber selected two All-Stars; the coach decided if those two are selected for the gameday roster.
  • Player selections: Once the final gameday roster was announced, voting by MLS players determined the remainder of the 32 All-Stars named annually per the collective bargaining agreement (known as the “inactive roster”).
  • The final 32 All-Stars will be comprised of 4 goalkeepers, 8 defenders, 13 midfielders and 7 forwards.

HEAD COACH: The MLS All-Stars will be coached by D.C. United head coach Ben Olsen. Serving as Olsen’s assistant coaches will be Philadelphia Union interim team manager John Hackworth and the D.C. United technical staff of Chad Ashton, Pat Onstad and Josh Wolff. A native of Harrisburg, Pa., Olsen won eight total trophies as a player for United, including two MLS Cups (1999 and 2004). He was a five-time All-Star (appearing in the 1998 & 1999 matches), the 1998 MLS Rookie of the Year, the 1999 MLS Cup MVP, the 2003 USSF Humanitarian of the Year and was named to the MLS Best XI in 2007. Olsen took over the head coach position midway through the 2010 season and was officially named to the position on November 29 of the same year. This season, he has led the Black-and-Red to a 10-7-3 start to the 2012 campaign with the team currently sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

All-Star: Monday Practice Wrap

Hackworth took the reins at Union on June 13, after serving as Peter Nowak’s assistant since the club’s inaugural 2010 season. Hackworth previously spent two years as an assistant coach with the U.S. national team under Bob Bradley, helping guide the squad to a first place finish in group play in World Cup qualifying and a second place finish in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup. Prior to joining the senior national team staff, Hackworth spent more than six years with the U.S. Under-17 Residency Program in Bradenton, Fla.

THE FIRST XI: The MLS All-Star First XI received the most votes at their respective positions from combined fan voting on three platforms – online at MLSsoccer.com, via text message, and via Twitter. The First XI is not necessarily the starting lineup. The MLS All-Star starters will be selected by head coach Ben Olsen based on player availability and tactical considerations.

  • Goalkeeper: Jimmy Nielsen (Sporting Kansas City)
  • Defenders: Steven Beitashour (San Jose Earthquakes), Aurélien Collin (Sporting Kansas City), Jay DeMerit (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Heath Pearce (New York Red Bulls)
  • Midfielders: David Beckham (LA Galaxy), Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
  • Forwards: Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
  • Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen was the winner of the AT&T Text Voting, receiving 27 percent of all text votes submitted between June 8 and July 2.
  • Players who were close to the leading vote-getters at their positions, but finished outside the First XI included, in alphabetical order by last name: Kyle Beckerman (RSL), Eric Brunner (POR), Marvin Chavez (SJ), Andy Gruenebaum (CLB), Dan Kennedy (CHV), Fredy Montero (SEA) and Brek Shea (DAL).
THE REST: The MLS All-Star Game gameday roster, as selected by head coach Ben Olsen, includes 19 players.

Chelsea Training Report - D1 in Philly

  • One member of the First XI – defender Heath Pearce of the New York Red Bulls – is injured and unavailable to play. He was replaced by Justin Morrow of the San Jose Earthquakes.
  • The players selected by MLS Commissioner Don Garber – defenders Carlos Valdés of the host Philadelphia Union and MLS Original Ramiro Corrales of the San Jose Earthquakes – are both part of the gameday squad.
  • Michael Farfan of Philadelphia Union was an addition to the All-Star team in the days leading up to the match.
  • Goalkeeper: Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA), Jimmy Nielsen (Sporting Kansas City)
  • Defenders: Steven Beitashour (San Jose Earthquakes), Aurélien Collin (Sporting Kansas City), Ramiro Corrales (San Jose Earthquakes), Jay DeMerit (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Justin Morrow (San Jose Earthquakes), Carlos Valdes (Philadelphia Union)
  • Midfielders: Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders FC), David Beckham (LA Galaxy), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Dwayne De Rosario (D.C. United), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), Michael Farfan (Philadelphia Union), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
  • Forwards: Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Pontius (D.C. United), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
RECORD HOLDER: With his 12th selection to an MLS All-Star Game, Landon Donovan became the all-time record holder, surpassing the total of 11 selections by Eddie Pope. Donovan has been selected every season since his rookie year of 2001. He has played in nine MLS All-Star Games and was twice elected as a starter, but unable to play (2006, 2011). In his nine appearances, Donovan has scored five goals and added four assists, and was named MLS All-Star Game MVP in 2001, when he scored four goals.
 
INTERNATIONALS ON PARADE: Twelve members of the MLS All-Star team have represented their countries at senior level. Seven players have been a part of the U.S. national team – defenders Jay DeMerit and Ramiro Corrales, midfielders Kyle Beckerman, Landon Donovan and Graham Zusi, and strikers Eddie Johnson and Chris Wondolowski.
 
The MLS All-Star squad also features a FIFA World Cup winner in Thierry Henry and England’s all-time appearance leader for a field player in David Beckham, in addition to Carlos Valdés (Colombia) and Dwayne De Rosario (Canada) – as well as Osvaldo Alonso, who represented Cuba before coming to the USA.
 
EXPERIENCE: Seven players named to the MLS All-Star gameday roster have previously participated in the All-Star game.
  • U.S. national team star Landon Donovan, who now holds the all-time record with his 12 selections to the MLS All-Star Game, has played in nine games (starting four), also the most in league history.
  • Dwayne De Rosario has appeared in four All-Star Games, last in 2010 in Houston. His first came in 2006, when was named All-Star Game MVP in the 1-0 win against Chelsea FC.
  • Four players – Thierry Henry (New York Red Bulls), David Beckham (LA Galaxy), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake) and Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) – were part of the team to face Manchester United last year. For Henry and Wondolowski, it was their first All-Star Game. Beckham appeared in the MLS All-Star Game in 2008, in Toronto vs. West Ham United FC, while Beckerman played in 2009 in Sandy, Utah vs. Everton FC.
  • Eddie Johnson has made one previous All-Star appearance, in 2007 against Celtic FC in Commerce City, Colo.

DEBUTANTS: 12 players will be making their first appearances in an MLS All-Star Game: goalkeeper Dan Kennedy (Chivas USA) and Jimmy Nielsen (Sporting Kansas City), defenders Steven Beitashour, Ramiro Corrales and Justin Morrow (all San Jose Earthquakes), Aurélien Collin (Sporting Kansas City), Jay DeMerit (Vancouver Whitecaps FC) and Carlos Valdes and Michael Farfan (both Philadelphia Union), midfielders Osvaldo Alonso (Seattle Sounders FC) and Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City), and striker Chris Pontius (D.C. United). Of that group, only Nielsen (2010) and Alonso (2011) have previously been selected for an MLS All-Star team.

In 2009, there were 14 All-Star debutants – the most for any single MLS team in the current format.

Henry, Donovan, DeRo ready for UEFA Champions

RETURNEES: Four players return from the 2011 MLS All-Star Game to play this year (Henry, Beckham, Beckerman, Wondolowski), one more than returned a year ago. Just two players who played in the 2008 MLS All-Star Game – Landon Donovan and Cuauhtémoc Blanco – were part of the gameday squad for the 2009 contest. That was the fewest number of returning players from one year to the next in the MLS vs. the World format.

In 2008, 10 players who appeared in the 2007 All-Star Game saw action against West Ham United, the most returnees in any year in the current format.

BY TEAM: The San Jose Earthquakes, holders of the best record in MLS at the All-Star break, lead the way with four selections to the MLS All-Star gameday squad (Steven Beitashour, Ramiro Corrales, Justin Morrow, Chris Wondolowski). Eastern Conference-leading Sporting Kansas City is next with three selections (Jimmy Nielsen, Aurélien Collin, Graham Zusi). All-Star head coach Ben Olsen can call upon two of his D.C. United charges (Dwayne De Rosario, Chris Pontius), while Seattle Sounders FC (Osvaldo Alonso, Eddie Johnson), the LA Galaxy (David Beckham, Landon Donovan) and Philadelphia Union (Carlos Valdes, Michael Farfan) also had two players selected. In all, 10 of Major League Soccer’s 19 clubs saw someone selected.

TOPS ON THE CHARTS: Three players in the top 10 for the Budweiser MLS Golden Boot, and five of the league’s top six assist men, were all named to the MLS All-Star squad.

San Jose’ Chris Wondolowski leads MLS with 17 goals. Thierry Henry of New York is tied for third with 10 goals, while D.C. United’s Chris Pontius is tied for sixth with nine goals, and Seattle’s Eddie Johnson is tied for eighth with eight goals.

Dwayne De Rosario of D.C. United leads MLS with 10 assists; tied for second is Sporting KC’s Graham Zusi with eight. LA Galaxy teammates David Beckham and Landon Donovan are tied for fourth with seven assists, while San Jose fullback Steven Beitashour is tied for sixth with six – the highest-placed defender on the scoring charts.

AGAINST THE WORLD: Landon Donovan has played in six All-Stars against international competition, the most of any MLS player. Shalrie Joseph has played in 5 games; current All-Star Dwayne De Rosario has played in four, among four players who have appeared in that many games in the current format.

De Rosario has scored three goals in the MLS vs. The World format, most of any MLS player. Only he and Jeff Cunningham have scored multiple goals in the current matchup; Cunningham’s goals both came against Fulham FC (2005).

TOP TWO IN LAST THREE: Since the start of the 2010 season, Chris Wondolowski has scored 48 goals – most in MLS. His MLS All-Star teammate – Dwayne De Rosario – has scored 36, which is second-most in the league. The pair has won the last two MLS Golden Boots – Wondolowski in 2010, and De Rosario in 2011 (when Wondolowski scored the same number of goals). With the addition of 2008 Golden Boot winner Landon Donovan, three of the last four MLS leading scorers are members of the 2012 MLS All-Star team.

STEPPING UP BIG-TIME: Named captain of the AT&T MLS All-Star team by his club head coach, Ben Olsen, Dwayne De Rosario has made a habit of scoring big goals in big games in his MLS career:

  • De Rosario is the only player to win MLS Cup MVP more than once:
  • In 2001, his first season in MLS, De Rosario scored the game-winning goal in extra time to give the San Jose Earthquakes victory in MLS Cup against the LA Galaxy.
  • In 2007, De Rosario rose up to head home the game-winning goal to give the Houston Dynamo their second consecutive MLS Cup victory, a 2-1 win against the New England Revolution.
He is the only player to have scored goals in more than one All-Star Game against international competition, and the all-time leader with three goals in the MLS vs. the World format:
  • De Rosario scored the only goal in the 2006 MLS All-Star Game vs. Chelsea FC, gaining game Most Valuable Player honors while extending the MLS winning streak against international competitions.
  • De Rosario converted a penalty kick in the 69th minute to snap a 2-2 tie and give the MLS All-Stars victory against West Ham United FC in the 2008 All-Star Game.
  • De Rosario scored the second goal against Manchester United in 2010 in Houston.
Other big-game performances:
  • In 2009, De Rosario’s first season with Toronto FC, his club came into the final game of the Canadian Championship needing a victory. De Rosario scored a hat trick within the game’s first 49 minutes, sending TFC on to a 6-1 win against the second-division Montréal Impact and the club’s first honor.
  • Against his former clubs, for his career, De Rosario has nine goals and three assists in 14 games.
REUNITED: Philadelphia Union interim team manager John Hackworth will be seeing some familiar charges as an assistant coach for the MLS All-Star squad. Of the 11 U.S.-born players on the All-Star roster, five have played for Hackworth on national teams at various levels: Ramiro Corrales, Jay DeMerit, Kyle Beckerman, Landon Donovan and Eddie Johnson.

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