All-Star Game vs. Man. Utd to have tinge of Dynamo orange
HOUSTON — The 2011 MLS All-Star team that faces reigning English Premier League champions and 2011 UEFA Champions League runners-up Manchester United will have a distinct Houston Dynamo flavor to it.
MLS All-Star head coach Hans Backe announced his roster for this year’s showcase on Monday, and four Dynamo players were included. Houston’s contingent consists of four-time All-Star and current MLS assist leader midfielder Brad Davis, second-time All-Star midfielder Geoff Cameron and first-time selections defender Corey Ashe and goalkeeper Tally Hall.
The four will be part of an MLS squad looking to break a two match losing streak in all-star games — the MLS side lost to Everton in penalty kicks after playing to a 1-1 stalemate in regular time in 2009 and dropped a 5-2 result to Manchester United last year at Reliant Stadium — when the teams meet for the second year in a row at Red Bull Arena July 27.
“It’s always an honor to be picked to represent MLS with other players from around the league,” said Davis in a team release. “Having played last year and losing 5-2, it’s a great opportunity to go back and try and get a win against Manchester United.”
For Hall — who had a season high eight saves against Backe’s Red Bulls in Week 3 — playing Manchester United means playing against the club of one of his goalkeeping idols: Peter Schmeichel. The big Dane, who retired a decade ago, is generally considered one of the greatest ‘keepers ever to lace ‘em up.
In conversation before the season, Hall said the Man. United legend is one of the ‘keepers after whom he has patterned his game.
The Houston ‘keeper and Ashe will be part of the group charged with stopping the potent Red Devils attack that includes Wayne Rooney, Javier “Chicharito” Hernández and Federico Macheda — who scored two goals against the MLS all-stars in an MVP performance in Houston last year.
“It’ll be a fun game and not just because Peter Schmeichel was there, but because Manchester United has always been a team that’s fun to watch,” Hall told MLSsoccer.com via phone. “Playing them is an experience in and of itself because they’re some of the best players in the world. When you face them you just have to rely on what you can do and be yourself.”
All four players admitted that the call to represent their league against one of the world’s best and most popular clubs is an honor; and they are looking forward to the challenge of playing a team with a pedigree such as the reigning EPL champions.
“It’s an honor to be chosen,” Cameron said in a team release. “I’m really excited, and I appreciate the opportunity to play against Manchester United and be able to represent Major League Soccer and the US.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on twitter at @Dynamoexaminer.