PORTLAND, Ore. – Julian Green made his much-awaited appearance for Bayern Munich on American soil, and though it wasn’t a night to remember for him on the field, his very presence captivated Bayern and MLS fans alike at a packed Providence Park.
And any lingering doubts about his popularity were erased when he entered the 2014 MLS All-Star Game as a 37th minute substitute to a thunderous ovation.
“The fans here are awesome,” Green told reporters after the game of his reception. “All the American fans are awesome. It was a very nice to play in front of them. [I’m] very happy to have this chance.”
Green also felt the love during a pregame ceremony honoring the US men’s national team players from the 2014 World Cup present at the All-Star Game. The strange thing was, he then had to turn around and face them on the field.
“We saw each other two months ago so it was nice to see them again,” he said of the chance to reunite with his compatriots. “It was a nice feeling to be out there with these guys and stand there.”
Green even got a great chance to score against one of the national teammates he’d been standing next to not an hour earlier. Six minutes after he came on, Bayern midfielder Sebastian Rode found the 19-year-old attacker with a through ball, but Green’s right-footed shot was denied by an onrushing Nick Rimando.
“[I’ve scored against him] in training of course, now today not,” Green said with a smile. “But I will score more goals in training I think.”
Like most of the Bayern players, Green had a limited chance to make an impression, with manager Pep Guardiola carefully managing the minutes of his players in preseason, and also taking into account a small problem in Green’s knee that caused him to miss the first match of Bayern’s US tour against Chivas Guadalajara.
In all, Green played 45 minutes the All-Stars’ 2-1 win before being subbed out in the 82nd minute.
“Julian made a huge effort to play because he's just training after the World Cup and came back with a little problem in his knee,” Guardiola told reporters in his postgame press conference. "And he just trained 3-4 training sessions. So it's not too much.”
Bayern will now head back to Germany to finish their preparations for the start of the 2014-15 Bundesliga season, but it remains to be seen whether Green will be a part of that team, or whether he will be loaned out to a club where he could potentially earn more playing time.
Guardiola acknowledged in his postgame comments that a decision on Green’s immediate future has yet to be made.
“Now we have time until the end of the month we're going to talk about him, with him and with the bosses, the director of sport and naturally we're going to decide what's best for him and so we're going to take care of him,” the Spanish coach remarked. “If we decide if it's best for him to stay with us, he'll stay with us, or if the best decision is to loan [him out]. We'll decide all together.”