HOUSTON – MLS Commissioner Don Garber joined with the Houston Dynamo to host a press conference Tuesday in advance of the 2010 MLS All-Star game featuring Manchester United at Reliant Stadium on July 28th.
“This is another great moment for Major League Soccer,” Garber said. “This is a unique and special format in all of sports. Not only do we have a sponsor for the game, but we pit our players against the some of the best competition in the world.”
The MLS All-Stars have traditionally held their own against some of the best competition in the world. In years past, the MLS All-Stars have defeated Chivas, West Ham United, Chelsea, and Celtic, and played Everton to a 1-1 draw before falling in penalty kicks.
“I am not going to put myself in a position to predict a victory, but we’ve done pretty well in these games and we hope to have a very competitive match when we get into the stadium,” Garber said. “We’re not yet the EPL or La Liga or Serie A, but we can come together and stand toe to toe with some of the best clubs in the world.”
Manchester United, though, is cut from a different cloth. Recently ranked by Forbes as the most valuable sports franchise in the world, the Red Devils bring both talent on the field and dynamic mass-market success in the stands.
“We want to make this the biggest and best All-Star game in history,” said Dynamo chief operating officer Chris Canetti. “We believe it will be a defining moment in growing our team, our league, and sport in this market and internationally and we are looking forward to it.”
The All-Star game will be broadcast in over 100 countries around the world. More than 16,000 tickets have already been sold to season ticket holders for the Dynamo and the NFL’s Houston Texans, with group tickets available to the public on Wednesday.
“We will have a great crowd, great hospitality, a great audience on TV and this will be a terrific event for our league and for soccer fans in this country,” Garber said.
Both Canetti and Garber believe that this particular All-Star game will be buoyed by the lead-in provided by the World Cup.
“The interest of soccer should be so great in this country,” Garber said. “I don’t know that anyone fully understands what is going to happen in a few weeks when the world cup hits this market. Both broadcast partners are going to make it a big event and we are going to come out of that with [a match featuring] one of the most storied clubs in the world coming to the city and playing against our best players. So it’s a great way to capitalize on all the interest and excitement from the World Cup.”
“Only 71 days, “ Canetti said. “Let the countdown begin.”
Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or Comments can be sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org.