NEW YORK — The words were measured and respectful, but the message was clear from the MLS All-Stars: They fully intend to avoid a repeat of last year and beat Manchester United on Wednesday night (8:30 pm ET; ESPN2/TeleFutura/TSN).
The All-Stars are set to carry the reputation of the league in their midweek match against the reigning English Premier League champions, and Red Bulls head coach Hans Backe, who will manage the All-Stars this year, has a 2-0 record against United from his tenure as assistant coach at Manchester City.
Backe has no plans to blemish that perfect mark.
“I'm very confident,” Backe told media at a press conference in New York City on Monday. “I don’t want to lose.”
Last year, the All-Stars dropped a 5-2 result to United at Reliant Stadium in Houston with the Red Devils putting in a dominating performance.
Backe admitted it “is always a challenge to face United” and that he expects them to take the game very seriously—something that United coach Sir Alex Ferguson later confirmed.
And so, too, will the MLS All-Stars, who already feel the weight of the league on their shoulders.
“We have a lot of good, young talent on this team,” LA Galaxy midfielder David Beckham said. “These players are good players. It’s not just about the big European talent coming over. There’s a lot of young talent in this league. … I think we have a chance on Wednesday.”
The MLS All-Stars convened at Red Bull Arena on Monday morning for a training session and will practice again on Tuesday to go over their technical play and set pieces.
Backe said that playing one of the top teams in the world will be a challenge and while the MLS All-Stars won’t be favored, Backe said they will put on a show and do the league proud.
“It’d be nice to pick up a result,” Backe said. “I think if we have a good day, we have the possibility to get a good result.”
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer