Wednesday’s MLS All-Star game might be a “friendly" against Tottenham Hotspur, and the opposing players might have sported mile-wide grins when they high-fived at a joint press conference this afternoon.
But nobody is hoping for a cakewalk of a game on Wednesday (9 pm ET; Fox Sports 1, UniMas in US; TSN, RDS in Canada), especially not Tottenham head coach Mauricio Pochettino. And that throws him into high relief, perhaps, against Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola.
Last year, when Bayern lost to the MLS All-Stars, then coached by Portland Timbers boss Caleb Porter, he infamously refused to shake hands with the MLS gaffer.
At least in this respect, Pochettino is no Pep. For one thing, there’s the fact that he says he shares fellow-Argentine vibes with this year’s MLS All-Star coach, Pablo Mastroeni, born into the States to parents from Argentina. “[We’re] the same nationality, so it’s different” than the rivalry between Guardiola and Porter last year.
Then there’s the fact that he relishes a tough round in Denver’s high altitude. “I watched the game. It was a very tough game for Bayern Munich,” Pochettino said of last year’s All-Star bout. “I think we need to understand that for the All-Stars it’s a very important game. For us it’s the same. We need to compete.”
Also, he would never deny anyone daps.
“For us we expect a very tough game,” he said. “But I think I would never deny a handshake to the opposing coach.”
Take that, Pep!