COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The proponents for a return to an East vs. West MLS All-Star Game seemed to be gaining traction earlier this week, with Orlando City star Kaká and Colorado Rapids and All-Stars head coach Pablo Mastroeni both coming out in favor of a return to the format earlier in the week.
But all it took was Wednesday night’s 2-1 victory over Tottenham to have them both change their opinion.
“We talked about the All-Star [Game] being conference against conference [West vs. East],” All-Star MVP Kaká said in Wednesday’s postgame press conference. “But after today, I can say that it’s very good [playing an international team]. The sensation is very good when you just met these kind of players … and we beat a team like Tottenham.
“The feeling after the game is very good. I think everybody is happy tonight and proud of what we did on the field.”
The growing momentum for an East vs. West match-up is partially fueled by the fact that MLS clubs have an unprecedented number of domestic and international stars, with those numbers only continuing to grow after this week's signings of Didier Drogba and Tranquillo Barnetta.
So the logic goes: Why not have an All-Star Game that gives more of them an opportunity to be put on display?
But Mastroeni echoed Kaká’s comments in the afterglow of another victory by MLS over one of the English Premier League’s better sides.
“If you asked me which one showcases the talent better, whether it’s playing 22 guys from two different conferences, or if it’s beating a team like Tottenham, I think it might be beating a team like Tottenham,” Mastroeni admitted in the postgame news conference.
“It feels better,” he continued. “We’ve always been perceived as a league that’s up and coming. And I’m saying that as the years go by, we will soon be that league that everyone thinks we can be. So again, it’s easy to make statements when you haven’t experienced it yourself. But having experienced it, like Kaká said, it feels great to get the type of validation from winning against a team like Tottenham, as far as where we’re going in the near future in this league.”