SAN JOSE, Calif. – Giovani dos Santos is used to his fair share of hostility when he visits Avaya Stadium as a member of the LA Galaxy.
On Thursday, as a starter for the MLS All-Star team, there were certainly some jeers when the midfielder was introduced. But the Mexican international said this time, in his first AT&T MLS All-Star game appearance, the jeers had a little different ring to them.
“At the end of the day, it’s an MLS team,” dos Santos said after the game, “so I felt the support, the passion. And I think it was an exhibition for us and the fans.”
Dos Santos played the entire first half of Arsenal's 2-1 win over the MLS All-Stars before being lifted at the break by All-Star head coach Dominic Kinnear. In 45 minutes on the pitch, dos Santos had one shot on goal, focusing more on creating opportunities for his teammates. That focus led directly to Didier Drogba’s equalizing goal in first-half stoppage time on a ball he laid off to the Montreal Impact forward.
At least for a brief moment, those jeers became cheers.
“I’m happy to have played with some of the best players in the league,” dos Santos said. “It’s a beautiful and different experience for me. I’m happy to be here.”
Dos Santos spent a portion of his career in England playing for Tottenham Hotspur for four seasons between 2008 and 2012. Needless to say, he knows more than a thing or two about Spurs' fierce North London rivals.
“They’re one of the best teams in Europe and it was a tough game,” dos Santos said. “But it was a good experience and we gave them a good game."
“The players that are in this locker room show the quality of this league,” he said when asked about his experience playing as an MLS All-Star and the players that took the pitch with him on Thursday in San Jose.
“It’s a league that is growing and we hope that it keeps moving that way.”