Alright, this is the last time that I will post about sports until the far-too-long KU Football preview that I have already started writing, which will come out presumably before the season starts.
The Major League Soccer All Star Game was about as entertaining as I expected it to be. This was a fun-enough game of soccer played between two teams that, at a glance, did not really care to be there. Neither team played badly, but this wasn’t a great display of soccer. That’s to be expected by two teams very clearly in an exhibition. The trouble that plagued this game was actually different from the trouble that plagues most other major all star games, because there was no shortage of offense at Soldier Field on Wednesday, just a shortage of scoring.
The players on both sides spent all 90 minutes jogging, save for Dax McCarty and Dom Dwyer because of the way that they are. The goal that they both contributed to was, in two words – pure hustle. Especially when compared to the relative lack of hustle from mostly everyone else.
It is borderline impossible to distinguish from this game whether the best players of Major League Soccer are superior to the best team in Europe because obviously none of the players were going as hard as possible, and also, as stated on Monday, these were not the best performing players in Major League Soccer. I don’t know how DaMarcus Beasley got in there.
It is downright ridiculous that this game ended in penalties, at least, it’s downright ridiculous that this game didn’t end in late nineties MLS penalties and instead we had to watch these guys just sort of up to a ball, kick it in the net, then walk back.
I have no problem that this game exists, but in the current format, it’s clear that not only do the players on both side not really care, but they also don’t enjoy it. And that’s all that I ask for, really.
This screenshot of basketball hero Dirk Nowitzki celebrating after catching an alley-oop as a 36 year old man in the 2015 All Star game was my computer’s desktop background for several months in 2015. This alley-oop was assisted by Steph Curry, who was in the middle of his first MVP season. Dirk’s MVP season happened during Steph’s freshman year of college. These men are ten years apart in age and play on rival teams, yet, the NBA All Star game allowed them to come together and have fun connecting on an alley-oop.
The players in the MLS All Star game just seemed to be playing tight all game. I’m blaming this partially on the format. It seems like there was no pressure on Madrid, but they didn’t really care to be there for an exhibition match like that, and it seems like there was some pressure on the All Stars because of the pedigree of the opponent, but they’re also playing the game in the middle of the season. So it really didn’t seem like anyone during the game was enjoying himself, but there wasn’t a lot of motivation, either.
This was, unfortunately, a sort of boring display of sort of mediocre soccer, but I was never compelled to stop watching. I’m sure the spectacle was nice, and I’d love to attend an All-Star Game someday if it ever comes to a city where I live, because part of that game seemed like a celebration of soccer, one that we don’t get on that massive of a scale in the United States very often. In terms of an enjoyable game, seeing an East-West matchup again might help that.
By the way, all of the professional-looking images here come from USA Today, which seems to be the only newspaper in the United States that took photographs of this event.