Chester, PA (Sports Network) - In a rematch of the 2006 edition, Major League
Soccer's best will square off against English Premier League side Chelsea FC
in the 2012 MLS All-Star Game at PPL Park on Wednesday.
The MLS All-Stars narrowly escaped that match with a win thanks to a 70th
minute strike from Dwayne De Rosario.
Things will come full circle six years later as the Canadian will captain the
league's best against the English giants.
"The captain is Dwayne De Rosario," said All-Star head coach Ben Olsen. "He's
been to quite a few of these. I could have picked a whole bunch of guys, there
are a lot of good leaders around here."
The D.C. United boss was not exaggerating.
David Beckham (Los Angeles Galaxy) and Thierry Henry (Red Bull New York) have
competed against the likes of Chelsea for many years during their glittered
stints in England's top flight with Manchester United and Arsenal,
respectively. They have grown quite familiar with Chelsea heavyweights like
Frank Lampard, John Terry and Michael Essien.
The foreign star power is well balanced with established American veterans
who boast World Cup experience like Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy) and
Jay DeMerit (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), but also with budding MLS players like
Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes) and Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas
Donovan also noticed that there seems to be a great balance on both sides of
the ball, lending praise to the likes of Aurelien Collin (Sporting Kansas
City), Steven Beitashour (San Jose Earthquakes) and Justin Morrow (San Jose
Earthquakes) who were selected to represent the league based on their
defensive merit. The Galaxy star believes that it should help the All-Stars
avenge 5-2 and 4-0 defeats to Manchester United in the last two summer
"I think Ben did a good job of - you know, a lot of times you just get a lot
of offensive players, even defenders that are more attacking-minded
defenders," Donovan said of Olsen's team selection. "Ben's done a good job of
putting together a real team, so I think we're going to have a much better
Chelsea, reigning European champions and FA Cup winners, will be out with
plenty to prove as well.
Taking over as manager for Andre Villas-Boas on an interim basis in the middle
of last season, Roberto Di Matteo was awarded the full-time job this summer
after guiding Chelsea to Champions League glory. He will be out to reward
owner Roman Abramovich's faith in the young manager by getting his club off to
a favorable start in league play come August. That road begins with a solid
The Blues have bolstered their roster this summer with the additions of Eden
Hazard, Marko Marin and Kevin De Bruyne, and they will see the match against
the MLS All-Stars as an opportunity to make a lasting impression on the new
Wednesday's All-Star Game is the third friendly match of four in Chelsea's
preseason tour of America. The Blues defeated Seattle Sounders FC 4-2 on July
18 before playing to a 1-1 draw with French side PSG on Sunday. The English
giants will conclude their stint in the United States with a trip to SunLife
Stadium to face AC Milan on Saturday.