Tonight, the best that Major League Soccer has to offer (Well, who the fans think are the best anyways) will go up against the European club Champions, Chelsea FC. From Philadelphia, the two teams will battle as the MLS plays for pride and Chelsea plays to warm up for the 2012-2013 Barclay's Premier League season.
And I couldn't be more against it.
My position on the MLS All-Star game is that the whole thing is just a giant inconvenience. For example, three of Sporting Kansas City's top stars were missing from last night's friendly against Montpellier HSC because of the All-Star game. David Beckham isn't able to go to London to be an ambassador for the 2012 Summer Olympics until the All-Star game is over. All-Stars from Vancouver and Real Salt Lake are going to have to fly from Philadelphia to Salt Lake City to play a match on two days rest Friday. All-Stars from many other teams play on Saturday.
And for what? For exposure? If the MLS loses to Chelsea, then it looks like the very best a league can offer still loses to a team that is no longer with the player that was essential to their success in the FA Cup and the UEFA Champions League. The MLS could lose to a team that finished sixth in the Barclay's Premier League last year, and the MLS would continue to looked down upon by the Europeans whom we are trying to make a good image for.
If the MLS All-Stars were to win, then one of two things would happen. The European fans would chalk it up to Chelsea no longer having Drogba and still being in warm-up mode, or they would think that it took the best of one league to beat one club. In terms of the image the MLS is trying to present itself with, facing a European club makes for a lose-lose situation.
There are several ways, I believe, that the MLS can change about the All-Star Game to make it make more beneficial to the MLS. First of all, they should make it an All-Star break. The MLS is the only sport in the United States that does not have some form of a break during the All-Star game. Second of all, make it more than just the game. One thing that Major League Baseball excels at is the events surrounding the All-Star Game with the Legends and Celebrities game, Futures Game and Home Run Derby. If the MLS were to have a fun skills challenge, like five of the best shooters in the game playing penalty kick knockout or something along those lines, it would make the game more attractive to fans, and it would be beneficial to the league.
The third, and most important in my opinion, is to not play against a European superclub. The first thing to come to mind to pit the Eastern Conference All-Stars against the Western Conference All-Stars, similar to every other sport in the United States. The second idea would be to play against the Mexican All-Stars in an international league rivalry match. It would set up a friendly rivalry between the two leagues to complement the rivalry the national teams have.
There is one option I haven't mentioned yet, which is to do away with the All-Star game altogether. In such a packed season, there really is no place for the game. No other soccer league in the entire world has an All-Star game because the rest of the world has no room for one. The MLS has no room for one either, yet continues to have one.
I really don't like the MLS All-Star Game. In my opinion as a fan, it either needs a huge overhaul, or needs to be done away with altogether.
Otherwise, it's only detrimental to the league.