MLS All-Stars vs. Chelsea FC: 3-2
Fireworks crowned the arena in Chester, Pennsylvania as the MLS All-Star Team faced Roberto Di Matteo's European Champions in a fiery friendly.
Chelsea's starting line-up had a handful of players from their friendly with the Seattle Sounders, Marko Marin and Lukaku among them. Chelsea had more possession during the first half, although both teams saw a slew of missed goal-scoring opportunities. The All-Star team fulfilled their potential on the 21st minute when Thierry Henri gave a brilliant cross to Chris Wondolowski, who flicked the ball behind him and shot it in to the bottom right corner. John Terry, who, ironically, was one of the defenders unable to stop the magical Wondo, scored the equalizer on the 32nd minute. Lampard's cross from a corner kick got Terry the header. The All-Stars were forced to make an early substitution, and the injured Aurélien Collin was replaced by native Philadelphia Union captain Carlos Valdes. Chelsea's attempts to test the keeper as well as to regain the initiative were not very effective. Marin's shot was easily taken by Nielsen. The All-Stars' counter by Thierry Henry was close and went just a bit wide of the top right corner.
As par friendly tradition, All-Star manager Ben Olsen produced a handful of subs at half-time, benching Nielsen for Kennedy and Pontius for Donovan. Even Henry was benched on the 57th minute. But David Beckham remained for another half an hour, and his presence on the pitch as the set piece specialist was always appreciated. Lukaku, another star from the friendly against the Sounders, had an attempt at the start of the second half that went wide of the net. Eden Hazard came on for Michael Essien and got a half hour's worth of playing time. A bigger presence on the field, however, was Branislav Ivanovic, one of the best and most dynamic defenders in the world. Ivanovic had a 2-year stint at the RPL playing for Lokomotiv Moscow before coming to Chelsea in 2008. Besides being a terrific defender, Ivanovic had a goal attempt himself on the 54th minute with a right-footed shot from a pass by Frank Lampard. Chelsea's lead started with a corner and ended with a goal by Lampard himself. Captain Dwayne De Rosario, who scored the game-winning goal in the MLS All-Star Game at Toyota Park against Chelsea eight years ago, took a through ball and passed it to D.C. United player Chris Pontius, who shot the ball through the middle of the net for the equalizer. De Rosario was responsible for three goals in the '06, '08, and 2010 All-Star Games. Becks kept up the free kick deliveries and received a standing ovation on the 74th minute as he left the pitch to Farfan. Although he didn't have any goals or goal assists, Beckham played for 74 minutes at 37 years of age and proved time and time again that he is the master of set pieces for the MLS. De Rosario proved he's not that far off from Beckham when it comes to free kicks, as his 79th minute shot flew inches above the net. After a series of passes outside the 18-yard box, Eddie Johnson made a furious run, and, making sure he wasn't in an offside position, netted the ball in, sealing the game for the All-Star Team. Chelsea wasn't given the chance to regroup after their free kick in stoppage time as Baldomero Toldeo blew the whistle. Toldeo's refereeing wasn't very good – he missed out on a number of handballs throughout the match.
The Philadelphia Union supporters drummed on and enjoyed the game just as much as the Chelsea fans who came to the arena.
This was the second time the All-Stars faced off against Chelsea FC, and the 7th time they played against an English club. Last year, the All-Stars lost the trophy to Manchester United at Red Bull Arena. United scored four goals against the All-Star team. Perhaps if Kasey Keller had been the main keeper of that match (and Hans Backe had not been coach), the All-Stars wouldn't have conceded quite as many goals. Ben Olsen certainly did his part in coaching the All-Star team this year. The D.C. United manager led his club out of obscurity and into the finer realms of the leader board.
MVP: Chris Pontius, who scored the equalizer for the MLS All-Stars.
GoalChatter MVP: De Rosario, who captained the All-Star Team. Unlike Pontius, De Ro played a full 90 minutes.