An entertaining 2012 MLS All-Star Game ended 3-2 Wednesday to MLS, as Seattle Sounders forward Eddie Johnson hit a shot towards goal in the 91st minute that was deflected off Chelsea defender David Luiz and made its way into the net for the winner. It capped off a match in which Chelsea had a good shout at a handball penalty by San Jose Earthquakes defender Steven Beitashour minutes earlier, but the visitor's calls went unheeded by the referee. In addition to Johnson's winner, San Jose Earthquakes forward Chris Wondolowski got the scoring started in the 21st minute to put the All-Stars up 1-0, followed by an equalizer by Chelsea defender John Terry off a corner kick in the 32nd minute.
Chivas USA's lone All-Star this year, goalkeeper Dan Kennedy, started the match on the bench, in favor of Sporting Kansas City goalkeeper Jimmy Nielsen. Nielsen had a nice half, making one save and allowing Terry's goal. Then he stepped aside so that Kennedy could shine (just kidding...a little).Kennedy was at least partially to blame for Chelsea's second goal, when just after making a key save on a Frank Lampard shot, he tried to catch a cross but misjudged the height and missed the ball completely. By coming off his line, he left the goal wide open for Frank Lampard to finish the chance, putting Chelsea up 2-1 in the 58th minute.
But DK shook off the mistake, not allowing any more goals after that point, while the All-Stars clawed their way back into the game. MLS evened the score at 2-2 in the 73rd minute when D.C. United teammates Dwayne De Rosario and Chris Pontius connected in Chelsea's box, and Pontius buried the one-time shot. From there, it appeared the match would go to penalties, as that is evidently what happens when the All-Star Game ends with a tie score. To be perfectly honest, as the game was coming to a close, I was kind of hoping that it would go to PKs, to see how Kennedy would perform in that situation. In my mind, he would make a few crazy-awesome saves, and would be carried off the field by his teammates as the hero, but in reality he may or may not have had much impact on the shootout. Chelsea did, after all, win a European continental title recently on penalties.
So Chivas' All-Star finished the night with 45 minutes played, two saves, and one goal allowed. He didn't win the MVP award (that went to Pontius instead) but ESPN gave him the save of the game award. And he doesn't look hurt, so as long as he comes back the way he left, we can consider it a complete success. Also, let's hope this ushers in more success for him in his career, as he certainly deserves it.
Turning to the result itself, does a win by MLS matter? In a word, no. Look, if we rationalize blowout losses to European opposition as no big deal and no indictment on the league, then we can't act like a win means anything of consequence. I think both teams played well, MLS got a couple of breaks that helped them get the win, but both teams played a fairly entertaining match. That's all we can expect, really.
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