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26 July 2008

MLS All Star Game: Teams 1 - ESPN 0

I have to admit that this was the first MLS All Star Game that I have ever watched. After finally getting back into MLS after 8 or so years I was really excited about seeing everyone play. Even though none of my DC United players made the squad (I have to admit that only Emilio was qualified to play) I knew it was going to be a great game. Even better was the fact that they were playing West Ham United, one of my favorite teams to cheer for in the English Premier League. As a mostly unbiased viewer I thought the game turned out amazing.

The beginning started out shaky as many would expect it to with players getting used to playing with each other on the MLS side and the Hammers just starting their pre-season. However, after the first fifteen minutes the game opened up and the stars began to shine. I thought it was good that West Ham scored the first goal because it really showed that the All Stars had to actually try to play together to win the game. After the resounding comeback with amazing goals and support between Blanco and Gomez the game went to half time with everyone knowing the game would live up to expectations. The second half of the game kept the excitement up, except for the final ten minutes where it looked like West Ham wasn't pushing up as much as they could to try and get the tie. All in all it was a great game that really showcased what the MLS is capable of.

Now with all that said I would like to raise some complaints I found with the game. As big a support base that TFC has, I think they could afford to get a real field. I don't think any sport should be played on turf, especially soccer. It just doesn't seem natural to me and the physics related to sliding on the ground and the ball bouncing just aren't right.

Another thing that was horrible about the game was ESPN's involvement and the terrible announcers they keep pushing on the viewers. Having to listen to those two blow hards try to talk about soccer just grates my ears. They hardly ever talk about the game and really have nothing to add. It seems those two just seem to like to hear each other talk and every so often talk about how amazing Landon Donovan and David Beckham are at soccer. The other thing ESPN does it not take soccer seriously at all. Each half they interrupted the game to tell us how some boring baseball game was progressing. One of the biggest MLS games that every fan would be watching and they proceed to interrupt to tell us about a sport that is only mildly more entertaining than golf to watch.

ESPN did get one thing right and that was their pre-game and half-time male correspondent. I don't remember his name but he was hilarious. Thankfully he didn't defer to Julie Foudy (who I also cannot stand) very often and just kept making me laugh. The bit with the hawk and the food was just amazing. Get rid of JP Dellacamera and his cronies and just put this guy on for all of the next ESPN broadcasts.

All in all I have to say that this game was really fun to watch and makes me look forward to next year's All Star Game. I hope they can get another great Premier League team to play that has some draw here in the States and Canada. I just hope ESPN can fix their coverage because I love to be able to watch the game in hi-def.