It is time for everybody's favorite midseason exhibition -- the MLS All-Star Game! The best in MLS will take on a power team from abroad in a match with everything on the line. Or nothing on the line. Yeah, nothing on the line.
This one doesn't count (take notes, MLB), but it can be fun. You can only see the best in MLS together once a year so there is that. Steven Beitashour to David Beckham to Dwayne De Rosario to Chris Wondolowski sounds like a great way to score a goal if you are a MLS fan. Add in that doing it against the reigning UEFA Champions League winners gives fans of the league a chance to stupidly rub in the result of a friendly and the game is awesome!
Getting semi-serious (which is as serious as one can get about this), Chelsea are a bit more ahead in their preseason than other clubs and are actually almost halfway through. That means that they are getting closer to full strength and will take things more seriously. Winning still doesn't matter, but playing well and playing some more of their better players does matter.
That means that the Blues will probably have closer to a full strength back line. John Terry and Ashley Cole will both probably see more time than they have thus far and Branislav Ivanovic will be at the back as well, giving Chelsea their first choice defense if David Luiz is able to beat out Gary Cahill for the last spot. It's still preseason, but at least it is many of Chelsea's best players.
Can Wondolowski and Thierry Henry beat that Chelsea defense? Does Frank Lampard's late season renaissance as a semi-capable tackler in a double-pivot continue and allow him to keep De Rosario in check? Is it possible for a MLS defense that doesn't play together to contain the man-child Romelu Lukaku? Will there be enough people sensible enough to just enjoy the match and not pretend that it means anything at all?
Working in MLS's favor is that they beat Chelsea in the 2006 All-Star Game, 1-0. That kind of history has a lot of bearing on this all-important match.
Game Date/Time: Wednesday, July 25, 8:30 p.m. ET
Venue: PPL Park, Chester, PA
TV: ESPN (USA English), Telefutura (USA Spanish), TSN (Canada)