The 2014 MLS All-Star game is only 24 hours away, and American soccer fans be ecstatic because they get to witness the “Almighty” Bayern Munich in action.
Even though the game is only a friendly a friendly, both sides have something to prove.
MLS All-Stars are representing a league that’s always criticized for being a retirement league and lacking top talents. A good performance against Bayern – a win would be appreciated – would certainly boost the league’s reputation in Europe.
For Pep Guardiola’s men, a victory is not a necessity, but I’m sure Spanish manager doesn’t want to lose. They are trying to develop their fan base in the States, and a great performance would definitely entice new supporters.
Here are the five things to watch out for during the game.
1. Will Bayern’s World Cup stars start the game?
In their last preseason game against Chivas De Guadalajara, Guardiola relied on his role players, new signings and academy players to get the job done. And they did, wining 1-0 at the Red Bulls Arena. Thomas Muller, Philipp Lahm, Mario Gotze, etc., those are the players we want to see in the starting lineup on August 6.
Thousands – if not millions of American soccer fans – will tune expecting to see the players that hoisted the World Cup trophy a few weeks ago. If Guardiola decides to rest his big name players, a lot of people will be disappointed.
2. How fit are Bayern players?
The All-Star game is a fitness test for the upcoming DFL-Supercup match against Borussia Dortmund. Guardiola will ask his players to test their limits against players who are in midseason form. This will make the game more competitive because Bayern players will be motivated to impress their coach.
3. Which MLS star will wear the captain’s armband?
Charged with managing superstars for a few days, Caleb Porter will have to pick a captain from a team packed with multiple leaders. Will he choose his club captain Will Johnson, or will it give it to Sporting Kansas City’s captain Matt Besler? We just have to wait and see.
4. Will any MLS All-Star play the full 90 minutes?
This is the one of the problems with the All-Star game. Because the rest period between the game and next league match is so short, the fans will not see Thierry Henry, Landon Donovan or Clint Dempsey go the distance. Omar Gonzalez and Robbie Keane already pulled out of the game because of LA Galaxy’s Western Conference clash against San Jose Earthquakes two days after the All-Star game.
I’m almost certain Porter won’t let anyone play more than 50 minutes.
5. Will the game be a walk in the park for Bayern Munich?
Truth be told, this MLS All-Star team is no match for Bayern. In fact, there might be only team in the world – Real Madrid — that can claim to be better than the reigning Bundesliga champion. Because of their superiority, most people — including myself — expect Bayern to defeat the All-Stars.
Hopefully the result is not as one-sided as Manchester United versus LA Galaxy.
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