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Michelle Ackermann

Michelle Ackermann

Born in South Africa, soccer has always been a part of my life, and was pretty much ingrained in my genes. Journalism is my second love in life, and what better way to combine my two favorite things in life than to write about the one thing I am most passionate about. I follow the New York Red Bulls religiously, but have a deep passion for La Liga. This passion is part of the reason why I have moved to Barcelona to pursue my dream of becoming a sports broadcaster.


All Stars Get Schooled by the “Red Devils”

Written by on July 28, 2011 | 14 Comments »
Posted in General, Manchester United, MLS

It was a much anticipated game for soccer fans in the Tri-State area, as the All Star Match was to be played at Red Bull Arena. Even for those who are not fans of the greatest sport in the world, it was hard to go anywhere in the Big Apple and not see an event or poster referring to the All Star Matchup against Manchester United.

For loyal MLS fans, the chosen squad seemed like a strong and solid one, leaving most fans hopeful for a win, or at least a tie. How could we not with stellar strikers such as Thierry Henry, Juan Agudelo and Omar Bravo?

Defensively the team seemed like a coach’s dream come true; Sean Franklin, Jamison Olave, Tim Ream and Bobby Convey, with a midfield that should have demonstrated more chemistry between David Beckham, Shalrie Joseph and Brad Davis.

On paper, the team seemed like “the little team that could”, however on the field, it became clear that one practice session is not enough against a heavyweight like Manchester United.

The afternoon started early for the fans, with vendors, street teams, games and challenges of all kinds, and for all ages. By 8pm, most of the 26, 760 fans had found their way inside and when looking around, it was a swarm of red shirts; many of these shirts sporting “Chicharito”, who had spent the previous night in the hospital with a concussion, and would not be playing.

Red Bull wasted no time on advertisement and promotion, starting the festivities with two Red Bull endorsed parachutes dropping into the stadium. This was followed by a firework show, a moment of silence for those in Norway, and finally the moment everyone had been waiting for…kick off.

The first half saw a physical game from both sides, with Olave looking particularly strong in his job of defending Wayne Rooney. The back four for the All Stars seemed to be holding down the ball, until Manchester United found a way through in the 20th minute when Anderson, assisted by Rooney found the net.

The All Stars were hungry to equalize, but time and time again, the ball was either too short or too long to find Henry, who faced an open net more than once.

The attacking from the All Stars never seized to amaze, but miscommunication seemed a problem. Perhaps one training session does not grant strikers and forwards enough time to understand each other, while defensively it is an easier feat playing a position successfully without much time spent together.

That being said, Park found another hole in the defense and solidified Manchester United in the lead, with their second goal of the evening coming in the 45th minute.

The second half saw less fight from the All Stars, with only a few chances that they were not able to take advantage of. The All Stars only had one less shot on goal than the “Red Devils”, but Manchester United’s defense never faltered.

Merely a few minutes into the second half, Berbatov found the net in the 52nd to put them up by three goals. Backe scrambled and made a few substitutes, but it would prove unsuccessful when Welbeck put the 4th away for Manchester United.

This would be the first time in six years that the All Stars had failed to score a goal at all, with previous matches against Manchester United, Everton, West Ham, Celtic, Chelsea and Fulham all generating goals.

Many fans were disappointed with an individual referring to the game as a “Major League Embarrassment.” Backe stated that he was content with the way the team played together stating, “We had a good 90 minutes. The first half, I would say, possession was 50/50.” He also reiterated that it was difficult playing together after only one training session against a team that is preparing for their season which starts next week.

With Manchester United finishing up their US tour, and with all of their MLS opponents out of the way, one cannot help but wonder–having beaten Seattle Sounders 7-0, while other MLS opponents were able to at least score a goal against these giants; with the very best of the MLS selected and unable to produce a goal, are the All Stars any better than the Seattle Sounders?

14 responses to “All Stars Get Schooled by the “Red Devils””

  1. Roberto Manita says:

    Hi Michelle. How ya doin’?

    And I think I can say this with full conviction: CR7 takes the best spot kicks in the history of footy. David Beckham who? Becks couldn’t polish CR7’s boots when it comes to spot kicks.

    I also quite like Koeman, Roberto Carlos, and Pernimbacau (sic).

  2. Ed Gomes says:

    I might get killed for this, but I think that the pundits did the MLS a disservice yesterday.

    They started by saying how Man United was able to inflict damage to teams due to the lesser competion they faced in the second half. It was said how that would be different in the All Star game.
    Come half time, it was said that no subs were needed, just formation.
    During second hald we had to hear how the All Stars were missing important players and it would be different with them there.
    Where was this info before the match. Which is it?
    For someone who doesn’t follow the MLS, huh huh me, they actually made the league look worse than it is. This is an exhibition match with players that are currently involved in league play. Even with a 4-0 loss, the announcers could have painted the league in a better light, instead of trying to prove how the league has improved. The fact is that the league has gotten better, but you would come out disagreeing if you watched and listened to the announcers.

    Can we please find better analysts than Foudy and Harkes. I’m begging. Just because they played it doesn’t make them experts in analyzing anything. Both make comments that contradict with what is going happening on the field. just horrible.

  3. Gbenga says:

    Ed Gomes,

    I watched the game yesterday and I wasn’t surprised by some of the analysis from guys like Alexi Lalas, Taylor Twellman and John Harkes. Especially John Harkes who I expect a lot better from but realizes their commentaries are based on sound bites and nothing else. All they do is make excuses and excuses but forget the game gets lost along the way.

    Man U wanted to run up the score last night and if not for some good goalkeeping from Mondragon, the score would have been higher. The MLS has made a lot of strides over the years and continues to, but the difference was very clear last night. Remember Dave O’Brien from 2006 WC… Nothing changes…

  4. Ed and Gbenga – For me the most irritating habit of a lot of US based colour commentators is their endless ability to contradict themselves effortlessly throughout a game.

    The real good ones can do it in the same sound bite. Just now and again it would be nice to hear them say that “I got it wrong.”

    I realize that most viewers let it go in one ear and out the other but I usually finish up hitting mute.

  5. Gbenga says:


    It’s been that case for many years with their coverage and some of the people they have commentating on the games. Apart from WC’94 and WC’98 where the commentaries and analysis were on point, it has been nothing but downhill since then. The problem with sport stations like ESPN is their decisions are based on commercialization, hype, product selling and all and nothing about what the game really means.

    There is always one executive who sits in his office, doesn’t know anything about the game and makes irrational decisions based on ratings, hype and all. Guys like Tommy Smyth, JP Dellacamera are a joy to listen to because of their deep analysis and what the game means from an international perspective when speaking to an American audience.

    There is this aura of knowing everything about the game and how it should be played from an American perspective and along the way, it gets lost in translation. Total shame…

  6. Bradley fired and twitter has gone wild.

  7. jimsakeeper says:

    I thought the result was fair. Imagine the Dallas Mavericks going to Italy and playing the best basketball players in their league. I bet Italy could field a strong starting five, many of them USA ex-pats who were almost Mavericks quality (Shalrie), or were that good five years ago (Henry, Beckham).

    Then in the second half of that hypothetical game, if both sides cleared the bench I’d expect Dallas to dominate because the Italian league would not have the depth.

    There’s no shame losing 5-0 to Man U on the face of things. But what I saw was that they did it in a walk. If the MLS had defended tooth and nail, and Man U had reason to score all they could, it’s hard to say what the score would’ve looked like.

    Bobby’s right to stay away from these exhibitions, they are very different from the tenor of a full match.

  8. Gbenga says:

    Oh interesting news…. I think US might be panicking about not making it to WC 2014 with the emergence of Central American countries coming up… Time will tell…

  9. LA says:

    The number of people that criticize John Harkes’ abilities to color commentate, I am one of them, will hopefully lead to some changes. He and Alexi, while maybe doing a good job relating to an Americqn audience, have nothing to say on the GAME of soccer. I actually rate Twellman. He is raw, but as a long time striker and competitor on the field, he is always reading the game and analyzing the smaller tactical realities. When he gets it wrong, he is quick to own up to it, and he is not afraid to criticize the teams and management. I agree with him that you don’t set up a bunch if all stars in a 4-3-3 leaving the middle of the field very open against a team like United. A 4-4-2 would have given the team the structure it needed not to get sliced open, and I would have liked to see a game with Beckham and Davis on the sides feeding balls in. A bit of a waste. I thought the all stars did well to try to play a possession game, but it was not going to last. Very few can pull it off at this level.

  10. John Bladen says:


    West Ham, Everton, Celtic & Fulham.

    Good sides all, but they are not Man United (and no, I am not a ManU fan). MLS fans might have expected more than they got, Michelle, but expecting anything but a loss in this one would be just too much.

    “Our little league” has made strides in recent years, but it is still a long, long way from being able to compete with the best in the world. Man Utd showed us that this week with absolute clarity.

  11. Soccerlogical says:

    re: Bob Bradley

    The only N American coach I would like considered is Schellas Hyndman.

  12. LA says:


    We agree. And no Klinsmann (still a neophyte as a coach).

    Van Gaal intrigues me, as fiery as he is.

  13. Ed Gomes says:

    It has to be Klinsmann. If you are talking about a “Big” name, I can’t picture anyone else that would actually take the job.

    Bobby I agree with your comments in regards to the announcers not fessing up to mistakes.
    I find it incredible that sometimes they make comments about the match that completely contradicts what is taking place on the field. It’s not even an opinion, it’s just outright wrong.

    As for commercialism, you can do both. I happen to love to listen to Gol TV’s Ray hudson, and I know that plenty of people hate him. He’s definately a homer, yet I think that he’s spot on with his analysis and is very funny.

    Since I’m in a ripping mood, Bobby, maybe you can get the commentators at FSR to watch footage before talking about it. It’s horrible when we are able to tell that they are commenting on footage that they haven’t seen yet.
    The whole programming needs to be tighten up. How many times are we going to have to see the wrong team listed when a score goes up. It’s funny when the wrong team is posted but the crest/logo is correct. Is anyone throwing chairs around after that. They should be, because even if an intern did it, someone has to be checking.

    And thank you for explaining to Derek that Balotelli shouldn’t get a pass. And yes pass history does hurt him.
    There’s a big difference between step overs and cheeky back-heel touches for scores off crosses, and what he did.
    He should have a better feel for what his manager and teamates expect. He will be a coomplete waste of talent.

  14. LA says:

    Only question now is who fills Joachim Lowe position for Klinsman.

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