Following the first full training session for the MLS All Star team, who are all preoccupied with club season games and individual quests for the MLS Cup, most of the players seemed honored on being selected for this MLS powerhouse of a squad.
Sean Franklin, a defender for the LA Galaxy stated; “I am excited to be selected. We have a chance to show them what we are made of, and play some good soccer.” As if being selected hadn’t been enough of a dream come true, he talked about growing up and looking up to Thierry Henry and what an honor it is to be on the same field playing with these guys. As for the chemistry amongst the team, he confessed that one session is a tight fit, but that practice had gone pretty well.
Tim Ream, who plays for the New York Red Bulls said that it was a special opportunity to be selected; “This is an exciting time, this is a great experience for a young guy like me.” Just like Franklin, Ream was a bit concerned about the little time the team has had together, but most guys know each other and the individual styles from playing in the same league.
This showcase is a perfect gateway to raise awareness of the sport, and build a larger fan base here in the United States, where soccer seems to be lagging far behind other favorites such as American football, baseball and basketball. Red Bull Captain, Thierry Henry strongly agreed stating; “This game is a special one for the League, and a great thing for the fans. It is a chance for us to show what MLS is all about.” Of course, no stranger to the stacked Manchester United side, Henry went on to say that no one should forget the “fun factor”, and that whether they win or lose, as long as people enjoy the experience and embrace the MLS, it is a job well done.
Coach Backe, a man who holds an undefeated record against the “Red Devils” seemed relaxed after the training session. “This team has a lot of experienced players. There are no excuses, but an hour is not much.” Backe has chosen not to discuss last year’s loss with the team, but jokingly stated that he had spoken to the team about maintaining his undefeated record. Backe seemed confident about the teams attacking ability, but some questions remain as to the strength of the defensive side.
Asked what the goal for tomorrow’s match was, Backe answered; “To pick up a good result.” Simple and straightforward. He seems to have a plan, and what an amazing platform for a man who managed to take his club team from last placed to first in the matter of a year. Here is to hoping he has found the missing ingredient to grant this MLS All Star Team a victory over the “Red Devils”.
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