The MLS All-Stars are going to make a statement by taking down the defending Champions League winners Chelsea. Of course, the statement will be somewhat muted, considering this is nothing but a tune up for Chelsea. Yet that makes it even more important for the all-stars to produce a good showing—and they will.
The last two years, the all-stars were embarrassed by mighty Manchester United by a combined score of 9-2. The all-stars will be trying hard to prove they are able to hang with the big boys better than those lopsided outcomes indicate.
Let's get into the specifics of how the game, which will be Wednesday at 8:30 p.m. ET, will unfold.
High Scoring Affair
The all-stars played Chelsea in 2006. They won that match by a score of 1-0. This one will feature quite a bit more scoring.
The MLS side was shutout last year, and it will be on full attack to prevent that from happening again. Meanwhile, Chelsea has little reason to put full effort into team defense.
This will leave some opening for the all-stars, and for their part, they certainly won't be able to keep Chelsea off the board this time around.
There will be at least five goals scored in this contest.
MLS Will Edge Out a Victory
As stated above, the MLS all-stars will return to the winning side of this exhibition. It will be their first win since 2008 against West Ham United.
Chelsea isn't going to give their starters much run here, but that is actually when I expect the all-stars to gain their edge.
The Chelsea starters won't be playing for anything other than to get their legs under them, while some of the subs will be battling for playing time.
I expect the all-stars to score two early goals, and hold their lead the rest of the way.
Prediction: All-stars 3, Chelsea 2
Glimpse of the Future
The most exciting part about this contest is that it is going to be a glimpse of how the evaluation of sports and athletes is evolving. Zach McCann of ESPN shed some light on the kind of technology that will be used for this contest:
...every precise detail of every player will be digitally tracked. Speed, acceleration, field position—even heart rate—will be instantly available to coaches, players and trainers throughout the match.
This is the kind of technology that will someday be commonplace. I'd tell you what kind of difference this will make in on-field performance and training etc., but only time will tell.