In a stunning Wednesday night upset in Philadelphia, the MLS All-Stars pulled off a 3-2 victory over reigning Champions League champs Chelsea thanks to a stoppage-time goal that nobody could have seen coming.
The MLS All-Stars got on the board first, with San Jose Earthquakes striker Chris Wondolowski scoring in the 21st minute. "Wondo," a California native, took a cross from New York Red Bulls striker Thierry Henry and managed to find the back of the net after a Chelsea defender failed to make a clearance.
Chelsea was not to be outdone, though, as centre-back John Terry found the back of the net with his head in the 32nd minute. All was quiet for the remainder of the first half and the two teams went into the break drawn knotted at 1-1.
The Blues threatened from the moment they stepped on field after the break, and it looked like only a matter of time until the MLS defensive dam would burst. That was indeed the case, as Roberto Di Matteo's side took the lead in the 58th on a goal by Frank Lampard that was given to him on a silver platter.
Had this been anything more than an exhibition, Chelsea very well may have hung back and waited for full time to come about, but luckily for the MLS, this was an All-Star showcase.
Chris Pontius found the back of the net in the 73rd minute for the All-Stars on a helper from his D.C. United teammate Dwayne De Rosario. It's no surprise that a duo from the same team combined on goal, as it is obviously a difficult task for All-Stars to develop solid chemistry in such short order.
It was Eddie Johnson's day to shine, though, as he posted the final tally of the match in the 92nd to give his side the win.
Here is Eddie Johnson's winner:
Fox Soccer Trax let the Twitterverse know just how great of a host the City of Brotherly Love can be:
Tonight's attendance at the MLS All-Star Game: A new PPL Park record crowd of 19,236. Packed house and a lively crowd. Good night for Philly— FOX Soccer Trax (@FOXSoccerTrax) July 26, 2012
Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl took a nice little jab at MLB commissioner Bud Selig and the weight the MLB All-Star Game bears:
In the Selig tradition, Chelsea gets home-field advantage in the Champions League final by winning the MLS All-Star Game, right?— Grant Wahl (@GrantWahl) July 26, 2012
NBC Sports' Troy Machir might be getting a little ahead of himself with the following bit of self-mockery:
So this confirms that US soccer is back and that the MLS is better than the Champions League, right?— Troy Machir (@TroyMachir) July 26, 2012
Former MLS Defender of the Year Jimmy Conrad provides us with a nice photo to show the humor of the Philadelphia crowd:
SPOTTED: The best sign at the MLS All-Star game. Well played, Sons Of Ben. Well played. twitter.com/JimmyConrad_co…— Jimmy Conrad (@JimmyConrad_com) July 26, 2012
Deciding Factor: Eddie Johnson's Late Run
Seattle Sounders forward Eddie Johnson overran a through ball, but was able to retrieve and dribbled up toward the Chelsea goal. Johnson then unleashed a shot that deflected off a Chelsea defender and bounced over the oncoming Ross Turnbull's head and into the back of the net.
Johnson and company were helped out by a couple of late no-calls that could have gone against them in their own zone, but his goal looks like a line-drive blast in the box score.
Game MVP: Chris Pontius
D.C. United's Chris Pontius scored the goal that got his team back in the game and was awarded the Volkswagen MVP Award.
He came on for Landon Donovan at halftime and was all over the place, working effectively with his teammates to score the upset.
The entire world wakes up tomorrow and finds themselves in shock that a collection of players from America's domestic league was able to grab a victory over one of the best in the English Premier League and Europe.
As for the actual football part, the MLS All-Stars get a couple days off before play starts up again, beginning on Friday, July 27, when Real Salt Lake meets the Vancouver Whitecaps.
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