The most interesting exhibition match of the summer will be between the MLS All-Stars and Bayern Munich.
Instead of a competition featuring half of the top Major League Soccer players against the others, the league decided to put all of its best players together against a European opponent.
While the American contingent has struggled for the most part in these matches, the group continues to fight hard in each matchup.
Most importantly, the upcoming competition will feature a number of players who were prevalent at the recent World Cup. The MLS squad will include a bunch of members from Team USA, while Bayern Munich have plenty of athletes from Germany and other teams.
This will make the friendly an exciting match to watch no matter who wins. Here is a look at what to watch for in the upcoming battle.
When: Wednesday, August 6
Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
Where: Providence Park, Portland, Oregon
Live Stream: ESPN3
|MLS All-Star Squad|
|Nick Rimando||GK||Real Salt Lake|
|Bill Hamid||GK||D.C. United|
|Matt Besler||DF||Sporting Kansas City|
|Omar Gonzalez||DF||Los Angeles Galaxy|
|DeAndre Yedlin||DF||Seattle Sounders|
|Aurelien Collin||DF||Sporting Kansas City|
|Chad Marshall||DF||Seattle Sounders|
|Michael Parkhurst||DF||Columbus Crew|
|Bobby Boswell||DF||D.C. United|
|Sean Franklin||DF||D.C. United|
|Liam Ridgewell||DF||Portland Timbers|
|Kyle Beckerman||MF||Real Salt Lake|
|Clint Dempsey||MF||Seattle Sounders|
|Michael Bradley||MF||Toronto FC|
|Graham Zusi||MF||Sporting KC|
|Osvaldo Alonso||MF||Seattle Sounders|
|Tim Cahill||MF||New York Red Bulls|
|Will Johnson||MF||Portland Timbers|
|Diego Valeri||MF||Portland Timbers|
|Maurice Edu||MF||Philadelphia Union|
|Obafemi Martins||FW||Seattle Sounders|
|Landon Donovan||FW||Los Angeles Galaxy|
|Thierry Henry||FW||New York Red Bulls|
|Jermain Defoe||FW||Toronto FC|
|Dom Dwyer||FW||Sporting Kansas City|
|Robbie Keane||FW||Los Angeles Galaxy|
|Erick Torres||FW||Chivas USA|
|Bradley Wright-Phillips||FW||New York Red Bulls|
|Highlighted names selected by fan votes; Source: MLSSoccer.com|
MLS Top Player to Watch: Clint Dempsey
If MLS wants to compete with one of the best teams in the world, it will need a lot of help from a player with tons of international experience. Clint Dempsey has played a big role for the United States national team and has also had plenty of success in the English Premier League.
The Seattle Sounders star scored 17 goals for Fulham in the 2011-12 season and added two for the national team this summer in Brazil.
If he was able to beat the world-class defenders in these competitions, he will be able to fare well against the solid defense of Bayern.
Interestingly, Dempsey is not a big fan of the current format of the All-Star game, per Will Parchman of Top Drawer Soccer:
Still, he is the team's best chance to get onto the scoresheet in this matchup.
Bayern Munich Player to Watch: Robert Lewandowski
In the past few years, Bayern Munich have been deadly thanks to the elite midfield. They controlled possession and were able to consistently get the ball up to the forwards in good position to score.
While this was good enough before, the attack is now even better with world-class striker Robert Lewandowski. The Borussia Dortmund star might have been the best player in the Bundesliga not on Bayern Munich, and now he is playing with the reigning champs.
He is already showcasing his unique skill in the preseason:
With his addition to this roster, Bayern Munich could be unstoppable this season, and especially in this match.
While this game will feature the best players in the MLS, the pure talent on Bayern Munich is much better.
Kansas City defender Matt Besler talked about this match as little more than a learning experience, as reported by Geoffrey C. Arnold of The Oregonian:
Over the past two or three years, Bayern's made a very, very strong case as the best team in the world. It's not every day you get that opportunity to play one of the best teams in the world. We always enjoy playing against world-class players. You learn something from every experience and every player you play against.
This does not sound like someone expecting to actually be competitive.
With forwards like Franck Ribery, Lewandowski, Thomas Muller and others, this group might be impossible for the MLS team to stop. All of the squad's biggest stars will be in attendance as the World Cup players will return to action.
Add this to the fact that the German side will have much better chemistry, and this match will not even be close.
The MLS All-Stars will likely be aggressive to put goals into the back of the net, but it will leave the back line exposed to give up a lot of shots. This will lead to a poor finish for the hosts in this matchup.
It is not yet known who will be in the starting lineup for each team, but Bayern Munich should have an easy time coming away with a win.
Predicted Score: Bayern Munich 5, MLS All-Stars 2
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