5 Alternative Formats for the MLS All-Star Game

Peter Galindo@@GalindoPWFeatured ColumnistJuly 30, 2015

5 Alternative Formats for the MLS All-Star Game

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    Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports

    MLS defeated Premier League side Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 on Wednesday in the 20th edition of the All-Star Game. 

    It was also the 11th meeting against an international opponent since 2005. However, the likes of Goal.com's Ives Galarcep has called for a change to the competition.

    The East vs. West format was suggested by Galarcep, which is plausible, but there a few other noteworthy ideas.

    Here are five alternative formats to the MLS All-Star Game.

East vs. West

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    NICK WASS/Associated Press

    The East vs. West match is the likeliest switch at this point. Seattle Sounders forward Clint Dempsey supported this format, with the winner claiming home field advantage during MLS Cup, per the official league website.

    MLS used the East vs. West game from 1996 to 1997 and 1999 to 2001 before the last match in 2004. The league is deep enough these days to field teams from either conference. 

    Fans can still vote, the coach can make selections and commissioner Don Garber can pick a couple of players if he chooses.

    East vs. West would be a great match and one that soccer fans would enjoy.

USA vs. World

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    Andy Lyons/Getty Images

    MLS used the U.S. vs. World format in 1998 when the USA crushed the internationals 6-1 at the Citrus Bowl in Orlando. 

    The World team in 1998 featured Jorge Campos, Lubos Kubik, Carlos Valderrama, Marco Etcheverry, Raul Diaz Arce and Jaime Moreno.

    It was a decent side on paper, but there are plenty of international stars in MLS in the present day. The two goalscorers from the 2015 All-Star Game, Kaka and David Villa, would highlight the current World team.

    Others such as FC Dallas winger Fabian Castillo and LA Galaxy forward Robbie Keane would likely be named to the World roster.

    Since it would involve one nation against the rest, the voting process would likely differ. Coaches can be chosen by their peers and could select each team. A player draft, similar to the NHL and NFL, would be another option as well.

MLS All-Stars vs. MLS Cup Champions

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    Jae C. Hong/Associated Press

    The All-Stars battling the defending MLS Cup champions would be a brand new format.

    As an example, the LA Galaxy would've played the MLS All-Stars. Galaxy players would be automatically ineligible from the voting process; fans would then pick who they want to face the champions.

    The club would have an advantage due to its chemistry, but the All-Stars have some of the league's best players on the squad.

    Venues can also rotate between the championship team's stadium and a neutral site.

    Seeing the champions facing the rest of the league's best players would be entertaining.

MLS All-Stars vs. USMNT

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    David Zalubowski/Associated Press

    Nothing would split an American crowd more than staging a match between MLS and the U.S. men's national team.

    Certain U.S. internationals who play in MLS could be selected by USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann. If there were more Americans abroad, it would be significantly more intriguing if Klinsmann couldn't pick players from the domestic league.

    The current voting system can remain in place under this format. Klinsmann would name his roster, and then the supporters can pick 11 players before the MLS coach and commissioner Don Garber decide on the rest.

    The only disadvantage to this format would be the clubs that wouldn't release their players. Staging the All-Star festivities in mid-July shouldn't be a problem, though.

MLS All-Stars vs. Mexico National Team

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    Eduardo Verdugo/Associated Press

    MLS vs. Mexico's national team would draw great television ratings and fans to the stadium. It might be a pro-Mexican crowd, but that hasn't stopped the U.S. men's national team from facing its arch rival in the past.

    Since the majority of Mexico's players play their club soccer in Liga MX, it would be difficult for some of them to participate in this game during the summer. However, the talent pool is deep enough to build a competitive roster.

    This is a format that any MLS fan would care about, especially American supporters.

    What format would you like to see at the MLS All-Star Game? Let us know in the comments below!

    Peter Galindo covers MLS and U.S. soccer for Bleacher Report. Follow him on Twitter @GalindoPW.

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