It drew more fans than any other at the Chester, Philadelphia, stadium: 19,236 saw the MLS team defeat Chelsea, 3-2, on a goal in the 91st minute by the Seattle Sounders’ Eddie Johnson. It was the first friendly loss before the start of the new season. Chris Wondolowski, Chris Pontius and Johnson scored for MLS, with the last two coming in the final 20 minutes. Chelsea led on goals from John Terry and Frank Lampard on either side of halftime.
The MLS All-Stars won for the first time since 2008, when they downed West Ham for their fourth straight win over a European opponent. The MLS All-Stars beat Chelsea in 2006, 1-0. Manchester United defeated the MLS All-Stars, 4-0, in 2011, and, 5-2, in 2010. MLS also fell to Everton in 2009, as penalty kicks decided a 1-1 draw.
Wondolowski, who leads MLS with 17 goals, began the scoring in the 21st minute when a cross from Thierry Henry was not cleared by Terry. The ball bounced off Wondolowski and into space in the area, and the San Jose Earthquakes forward slotted low to the right post from 6 yards. Terry made up for his mistake just over 10 minutes later. The Chelsea defender opened space off a corner kick with a little nudge to Aurelien Collin, and was able to power a header over Osvaldo Alonso at the left post and under the bar. MLS All-Star goalkeeper Dan Kennedy came up with the save of the fixture ahead of the hour mark, as he dove to make a one-handed save on Lampard to push the ball wide of far post in the 58th minute.
Just seconds later, though, Lampard would find the back of the net when a long corner was played back to the near side from Ramires, and Lampard sneaked into space to hit a low shot to a vacated near post to give Chelsea the lead. The MLS All-Stars answered in the 73rd when D.C. United teammates Pontius and Dwayne De Rosario combined on the equalizer. David Beckham started the play on a long ball from the other side of midfield, and De Rosario settled and played a ball to the middle of the area for Pontius to slot inside the near post. Johnson followed with the match-winner early in stoppage time as he was played in by Kyle Beckerman, then drove a shot off Chelsea defender David Luiz that took a deflection to the near post to leave goalkeeper Ross Turnbull to chance to make a save.
The last whistle blew seconds later as MLS ended its three-year losing streak, and Pontius – added to the team by club and All-Star coach Ben Olsen – won the MVP award.
Inside the stadium, patriotism drenched the game that American fans are slowly adopting. The fans on the south end drowned those from Chelsea with drums and classic songs like Bruce Channel’s “Hey! Baby.” At halftime, the stadium swayed to “God Bless America” and the “Rocky theme song. Then, red and white fireworks pounded the black sky, right above the Delaware River, right behind the fans chanting for their hometown.
Meanwhile, our new Chelsea 3rd kit has now unveiled. Hope you like it!!
DID YOU KNOW?
- A late request from Chelsea means each team will have 10 substitutions. Because he needed an extra player to make that many changes, All-Star coach Ben Olsen called up Philadelphia Union utility man Michael Farfan
- Chelsea also played the MLS All-Star team in 2006. A goal from Dwayne De Rosario, who has been named captain of the 2012 side, settled the match 1-0 in favor of MLS.
- Landon Donovan has been selected every year since his rookie season in 2001. This, his 12th All-Star nod, sets an MLS record, one more than Eddie Pope.
- Late goal by Johnson lifts MLS Stars past Chelsea (sportsillustrated.cnn.com)
- Former KC Striker Scores Game Winner Late For MLS In Win Over Chelsea (wibw.com)
- Eddie Johnson’s late goal lifts MLS All-Stars over Chelsea (cbc.ca)
- MLS All-Stars 3 Chelsea 2 (thesun.co.uk)