- The Washington Times - Sunday, August 6, 2006

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — Following the United States’ early elimination from the World Cup this summer, many wondered how Major League Soccer ‘s All-Star team would measure up to England’s best team.

The MLS stars proved that they could last night at Toyota Park outside of Chicago, upsetting Chelsea FC 1-0. After a scoreless first half, Houston Dynamo midfielder Dwayne De Rosario drove a ball into the upper right corner in the 70th minute past the outstretched hands of Chelsea goalie Hilario, who was subbing in the second half for starter Carlo Cudicini. De Rosario’s goal was assisted by Dallas’ Ronnie O’Brien.

It stood up for a win that practically no one thought was possible.

“I’m very proud of them,” MLS All-Star coach and D.C. United coach Peter Nowak said. “We had fighters on the field today. We can compete at the highest level. For us it was very important to put a team together that was going to fight. The team understood the concept and how to play.”

The team concept was helped with eight All-Star players from D.C. United. Troy Perkins started in goal, recording two first-half saves. Bobby Boswell and Facundo Erpen started on defense. Christian Gomez started at midfield with Joshua Gros, and Jaime Moreno was playing at right forward.

Perkins made two saves in the first half and Erpen, a late addition to the team, broke up a crossing pass just before halftime.

“It was fun overall,” Perkins said of the game, which was played before a sellout crowd of 21,210 at Toyota Park, the new home of the Chicago Fire. “They tested us a bit and I think we frustrated them pretty well as well. They got upset with some calls and we forced them offsides.”

The biggest offsides for Chelsea came in the 28th minute, when it appeared that Didier Drogba had given the Blues the lead, only to have the goal disallowed. Chelsea is in offseason training, and used eight subs in the second half.

The only two United players not to start, Freddy Adu and Alecko Eskandarian, entered the game in the second half, with Adu receiving a scoring chance only to get stopped by Hilario.

“I was trying to shoot and I had no angle. The moment I tried to cross the ball he poked it out of bounds,” Adu said.

Although the MLS stars outshot Chelsea 12-10, the Blues of the English Premier League put more shots on goal (5-2). But Chelsea coach Jose Mourinho was impressed with the MLS’ offensive performance and a defensive showing that held off Chelsea from close-range in the waning minutes.

“We have to try to win, but the conditions are different,” Mourinho said. “They were faster than us, sharper than us. They fought very hard and I congratulate them.”

Chelsea, the champion of the Premier League the past two seasons and winners of 70 of their last 76 regular season league games, had two late chances to tie to avoid what many in England might term an embarrassing loss.

John Terry, the Blues’ captain who played a strong defensive game, put a point-blank shot on MLS goalie Joe Cannon from the left side of the goalie box in the 87th minute. Cannon made the save and had to stop Ricardo Carvalho from about the same spot in the two minutes of stoppage time.

Cannon, who subbed for Perkins, jubilantly kicked the ball into the corner stands at the end of the game.

“It’s great,” Adu said. “We just beat one of the best teams in the world. We just fought hard. We knew they were going to have their chances and we just got to dig in and we did and we got our goal and were able to keep that goal and that was awesome.”

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide