MLS All-Stars Defeat European Champions, Chelsea FC, 3-2
Eddie Johnson’s stoppage time goal capped off a solid performance from the MLS All-Stars against Chelsea FC at PPL Park. After taking the lead early in the game, the All-Stars had to fight back when Chelsea responded with two goals of their own.
All-Star Coach Ben Olsen chose a starting line-up of Nielsen, Beitashour, Collin, DeMerit, Morrow, Beckham, Alonso, De Rosario, Donovan, Henry and Wondolowski to take on the mix of veterans and youth in Chelsea’s starting eleven of Hilario, Cole, Terry, Cahill, Ivanovic, Marin, Ramires, Lampard, Essien, Benayoun, and Lukaku.
The early minutes of the game did not provide any dangerous chances as the All-Stars tried get a feel for their teammates while getting players behind the ball when Chelsea had possession. As time went on MLS found a flow and periods of possession through the play of Landon Donovan, Thierry Henry, and Dwayne De Rosario. On the defensive end, Jay DeMerit didn’t allow Romelu Lukaku any space to test Jimmy Nielsen.
In the 21st minute the game’s first dangerous chance turned into the opening goal. After the All-Stars intercepted a Chelsea throw-in, Donovan fed a ball to Henry along the left flank. Henry sent a cross into the box to Chris Wondolowski. John Terry attempted to clear the cross, but the ball ended up at the feet of the San Jose forward while Terry ended up on his back, leaving Wondolowski to slip his shot past Henrique Hilario.
Terry would get his redemption eleven minutes later after the All-Stars conceded a corner. Frank Lampard sent the ball into the box where Terry created just enough space between him and Aurelien Collin, who had just re-entered the game after taking a knock to the head during a hard tackle on Michael Essien, to get his head to the cross and sneak the ball just under the crossbar, leveling the scoreline.
Three minutes after the goal, Collin was subbed out for Philadelphia Union defender Carlos Valdes.
The All-stars had a chance to go into halftime with the lead when David Beckham found Henry at the top of the box. Henry tried to pick out the upper corner of the near post, but his curling shot just missed.
With both teams allotted ten substitutions for the game, there were a number of changes for the second half. The All-Stars brought on Dan Kennedy and Chris Pontius to replace Nielsen and Donovan while David Luiz, Florent Malouda, Ross Turnbull and Paulo Ferreria entered the game for Chelsea with Hilario, Terry, Yossi Benayoun, and Ashley Cole stepping off.
The opening minutes of the second half saw Chelsea test Chivas USA ‘keeper Dan Kennedy mostly from distance, but the European champions couldn’t break the deadlock.
At the 56th minute, the All-Stars made a trio of substitutions sending in Graham Zusi, Kyle Beckerman and Ramiro Corrales in for Henry, Alonso, and Morrow.
In the 58th minute a quick save from Kennedy kept Chelsea from taking the lead after Lampard snuck behind the defense with a diagonal run. However, the tables turned less than a minute later when Kennedy failed to get a touch to a cross from Ramires. The ball landed at the feet of Lampard, who would not be denied a second time.
At the hour mark there was another flurry of subs from Chelsea with Essien, Ramires, Lampard and Marin making way for Raul Meireles, John Obi Mikel, Eden Hazard and Lucas Piazon. The All-Stars made a single change, taking out Wondolowski for Eddie Johnson.
The action hit a bit of a lull until the 73rd minute when David Beckham found De Rosario with a long ball over the defense. De Rosario took the ball into the box and held his run then laid the ball off to DC United teammate Pontius who threaded a shot between a Chelsea defender and Turnbull to level the scoreline.
After taking the lead, the All-Stars took off Beckham and sent in the second representative from the Philadelphia Union, Michael Farfan.
With just two minutes of extra time left to play, it looked like the game would go into penalties, but in the first minute of stoppage time Beckerman played a ball forward to Johnson. Johnson collected the ball and took a touch to his right before taking a shot from the top of the box. Turnbill may have had a chance at making the save, but the shot took a deflection off Luiz and bounced into the wide open net.