Earlier today MLS announced that this years All Star game will take place at PPL Park on July 25th . There was no word yet as to which team would be the opponent for the midsummer friendly that is the All Star game. The past two renditions of the event saw the leagues best players get run over by fairly strong Manchester United lineups so this time around MLS might be wise to find an opponent against whom they can at least provide a good opposition if not get a win.
Regardless of how you feel about the fact that the league even has an All Star game, I am certainly not a fan of it, the game remains one of the biggest events on the leagues calendar. This year though its timing could not have been much worse with a number of potential All Stars, including that David Beckham fellow, hoping they will be off on Olympic duty as the soccer tournament kicks off on the 26th.
The other point of note is that even if PPL Park is sold out for this game it will still be the smallest attendance for the event. The stadium currently only holds 18,500 which is just a bit lower than the attendance was back in 2007 at Dick's Sporting Goods Park. With the Sons of Ben out in full force and PPL Park being a fairly loud venue they should at least be able to make it seem like it has a much bigger crowd.
Now the fact that the game is taking place at PPL Park really should not be any sort of surprise as it falls in line with what Don Garber and the league tend to do. They like to show off the very best soccer specific parks and the investments that members of the league have made and PPL is just that. It may be a slightly smaller stadium but there is no argument that Philly has one of the best looking parks around.
The issue with having the game at PPL in my eyes is the fact that it is in Chester. The area around the Union's home field, though being the safest part of Chester, remains a very low end neighbourhood that often has issues. That kind of location makes the idea of all kinds of events around the stadium a bit more unlikely as fans will want to get in and out from the game as quickly as they can. The good folks at The Brotherly Game did point out to me that no crimes have been reported in the area around Union games so if you do plan on attending I don't think getting mugged is something you need to be afraid of. May even be safer than going to a hockey game in Buffalo!
Garber suggested that the opponent could be announced in the coming 60 days but it will be a lot longer before we know who might be representing Toronto in the event. If things go well Toronto could have a number of players on the roster which is just another burden to add to their already heavy work loads. I personally would not like the idea of either Torsten Frings or Danny Koevermans being involved in the game as their slightly older legs do not need that extra strain. Now if someone younger like Joao Plata or Ashtone Morgan would be involved that would be a bit more exciting for me.
For more details on the All Star game visit our friends at The Brotherly Game. Also do feel free to really let us know how you feel about the All Star game in the comments section.