The day of reckoning is upon us, when a band of Red Devils from Manchester, England visit our fair city to square off against an outfit of America's best. Well, not necessarily the US national team that played in South Africa, but a group of All-Stars from our domestic soccer league, Major League Soccer.
Unlike other professional sports -- where East meets West or the Americans face the Nationals -- MLS pits their best against one of the world's best. MLS has had great success against top international clubs; going 5-0-1 (the tie resulted in a loss in a penalty shootout last year against Everton).
In today's match, United left a good compliment of players back home in Manchester. Most of the English players that saw playing time in the 2010 FIFA World Cup were given time off during United's North American Tour.
Not to say this squad is completely void of talent.
Veterans like Paul Scholes, Ryan Giggs, and Wes Brown are still touring with United. Plus they have international talent like Nani, Fabio, Ji-Sung Park, and Javier Hernandez.
The MLS All-Stars have a good roster on paper, but scheduling conflicts will complicate the lineup. The CONCACAF Champions League just kicked off this week, and both Toronto FC and LA Galaxy played games last night; Seattle Sounders FC open up their CCL campaign tonight. It's highly unlike that All-Star coach Bruce Arena will play any of the players from those clubs to not risk injury.
That means no Landon Donovan, no Freddie Ljungberg, no Dwayne De Rosario. Also missing in action will be NY Red Bulls new forward, Thierry Henry.
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Starring for MLS will be Columbus Crew midfielder Guillermo Barros Schelotto, NYRB forward Juan Pablo Angel, and the star goalkeeper of last year's MLS Cup, Nick Rimando. Also joining the team will be local Houston Dynamo players Brian Ching and Brad Davis. While it is not yet know who the starting 11 will be for Arena, you can bet that both Orangemen will see time in front of the home crowd.
For the MLSers, this game is a once in a lifetime opportunity to play against a top European club. For Man U, this game is just another exhibition match, a preseason friendly before they start play in the English Premier League.
To predict the outcome of this match really depends on who Arena plays during the match. If he does bench the Galaxy, Toronto FC, and Sounders players, then Man U should take this match. Otherwise look for the MLSers to lift the All-Star trophy for a sixth time.
Prediction: MLS All-Stars over Man U, 2-1