July 26, 2012
MLS All-Stars score late to stun Chelsea
By Sports Network
CHESTER, PA - Eddie Johnson scored the match-winner in extra time as the MLS All-Stars slayed European champion Chelsea, 3-2, on Wednesday night at PPL Park.
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.
"I think any time you step on the field against Chelsea you want to perform well," Pontius said after the match. "This whole week's been fun for us as players - and I'm sure as a coaching staff for Ben and the guys. So we just came out here, we wanted to put in some good work and put on a good show and we were able to do that in the end."
Guiding the All-Stars to an entertaining victory over the reigning European champions made for an enjoyable night for Olsen, one of the league's most impressive club coaches midway through the season.
"I really enjoyed [Wednesday night]," Olsen said. "I wasn't sure how I was going to enjoy it. But I thought the players did a wonderful job. The way they played, I think, was fun to watch for the fans, and that's what these [games] are still about - entertaining the people that come here.
"We talk about results, we know MLS is on a stage and every time [the All- Stars] play, people are interested in how the MLS is doing. But I thought they did the MLS proud tonight."