July 28, 2016
MLS' all-star record can be measured differently
By Brian Trusdell
Soccer News Net Contributor
Since switching the format of the MLS all-star game from an intra-league affair to essentially a club friendly in 2003, the results have been somewhat mixed – depending on how you view the game.
Overall, going into Thursday night's game against Arsenal, MLS' record was 8-3-1. Sounds impressive, no?
It's even better against the lesser-name clubs: Fulham, Celtic, West Ham, Everton, Tottenham (all British by the way), Roma and Chivas – 5-1-1 (Everton was a 1-1 draw won by the English side on penalties).
Against the others – teams that have won European Champions Cup titles in the past 20 years – it's a more mixed 3-2.
The games against the top-tier opponents have included two wins against Chelsea (by a combined 4-2 score), two losses to Manchester United (by a combined 9-2 score) and a victory over Bayern Munich.
Calling them friendlies really took a black eye two years ago when Bayern manager Pep Guardiola refused to shake the hand of Caleb Porter after MLS' 2-1 win. MLS fans who want to use the match as a point of pride can do so, but European teams (and even Chivas) are quick to point out the game is played during the early training camp phase of their seasons.
At least the format appears to be a much more enjoyable and competitive one than when East played West and games routinely approached or surpassed 10 goals among both teams.
But as results seem to prove, it is still an exhibition.
Designated for transfer?
Multiple reports have FC Dallas designated player Fabian Castillo headed to Turkey and Trabzonspor. It's a substantial deal: $2 million initial loan and $2 million more after the season to make it permanent.
Of course, reports had the 22-year-old Colombian native headed to Swansea in the English Premier League in October.
If true, it would be one of the bigger transfers out of MLS since the end of last season, joining Omar Gonzalez's move to Mexico (Pachuca) along with Jorge Villafana (Santos), Juninho (Veracruz), Obafemi Martins (Shanghai) and most recently Fabian Espindola (Necaxa).
Although one of three designated players on Dallas' roster (Carlos Gruezo and Mauro Diaz are the others), he's the seventh-highest paid on FCD with guaranteed compensation of $170,750. He has five goals and five assists in 22 games this year, giving him 34 goals and 30 assists since he joined the club as an 18-year-old in 2011.
Nice, not thrilling, but nice
Didier Drogba's three goals in the first 52 minutes on Saturday in Montreal's 5-1 victory certainly sounds impressive, and it certainly appears noteworthy.
But it's far from a record – except for maybe a Montreal club record.
Only die-hard MLS fans may recall the name Harut Karapetyan, who holds the record for the fastest three goals in league history – five minutes, set between the 82nd and 87th minutes for the LA Galaxy in 1998.
The MLS Fact And Record Book (a.k.a. the FARB) lists 24 players who have scored three goals faster than Drogba – and that only goes up to 26 minutes.
Dwayne De Rosario had the record for the fastest three goals from the start of the match (31 minutes) until Bradley Wright-Phillips eclipsed that by three minutes in May against Toronto.
Even less respect
Furthering the disrespect for Drogba's accomplishment was the selection of his Toronto counterpart, Sebastian Giovinco, as player of the week.
Giovinco also scored three goals – on four shots on goal, but took 91 minutes to achieve his hat trick in TFC's 4-1 win over D.C. United on Saturday.
The 29-year-old Italian, tied for third among the league scoring leaders, is the first Toronto player to earn POTW honors this year, and the first since he last won it in the 19th week of the 2015 season – the third time MLS MVP claimed it last year.