It's been a busy week here in Houston as the city has hosted a ton of events surrounding the 2010 MLS All-Star Game. Every day has been packed with appearances, signings, meet and greets, practices, charity events and all sorts of other activities. The All-Star week kicked off with the Dynamo Charities Go for Goal 5K Run, and since then the team has hosted a Kicking & Screening Film Festival, All-Star Kick Off Party and Comedy Special, Soccer Jam with Celebrity Soccer Match, VIP parties, MLS W.O.R.K.S. charity activities, the SUM U-17 Cup and loads of other events. The buzz around the city and the league for this All-Star Game is amazing and both the Houston Dynamo and Major League Soccer need to be commended for their fantastic work and planning this week.
While there is certainly some bias here, I think this is going to be one of, if not the best, all-star games this league has hosted and Houston has seen. In fact, I'm so confident tonight's game is going to be amazing that I want to give you five reasons to tune in and enjoy the show.
1. The MLS All-Stars Are Playing Manchester United
Yeah, you read that right, Manchester freaking United, one of the best and biggest clubs in the entire world. Forbes just rated them as the most valuable franchise worldwide in professional sports, valued at $1.835 billion, just ahead of the Dallas Cowboys. Manchester United have won just about every trophy possible, including the Premier League, Champion's League, FA Cup, League Cup, Carling Cup and FIFA World Club Cup. The team's full roster includes a host of international superstars and some of the best players in the world. Even if you don't like soccer, you've at least heard of this storied club, and now our MLS All-Stars get to square up against them and show United what the MLS is made of.
2. Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez' Unveiling
Who's that player with the funny name? Cheech, chica, chicarillo? No, it's Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez, the 22-year-old Mexican sensation who signed with Manchester United this past spring while he was still playing for Chivas Guadalajara in the Mexican Primera Division. He's the club's first signing from Mexico and is excited about proving his worth and showcasing his skills. Tonight will be Chicharito's first game with his Manchester United teammates and mark his unveiling as a Manchester United player.
The young forward arrived in Houston this past weekend and did an appearance on the south side of town, only to be amazed by the thousands of fans that showed up in hopes up meeting the star and getting his autograph. There's a ton of buzz around this player and he could be a great signing for the English club.
3. An International Affair
Soccer is often referred to as the "world's game" not only because most of the world plays the sport, but also because the game has the ability to bring people of different backgrounds and nationalities together in support of a team for 90 minutes of play.
Tonight's MLS All-Star game will truly be an international affair; tickets for the game were purchased in 41 states and five countries. The MLS roster is made up of a mix of players from all over the world, and I'm pretty sure you could create a United Nations out of Manchester United's roster. The combined team sheet includes players from Poland, England, United States, Canada, Bulgaria, Brazil, Portugal, Scotland, Wales, Holland, Argentina and elsewhere around the globe.
4. Over 70,000 Screaming Fans Will Be There
Americans don't like soccer, right? That's what you heard Jim Rome say, right? Soccer is alive and well here in Houston and all over the country, and the 70,000 plus fans who purchased tickets for tonight's All-Star Game are further proof that this game is becoming more popular in America every day. Members of the league and Dynamo front office were expecting a sell-out and they got one. Just this afternoon, MLS announced that all of the tickets for this game had been sold and that Reliant Stadium is going to be packed to the rafters tonight. The atmosphere at the game is going to be amazing and 70,000 fans cheering on these teams is going to be awe-inspiring.
5. You Can Watch Some Of Your National Team Players
If Manchester United and European soccer isn't your thing, you can watch the All-Star Game to check in on the United States Men's National Team players. Landon Donovan, Edson Buddle, Jonathan Bornstein and a few others, most of who featured in last month's FIFA World Cup in South Africa, are on the MLS All-Star line-up. While there may be more than three years until the 2010 World Cup in Brazil, it is never too early to watch the national team players and to get a look at those up-and-coming players. And, just like we witnessed in South Africa, it is always thrilling to see your national team players line up against the best in the business.
So there you have it, the 2010 MLS All-Star Game against one of the biggest teams in the world. You'd be crazy not to watch or pay attention. Tonight's game is going to be great and will be a fitting end to a terrific summer of soccer here in Houston.
Some of the members of the SB Nation family will be in attendance and will try to relay information and updates to you all as often as possible.