What is your ideal format for the MLS All-Star Game?


Photo by ISIphotos.com

With every passing year, the format for the MLS All-Star Game seems to continue to be a point of contention among fans and media, but even with that, the 2012 version won't be providing any drastic changes.

While officially awarding this year's game to Philadelphia, the league announced that it will maintain its unique MLS vs. foreign club format for the eight straight year (and ninth out of the last 10). There is no denying that the format has been successful from an attendance standpoint, as each of the last seven games have drawn announced sell-out crowds.

The game against Manchester United in 2010 drew more than 70,000 to Reliant Stadium in Houston, and the confines of PPL Park combined with the fervent fan support in the region practically guarantees that another capacity crowd will be on hand to see the top stars in MLS compete in the July exhibition.   

There are some who would argue, though, that the format is a bit obsolete because of all of the summer international friendlies MLS clubs play. In addition to that, some might say that MLS can more than hold its own at this point and doesn't need the lure of a European club to fill the seats with promise of quality entertainment.

In the early days of MLS the league used the typical-American-sports East vs. West format and even tested out a U.S. stars vs. International stars edition in 1998. In an effort to showcase more of the league's players and put less of a dependence on foreign clubs, perhaps it would be appropriate to shift back to either of those two arrangements.

With all that being said, what is your preferred format for the MLS All-Star Game? Cast your vote after the jump:


How did you vote? Which format do you prefer for the All-Star Game? Do you have a practical idea for an All-Star format that hasn't been explored yet? Do you like the current format and its uniqueness?

Share your thoughts below.

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99 Responses to What is your ideal format for the MLS All-Star Game?

  1. Louis says:

    For me MLS All-Stars vs Mexican ALL-Stars

  2. qax says:

    D. None of the above. All the friendlies individual teams play against international clubs fill this gap; the All Star Game is just fixture congestion at this point.

  3. josh says:

    Um… None?

    Yeah, I know. Gotta shake that moneymaker. Not into the “us vs them” vibe of US v foreign. So keep the visiting club theme. It’s about making money, so make it.

  4. Charles says:

    I saw a comment for MLS All-Stars vs Mexican All Stars on another blog.

    It is a great idea for 3 reasons.

    One, MLS is trying to bring the Mexican-Americans into watching MLS, I don’t know any numbers, but it doesn’t seem to be working in droves anyway.

    Two, Mexico-US in soccer is the best rivalry in sports.

    Three, It just makes for a great story line, much better for real soccer fans than bringing in the teams they have been bringing in for the casual fans. ( my biased opinion there )

  5. MrTuktoyaktuk says:

    MLS AS vs FMF Primera AS would be great. No way Mexican clubs would release their players for it though.

    I’d be very happy to try something other than a mid table Prem team. Bundesliga team perhaps? PPL not a big venue so this would be the time to change things up a bit.

  6. Felix says:

    I’d just get rid of the all-star game. I know there are revenue considerations, and that it won’t happen – I find it a forced copy of other American pro sports.

    I’m not a big fan of it, I can give a rat’s behind about who gets voted as an MLS all-star and how they look against Man Utd or anyone else when they have two practices together before the game. Let clubs fill up the date with friendlies against Euro/Mexican/South American clubs – and let’s get rid of this ridiculous exhibition game.

    Just my two cents.

  7. Larry says:

    Ideally, West Vs. East with homefield advantage in the MLS Cup on the line…like baseball.

    2 squads full of stars probably wont happen for another 5 years, so until then, MLS vs. Foreign Club or MLS vs. Foreign All-Star team from a different league…eg., Mexico, Brazil, Argentina, France, Germany. Playing against another all-star team would make a more competitive game. Seasoned, championship squads always have the advantage over a newly assembled team with little practice.

  8. Kejsare says:

    With MLS Cup at a neutral location, there needs to be an event for everyone [MLS execs to SGs] to hobnob at some point during the semester.

  9. Kejsare says:

    Semester? Man I’ve been in school too long.

  10. Joel says:

    MLS AS vs MLS Alumni

  11. kpugs says:

    East vs. West forever! Our all-stars SHOULD beat any foreign club, and USA vs. International is just plain dumb because the league has restrictions on foreigners.

    I yearn for the glory days of East vs. West, the only time I’d ever have a positive thought about a player from DC SCUM.

  12. Angel of LA says:

    well for me I’m with Felix to get rid the all-star game but since already been said is going to go on for 10yrs more I like the format of USNMT vs. MLS all start, East vs. West or American MLS player against Foreigner.

  13. NE Matt says:

    MLS All Stars vs NASL All Stars

  14. hartley says:

    I would vote for no all star game. Chuck it. And make the U.S. Open Cup more important. Foreign clubs are already coming for friendlies — just work for more of that. And make the Open Cup the big domestic tournament that everyone should watch. That and the MLS Cup of course.

  15. The Imperative Voice says:

    I like the current MLS AS v. ____ concept. The Mexico AS idea does have its appeal but I think rotating the opposition around the world keeps the various constituencies interested, and avoids a diminishing returns/dependency situation. I’d not be wanting to play FMF every year any more than Man U, and maybe this year team “X” is sexier because of their quality or some American signing(s) that deepen domestic interest.

    I disagree strongly that individual team friendlies “cover it.” I tend to tune out my own team’s friendlies because I view them as strictly cash cows. I know we won’t play our best for 90 mid-season, and I know the opponent is in pre-season mode. The only exception I see is if a rivalry develops, a la Dynamo-Pachuca or Dynamo-Monterrey, where the game will have a serious edge.

    In contrast, while an AS game is a little hokey, I think it automatically has a one-off, best-players cachet about it. And though it may be a revenue generator, an AS game is not AS reducible to a cash nexus.

    In terms of the precise format, I think the invitational approach provides more of a necessary measuring stick than conference v. conference or some other internal game. I also think it stokes more interest from fans and non-fans alike than just MLS v. MLS, which is inside baseball. And I also think that inasmuch as we don’t quite enforce the conferences for the playoffs, it’d be wierd to suddenly start doing so for AS. Last, to the extent this all moves towards single table — not the biggest fan but there seem to be plenty of loud advocates for single table and September-May scheduling — the us vs. them concept could be maintained just the same with 4 divisions, 2 conferences, or a single table. Us vs. Us relies on a certain amount of table stability, hence the move to US v. Int’l in the 3 division years.

    I also think if we ever do move to an aligned calendar — take it or leave it, I’m Swiss on the issue — you could in theory send a MLS AS abroad on tour like the Galaxy. Baseball does it…..

  16. Jose says:

    No, the All-Star games has proven to be a hit in American sports, including soccer. To drop it would be a wasted opportunity to grow the game.

  17. Monty Brewster says:

    None of the above

  18. MT says:

    MLS AS vs. MLS Alumni is brilliant. It would be difficult to get guys back to the states in July though. But just imagine this game being a way for us to see all of our “Yanks Abroad” talent come back to showcase their talents for the fans and league that gave them their start.

  19. Vic says:

    I wonder how much $$$ friendlies against Euro teams bring in? Is it much after all the expenses. MLS teams used to be more competitive a few years ago when they played their full teams. Now it seems like the 2nd half teams bring in backups and trialists to get slaughtered. That hurts reputation of MLS. If they’re not willing to make a respectable showing they should cancel these games.

  20. Vic says:

    As far as the Allstar game, MLS also used to be more competitive. It seems that they try to balance the allstar team American/foreign players. A few years ago there were more American national team players in MLS, now they’re mostly in Europe. Maybe thats why the MLS team hasnt been competitive.

  21. jeremy says:

    MLS North American (us, canada, mexico) All Stars vs World All Stars, like the NHL has done

  22. BK says:

    Agreed. I could not care less about this game and never watch it. As an All-Star player, I would feign injury or fatigue every single year to avoid risk of injury in a meaningless scrimmage crammed into the busiest time of year for most American players.

  23. Jay Jones says:

    ACC-Big Ten Challenge vs a euro league like SPL, France or, Netherlands at first. Eventually moving to bigger leagues. With the all star site as the final premier game.

  24. Eurosnob says:

    If you mean MLS All-Stars vs. Mexican league All-Stars, I am 100% with you – it would be a great game for the bragging rights as to which league is the top league in Concacaf. However, if you mean, MLS All-Stars against best Mexican players that play in MLS, the team of MLS-based Mexican players would be rather underwhelming.

  25. Richard says:

    People want to see a shootout type of game. Not a defensive battle between two MLS All-Star sides that don’t have offensive cohesion or an MLS vs. Foreign Club format where the MLS is just being set up for a beating.

    Here’s my opinion: have an MLS East vs. MLS West setup. Most players that people consider to be star players are attacking. So don’t vote by position. Vote who the best players are in each conference, whether that number is 18 or 22 or whatever. This would likely lead to a lot of attacking players, therefore, little defense and a fun attacking match. Maybe it’s an awful idea but it’s fun in FIFA to line up two teams and put 10 strikers on the field.

  26. Cairo says:

    MLS All-Stars vs. Americans Abroad. That is a game I’d pay to see…

  27. dan says:

    why not alternate all these options? they all have some validity to it and the variety may be nice.

  28. chris says:

    East vs West. People say the west is better prove it. I hate friendlies during the summer but i can stomach one or two of those

  29. mattjack says:

    MLS Vs. FMF … the only answer to the question.

  30. allouez86 says:

    Isn’t the all star game just another chance to make some $$$? I don’t really pay too much attention to the all star game so I pick whichever one brings in the most money and does the most good for the league.

  31. mattjack says:

    to further prove it: Simon Borg’s blog:

    link to mlssoccer.com

  32. Nick says:

    MLS America Vs. MLS Canada, book it.

  33. Charles says:

    No way, that Mexican clubs would release their players ?

    I am pretty sure if they made enough they would.

    So the question is how much could they benefit from this. I happen to think it would be quite a bit. US has a lot of people and a lot of money, and even most of the US soccer fans know very little about the Mexican leagues.

  34. Charles says:

    Thanks for the article, glad to see this getting traction. I could not care less about the All-Star games as is.

  35. Charles says:

    I guess “No way” ended in 2003. 😉 See the link posted below for more.

    “The Mexican Priméra División has dabbled in All-Star Games in recent history, including some held on US soil. The “Bimbo Stars” match held in Monterrey in May 2003 used a format that included the Mexican nationals taking on the foreign contingent of players in that same league. Why not combine the two?”

  36. Jon C says:

    I think there should be two matches: first the best from the west and east would face off for the chance to play a prestigious international team in the final.

  37. Eliminate the Offside Rule says:

    I don’t really have an opinion on this. But I do have a question for all of the people who say “none.” Why is it a bad thing to give casual fans (and non-fans) an opportunity to see the league’s brightest stars on the field simultaneously?

  38. aristophanes says:

    There are only two sports in America that have all star games that any one cares about: baseball and basketball. Baseball is the most individual-driven team sport imaginable from a performance standpoint, and the NBA is the most individual-driven team sport imaginable from a marketing/entertainment standpoint.

    An all-star game in football or in soccer makes no sense, which is why almost no one seems to care about it. These are team sports in which team chemistry, tactics, and familiarity are absolutely essential to any form of coherent display.

    To take the best ideas from everone, MLS should partner with the Mexican League (/Premier League/other) and create a “Cup” between the MLS Cup Champions (Supporterss Shield preferably) and the other League champion. That would be bomb.

    You’re welcome.

  39. Bamaman says:

    MLS vs. FMF

  40. Consigliere says:

    What casual fans (and non-fans) actually watch it? The game gets its usual 0.whatever TV rating, and a good portion of the supporters in the stands are there for the international team. An All-Star game is not going to make them a fan of a MLS team. They will go on loving Man Utd. or Chelsea or Real Madrid, but they still won’t care about Philly or FC Dallas or anyone else.

  41. Larry says:

    The MLS All-Star Game has grown into a major spectacle the past few years. NFL’s has diminished, but they are also tinkering with different ideas nowadays.

  42. Dune Man says:

    It would let the USMNT team get in another game. Fans get to see USMNT and their league all-stars. The players can have a bit of fun with the match since the All Stars do not have to go against a team that is playing together every day like Man United. Last, many of the USMNT had a start in MSL so it is a good chance to welcome some of them back. I dont see anyone getting upset if USMNT wins and if MLS wins its still a victory of sorts for US soccer since some of the players on the MLS team will be some of the younger guys in the USMNT pool as well.

  43. aristophanes says:

    “The MLS All-Stars’ loss to Manchester United in the MLS All-Star Game earned a 0.5 U.S. rating and 781,000 viewers on ESPN2 July 27″

  44. RedStateJim says:

    I would like to see two “All-Star” captains (Becks&Henry), pick sides like you would for a pick up game. You could make an event out of it on ESPN8 as the two pick sides (from a pool of preselected all-stars). Invite fans so they could boo/cheer selections. Have the players that get selected brought on stage, don the jersey and THROW DOWN! It would draw interest in the general media especially if it gets a little raucous, never a bad thing.

  45. RandomTimberFan says:

    Absolutely not. Passions would get out of hand creating a high risk of injury. In no way is that an appropriate reward for having a great year in MLS.

  46. RandomTimberFan says:

    Saw this idea posted on the MLS page, but it should be MLS all-stars vs. Team USA. Get all of the best AMERICAN players in one game. That’s a money-maker, it’s patriotic and would give the appropriate relaxed “all-star game” feel.

    The last thing these guys need is ANOTHER competitive game during the mid-season break.

  47. Hopper says:

    All-Star games are usually pretty lame, so I’d be fine if they dropped it all together. The NBA, NFL and NHL All-Star games are unwatchable as far as I’m concerned.

    At least the MLS version has been a competitive game in recent years, but really, what’s the point? It’s a meaningless game.

  48. HansBackeisGod says:

    as reported by Fox news…

  49. Joel says:


  50. THomas says:

    This is a great idea and maybe even a home/home series w/ away goals counting? Not sure if Mexico has an All-Star game, if so this could be a way to accomodate both.

  51. gandhi says:

    amen Louis. i havent responded on here in ages, but once i read the title of story the mexicans came to mind immediately. it should always be about our most hated enemy. and hey, the numbers arent too bad on univision or telemundo when it does involve those scoundrels (there’s something about putting on el Tri jersey that affects the moral character of otherwise right standing ppl…hey, my mom&pop were from there). I’m thinking it could either be mexican all stars from FMF or if the MLS all star game were held during a summer break perhaps mexican all stars worldwide (dos santos, barrera, etc).

  52. THomas says:

    Yes…look at the World Football Challenge. Think the biggest clubs in the world are coming to play friendlies in America because there isn’t massive profit to be gained?

  53. THomas says:

    I sincerely hope you meant ACC-Big Ten Challenge as a metaphor, not putting those leagues agains professional European Leagues. Even at that I don’t understand what you’re saying?

  54. Surle says:

    I would even be for MLS All-Stars Vs. J-League or A-League All-Stars…I think both teams would be surprisingly competitive for the Americans/Canadians

  55. gandhi says:

    uh, say what Charles? you do know that US Spanish networks have to fork over more dough for world cup rights then US English networks. The reason is that Mexican game ON US Spanish networks can get 4, 5 or 6 million viewers…in the US alone! Geez man, you dont even know where the real fooball tv money is being made in the US market. Ratings for football/soccer on Univision or Telemundo is like 10 times for a MLS game. I think you meant to say, “in terms of soccer, Mexico has the money and the drawing appeal, and MLS could benefit from getting some of that”

  56. mistadobolina says:

    i agree with most here MLS vs. FMF is the most intriguing option.

    first MLSXI vs. Bimbo Stars is hilarious!

    second it would be a very difficult game to coordinate because the number of clubs that would have to release players.. all that said it would be the most exciting and impactful use of this game.

    but i guess if its about making $$$ then keep bringing in Euro clubs and taking money $$$ from idiots who think they are watching great soccer.

  57. Gnarls says:

    The All-Star game is dumb. It’s great opportunity for players to injure themselves and then lose to Man United. It’s a stupid side effect of MLS’ inferiority complex vis-a-vis the big four American sports. Stop it.

  58. Gnarls says:

    YES. End it now.

  59. pd says:

    Ok then, the Bimbo stars vs SI swimsuit models. Shirts vs. Skins.

  60. pd says:

    MLS all stars vs US cup champs?

  61. pd says:

    Yeah and it could take place inside a tramp steamer… Oh wait

  62. Phil says:

    This is what the NHL does. It’s not an original idea.

  63. mistadobolina says:

    agreed, most of the ppl who watch and show up to these games are rooting for the big Euro club and just want to re-enforce the idea in their mind that best that MLS can come up with is still inferior to their big Euro club.

    and to be honest I don’t see how a All Star team could knock off a big team with just a day or two of playing together. More likely that a club could beat a Euro giant, like KC vs. Man U a few years ago.

  64. PD says:

    MLS vs USMNT

    Plus skills competitions — goalies saving breakaways, juggling, passing, celebrate the skills within the game that are seen as frequently always thrill. The equivalent of the slam dunk or home run competitions in other leagues… Then we ‘ll have the airing of the grievances and finally the feats of strength.

  65. Joe says:

    I agree with a lot of your post and I know you are pointing out what others are clamoring for but copying Europe’s Sept-May schedule would be very bad and possibly catastrophic to MLS. The current March-Nov has MLS largely avoid ‘competing’ against the NFL. Setting it to Sept-May would do not only cause that but also directly against the College Football, NHL and NBA seasons. MLS is just not there yet and I think they would get hit hard if it tried to. Also having the schedule the way it is now allows MLS players to train with European clubs during our off-season since it does not run as long as most other leagues. I think having our players train over there is very beneficial as it gets our better players better (or bought). This will only heighten the appeal for players to come to MLS, even if it is only a stepping stone for some.

  66. mistadobolina says:

    +1 the NFL pro bowl and MLS All Star game don’t make for a good game for the same reason.

    and why isnt there a MLS Cup Winner vs. SS Winner or USOC winner game?

  67. mistadobolina says:

    i like it.. MVP and MVP runner up make the picks.

  68. Donny says:

    Scuttle the whole thing

  69. Vic says:

    I realize there’s massive profits for the European teams. However, is there massive profits for MLS?

  70. Grant says:

    Awesome idea! I’d love to watch this.

  71. RandomTimberFan says:

    Gandhi, how on earth is this idea gonna fly?

    Hey, had a great season in MLS? Cool! While most of your peers get to kick back for a few days, you get to play in a highly competitive game against a team known for very physical play for… you’re gonna love this… “national pride”.

    I’m sure everyone from the GM’s and coaches on down will just LOVE this idea.

  72. Grant says:

    I haven’t read all the posts so excuse if it’s been said before. But I’d love to see like a skills challenge during All-Star weekend, like the NBA. Maybe a dribbling course, longest punt/goal kick, shot placement, free kick challenge. I think that would be a fun thing to watch.

  73. Grant says:

    AH I just posted under you PD, but I’d love to see the same thing lol. Sorry to steal your thunder.

  74. Chris says:


  75. hartley says:

    No, no. I meant making the U.S. Open Cup and the MLS Cup the big games for U.S. soccer fans to watch.

  76. Paul says:

    +1. And in-season friendlies too.

  77. Lee says:

    Agree: MLS All Stars v FMF All-Stars

    Why wasn’t this an option? It seems so natural to me.


  78. Lee says:



  79. JJ says:

    USMNT vs Mexico in Seattle.

  80. Edwin in LA says:

    Exactly what Angel of LA are you? lol

    Because I know an Angel in LA that read this site, last name Zelaya…lol

  81. blaise213 says:

    #$%^ mexico and the mexican league

    How can you relate to watching players the size of 5th graders play soccer….. I can’t

  82. anikan says:

    Get rid of the worthless Allstar game and use that week to schedule regular season matches so we can have a balanced schedule again.

  83. Sero says:

    and soccer has a concussion problem bigger than football…yeah right

  84. hogatroge says:

    While I agree with you, the All-Star game sadly won’t be going anywhere.

  85. marco says:

    East vs West
    Stars/Fun/ No Competition

  86. eddie says:

    I agree with you 100%. Who cares, it doesn’t really prove anything and the idea is ridiculous. I’m more interested in strengthening the MLS league. MLS clubs playing friendlies against EPL clubs or other leagues makes sense.

  87. Keith says:

    I like the MLS vs Foreign Club format, but it should be limited to 3 subs per team to make it more realistic.

  88. Baal says:

    End it, dumb meaningless event. Baaah!

  89. dgoshilla says:

    I’d like to see MLS All Stars VS US Abroad All Stars

  90. tom says:

    Instead of All-star team vs “Fill in the blank” with tons of other friendlies, have a week where each team competes in a groups stage with foreign teams. Here’s how I would see it play out:
    Two MLS teams with two foreign teams in a group. The two MLS teams play a game on weekend one (that also counts for MLS schedule) with a game immediately after featuring the two internationals. Then, midweek games and games the following weekend featuring MLS vs International. Total points wins the group. Groups can be regional rivals with two internationals.
    One big week where the focus is on international competition across the league instead of scattered games. MLS teams are often better than all stars because of familiarity. All fans get to see two international teams in their stadium.

  91. Ivan says:

    Get rid of the “All Star Game”. Do not zombify the beautiful game in the vein of NFL, NBA, etc., where fans are told how loud to cheer, when to cheer, and who to cheer for.

    Garber out. A footballer must take over at the helm of the league, not a former NFL CEO.

  92. me says:

    Ideally? No all-star game.

  93. Cylo says:

    As long its not Man U, Barca, Real Madrid and I’ll throw in Man City too

  94. Mike Caramba says:

    Two proposals:

    1. Colombia vs. the world (all MLS players, obviously).

    2. Do East vs. West, and take the top 20 vote-getters from each conference, without taking position into account. So the East could have five GKs, while the West sends 18 mids. CHAOS.

  95. Eurosnob says:

    Injuries are part of the game and there is no evidence that rivalries result in greater number of injuries. USMNT-Mexico games are intense, but it is not like the players are routinely carried away on the stretches with broken bones. Real Madrid-Barca games are filled with passion and intensity, but how many players suffered serious injuries in recent el Classicos? By your logic, NHL should not have played the Summit series against the Soviets in 1970s, but it proved to be a great event that became the stuff of legends and benefited hockey in general and the NHL in particular.

  96. JB says:

    I’d vote to cancel it.

  97. Astorian says:

    Just get rid of this waste of time.