MATCH PREVIEW: MLS All-Star Game
HARRISON, NJ (August 6, 2014) – Tonight, at Providence Park in Portland, Oregon, the 2014 MLS All-Stars take the field against the reigning European and German Bundesliga champions, Bayern Munich, in the 19th annual MLS All-Star Game. Bayern is just the second non-British team to play in the event after A.S. Roma participated in last year’s iteration.
The New York Red Bulls have three representatives in Portland this week: Thierry Henry, Tim Cahill, and Bradley Wright-Phillips.
For Thierry Henry, tonight is his fourth straight All-Star selection in four years. The French forward was again voted in this year as part of the fans’ XI and has also started each of the last three contests, including captaining the MLS squad during the last year’s exhibition against Roma. Henry currently leads Major League Soccer with 10 assists, two more than six other players, and has set the club record for career assists with 40 across all competitions, passing Tab Ramos and Amado Guevara. Henry’s 10 helpers this season is four less than the league record, set by Eduardo Hurtado in 1998, with 12 games left to go. His 12 assists recorded in 2012 is good for fourth most in a single season in MLS history. The forward also moved past Clint Mathis for second all-time in club history with 47 goals across all competitions. Henry’s equalizing goal last Wednesday night at Real Salt Lake tied Juan Pablo Angel’s club record of 130 career points.
For Australia’s all-time leading scorer, Tim Cahill, tonight will be the second successive all-star nomination in his second full season in MLS. Cahill missed out on last year’s game due to injury but has travelled with the squad this year.
“I think it’s great,” he said. “I’m looking forward to working with Caleb Porter and some top-class players, and at the same time, testing our wits against world-class opposition.”
Cahill recently made his 50th career MLS start against Real Salt Lake on July 30, naturally providing the assist for Thierry Henry’s equalizer. The Aussie was named last year’s team MVP as well as to the MLS Best XI after notching 11 goals and five assists. This season, Cahill missed significant time while travelling to Brazil for his third World Cup. Already the first Aussie to ever score at a World Cup, he was the first of his countrymen to find the back of the net this past summer. His goal against the Netherlands was hailed by legendary Brazilian striker Ronaldo as “the best goal of the World Cup,” one that’s “going to go down in history as one of the most beautiful World Cup goals.” Since the World Cup, Cahill won the ESPY for best MLS player and been put on the cover of Australia’s editions of FIFA 15 for the fifth year in a row.
Bradley Wright-Phillips, in his first full season with the Red Bulls, has earned a place in Portland by bagging 18 goals in 21 appearances. With 12 games left in the season, Wright-Phillips sits tied with Kenny Cooper who, in 2012, also tallied 18 goals. The club record is Juan Pablo Angel’s 19 in 2007.
“I don’t recall anybody being on a form like this consistently. I think that goal scorers are streaky, but once they get that streak going, it’s on them to keep it going,” said Red Bulls manager Mike Petke yesterday, “He understands that, he has a good relationship with Thierry (Henry) and the rest of the guys on the field and he’s put himself in the right situations to get those goals.”
Wright-Phillips, fittingly, scored New York’s first goal this season in a loss at Vancouver on opening day and, after a dry spell over the next month, has tallied 17 goals over his last 15 matches, while never going more than one match without a goal since April 23. The English striker’s 0.97 goals/90 minutes ratio is tops in MLS.
Fans can watch Henry, Cahill, and Wright-Phillips in the 2014 MLS All-Star Game against Bayern Munich on ESPN2 and Univision. Kick-off from the home of the Portland Timbers, Providence Park, is scheduled for 9:30 p.m. EST.