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Cleaning out the notebook on MLS All-Star matters

MLS All-Stars Eddie Johnson celebrates h

MLS All-Stars Eddie Johnson celebrates his winning goal during the 2012 AT&T All-Star match at PPL Park in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 25, 2012, which ended with a 3-2 victory for the MLS All-Stars. Major League Soccer hosts its midseason showcase match between the League?s top players and the best of the world, this year taking on Chelsea FC of the English Premier League. AFP PHOTO/Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/GettyImages)

AFP/Getty Images

PHILADELPHIA – Eddie Johnson has come an awful long way in just a few months, hasn’t he?

The guy who fans once humorously called Grown Ass Man (a goof on one of Johnson’s own quotes from way back) had just about “grown” himself out of the game. Europe didn’t work out, and a failed tryout with Puebla meant Johnson was just about at the end of his professional tether.

But Seattle made the plays that brought Johnson to CenturyLink Field. It took just a little while to win a starting spot.

And then he started scoring. And then the All-Star nod. And then the All-Star game-winner in Wednesday’s 3-2 win. Like I said … he’s come quite far.

I know Johnson and have seen him in various stages of mentality and mindset through the years; he strikes me now as a person in a pretty good place.

– The Philadelphia Union supporters, the bulk of the best in the river end, were absolutely awesome on a glorious summer night. Great chants. Great volume. Points for originality, too, with some nice flavor cooked up just for this match.

Oh, and it had some edgy Philadelphia un-brotherly-ness to it. As in this second-half whopper: “Your captain is a racist ...Your captain is a racist …” Yikes!

That’s about John Terry and his recent trial for allegedly saying something quite inappropriate to Anton Ferdinand.

If any MLS observer had picked one player most likely to concuss himself while clobbering a poor fellow from the other side, is there any doubt we’d all go with Aurelien Collin?

But let’s get past the Sporting Kansas City’s clumsy, from-behind tackle on Michael Essien. Here’s the weird part: Collin seemed to be left a bit goofy from it all. The doctors gave him concussion tests on the sideline.

So … why not just pull the man? What was the point of taking the risk. It’s an exhibition. So, really, no reason to take a chance.

Then again, I suppose All-Star boss Ben Olsen didn’t have much choice due to the Jay DeMerit conundrum discussed in a previous post.

– Chelsea manager Roberto Di Matteo came right out and warned us in the pre-game run-up: Don’t look at his lineup Wednesday and read “first team in EPL matches” into it.

Oh, really? With the exception of goalkeeper Petr Cech, that looked quite “first team” to most of us. Count Ben Olsen in that list.

When I same the guys that they put out there to start, I thought maybe we got them angry or something over the last couple of days. That was a good team they put out there.

(MORE: Look at the number of true internationals on Chelsea’s roster, and compare that to the United States)

Ben Olsen didn’t want to be too revealing about David Beckham’s recent schedule, and about any conversations that may have taken place regarding playing time. But he did point to the Galaxy star’s competitive streak as the coach discussed Beckham’s 74 minutes against Europe’s best.

“He’s such a competitor,” Olsen said. “He wants to be in every game. I think he was upset that he was taken off. But I saw him limping a little bit and I didn’t want him to continue.”

Real Salt Lake midfielder Kyle Beckerman was certainly up for the job. He was a second-half replacement for Osvaldo Alonso. So, yeah, he completed 21 of 21 passes. That is outstanding.

I said this on today’s Daily Re-Set, but it is worth repeating:

The league had kids kicking around giant soccer balls in a halftime obstacle course race. C’mon! This is an All-Star Game; you don’t need gimmicky halftime entertainment. The whole freakin’ thing is gimmicky halftime entertainment, so to speak. This is the All-Stars vs. Chelsea for Pete’s sake, not Columbus vs. Colorado.