The MLS All-Star game ended with the MLS All-Stars defeating Bundesliga champions, Bayern Munich 2-1 in front of a sold out crowd in Portland. This, however, wasn’t just an ordinary All-Star Game. You had a beautiful goal by Robert Lewandowski, you had an even better looking goal by Bradley Wright-Phillips and a Landon Donovan winner. You also got a bit of controversy at the end of the game.
Will Johnson and Ozzie Alonso got physical with some dangerous tackles near the end of the game which incensed Bayern Munich manager Pep Guardiola. Instead of going after Johnson and Alonso, the players who actually made the tackles, he goes after manager Caleb Porter. Guardiola doesn’t even shake Porter’s hand after the game. TV cameras ironically showed Guardiola shake Alonso’s hand after the game so I honestly don’t get the hate towards Porter when he seems okay shaking Alonso’s hand. Who knows, maybe Guardiola just saw players in black jerseys and just started shaking hands not knowing who even made the tackles but it just confused me even more.
Look, regardless of what happened in the game, not shaking someone’s hand is seen as classless and rightly so. This is a game and not a training session. Alonso and Johnson may have gotten a little too physical for a friendly but Guardiola is rather delusional if he thought it wasn’t going to be physical at any point in the game. I think Bayern Munich thought they were going to come in to meet a weak MLS team and as the Bundesliga champs and having half the team consist of players who won the World Cup, they were planning to wipe the floor with MLS and make it a privilege for the American fans to see such a great team like Bayern Munich play in this country. They would blow out the MLS All-Stars, get their fat check for playing the game and then fly back to Germany for the start of the Bundesliga season. Then MLS came back from 1-0 down to take the lead 2-1, things didn’t go exactly to plan and Guardiola acted like he did. Listening to his post game press conference, Guardiola didn’t want to talk about it but it seemed as if he realized he went a bit too far. In his post game press conference, Guardiola did appreciate his time in America this summer and complemented the development of US Soccer both in the World Cup and in MLS.
The point of these friendlies is to have a good time. I don’t really take a lot of stock into how teams play in preseason and how that translates to the season. I would view MLS in the same light beating Bayern 2-1 as I would if Bayern had won 2-0. This is a game that, good and bad, will be forgotten by most everyone after a couple weeks. You just hope that everyone has a great time and no one gets injured. Hopefully Bastian Schweinsteiger isn’t seriously hurt and he can get back going immediately. In the post game press conference, Guardiola expressed interest in wanting to come back to play next year for revenge. He won’t get to go against Caleb Porter but I’m sure MLS would oblige with Pep’s request. I will say, if Bayern Munich comes back to play next season, it may not be treated as a friendly so much.