It took a fluky late goal from Eddie Johnson, but the MLS All-Stars defeated Chelsea in PPL Park.CHESTER, Pa. -- A win over Chelsea in any match can be considered a positive result. For the MLS All-Stars on Wednesday night, it was about proving that they have what it takes against some of the world's best players.
"We're all competitors here and we all want to win," said Vancouver Whitecaps defender Jay DeMerit of the spirited 3-2 victory. "I think in the second half the game slowed down a bit but we had equal chances so the fact that we came away winners is a feather in our cap."
A big part of the win was how resilient the All-Stars were defensively, allowing only two goals with one coming from a set piece. DeMerit lauded this effort as it led to a memorable victory, ending a three-match winless run for MLS' marquee players in the mid-season exhibition.
"As the game opens up, it's always hard," said DeMerit of marking the likes of Romelu Lukaku and Frank Lampard. "We stayed with our six in the back. Alonso and Beckham really got in their way and broke things up when they needed to. That's what you need to do. We headed things away and we battle it out and we did that tonight."
The atmosphere inside PPL Park was another reason why the All-Stars were able to push on to victory and that's something that Sporting KC's Graham Zusi will take away from the experience.
"I had a blast," first-time All-Star Zusi said. "It was a great environment and the fans were amazing. Not everyday you get to play a team like Chelsea. It was a lot of fun and the result was an added bonus for us."
Assistant coach and Philadelphia Union interim manager John Hackworth echoed Zusi's sentiment saying that the game was about the players and that once league play resumes the pressure will be switched back on for all of the competitors in the contest.
"[Head coach] Ben [Olsen] and I were joking that when you're in a league game and fighting for points, it's so important," said Hackworth of how an exhibition differs from traditional league play. "This one was about the players and sharing the limelight here and for us it was about enjoying the moment."
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