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A Grainey Day in the Americas: Tim Grainey, Ohio, USA, Aug.11, 2006


Chelsea weren't laughing when De Rosario hammered one past Hilario
Dwayne De Rosario

De Rosario bags winner against the Blues

Canadian international Dwayne De Rosario netted a long range shot in the 70th minute to provide all the scoring in the MLS All-Stars 1–0 win over '05/'06 English Premier League (EPL) champions Chelsea, Aug. 5, 2006. The annual All-Star match was held in the recently opened soccer-specific Toyota Park in the Chicago suburb of Bridgeview, Illinois. It proved an interesting battle between top players from the 12-team US-based league (which expands next season to include FC Toronto) versus a dozen internationals who came to Chelsea with $200 million in transfer fees.
The MLS All-Stars started six players from league-leading DC United, providing a consistent style of play, particularly for the defensive line. Houston Dynamo midfielder De Rosario was a constant force in the center of the pitch and was richly rewarded for his efforts when he neatly controlled a ball at the top of the box and put it past substitute keeper Hilario, who was only on the field for six minutes.
Afterward De Rosario described the game as “his World Cup” since Canada didn’t qualify. He told the crowd after the game,

“A lot of people had doubts and probably thought we were going to go out there and get spanked. We opened people’s eyes and showed them the kind of caliber soccer we have in America.”

Even though it was an exhibition and the mid-season MLS players were clearly in better shape than Chelsea (who just started training for the 2006-07 season) it was a huge win for MLS, whose All-Stars defeated the EPL's Fulham by a 4–1 score last year. Though many debate the importance of such friendlies, the game was played with an intensity higher than most MLS contests.
Chelsea started new signings Ukrainian Andriy Shevchenko from AC Milan and Bayern Munich’s Michael Ballack. Other World Cup stars included Ghana’s Michael Essien, England’s Frank Lampard, Netherlands' Arjen Robben and Didier Drogba from the Ivory Coast.

What now for Nowak?
The MLS victory goes a long way in undoing last season’s 5–0 loss that Real Madrid delivered in Spain. And one wonders how long DC United can hang onto head coach Peter Nowak. The former Polish international led DC United to an MLS title in his first season in 2004 and DC is once again the dominant force with a league-leading 45 points from a 12–6–2 record.
Though Poland recently named Leo Beenhakker to lead the national team, after the Dutch coach’s impressive work with Trinidad and Tobago, one has to wonder if Nowak is shortly bound for a national team or top club job in Europe. It will be interesting to see if he is interviewed for the US team, a post expected to be filled by the end of 2006.
Nowak is now undefeated against international teams this season, after DC United’s impressive 4–0 victory over Celtic last month.

ARTICLE: ©2006 World Football Pages/Tim Grainey, PHOTO: ©2006 Chris Vaughan Griffiths
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