Formula for victory against Manchester United

The keys to victory for MLS lie in free kicks and possession

HOUSTON - After Philadelphia had Manchester United on the ropes and
Kansas City defeated the Red Devils on Sunday, there is real hope the MLS
All-Stars can defeat the perennial EPL contenders in
Wednesday night's All-Star Game.

Add the fact that Manchester United is finishing up
preseason training and that their back line has not exactly proven a
defensive fortress, and it leads to the belief that a special result is
possible at Reliant.

However, with both Landon Donovan and Edson Buddle going 90
minutes last night in the CONCACAF Champions League, it looks like the
All-Stars will not be relying on pace up top to expose the English club’s
relative defensive weakness.

Brian Ching, Guillermo Barros Schelotto and Dwayne De
Rosario are not known for their speed. Meanwhile, Juan Pablo Angel is still
nursing an ankle injury.

Possession and set pieces will be the way for the MLS
All-Stars to make life difficult for Manchester United. With players like
Javier Morales, David Ferreira, Marco Pappa and Schelotto, the All-Stars have
enough technical quality to knock the ball around and draw fouls in dangerous positions.

These same players, along with De Rosario, are capable of
delivering dangerous set pieces that can capitalize on the aerial skills of Chad
Marshall, Omar Gonzalez, Jamison Olave and Ching.

While the MLS attacking mission is clear, the defensive keys
are three in particular:

(1) Sliding over to help left back Heath Pearce and
left winger Brad Davis, who will have plenty to deal with facing Gabriel Obertan and
the overlaps of Rafael

(2) Shalrie Joseph cannot allow Manchester United's Paul Scholes to have
time on the ball to pick out players in attack

(3) MLS defenders need to stay tight on the likes of
Dimitar Berbatov, Javier Hernandez and Danny Welbeck in order not to allow them
to turn and use their speed and vision

An MLS victory is very possible because if there exists players
who have the experience and skill to execute a game plan, it’s the group of
stars available to Bruce Arena.

Predicted MLS All-Star lineup [subs in brackets]:
Donovan Ricketts [Nick Rimando]
– Heath Pearce, Wilman Conde [Chad Marshall], Omar Gonzalez [Jamison
Olave], Kevin Alston – Brad Davis [Landon Donovan], Shalrie Joseph
[Jeff Larentowicz], Javier Morales [David Ferreira], Marco Pappa
[Sebastien Le Toux] – Guillermo Barros Schelotto [Jaime Moreno], Brian
Ching [Edson Buddle and Juan Pablo Angel]