It won't change the results of a disappointing World Cup showing, however the United States did reclaim some bragging rights in Major League Soccer's third All-Star game.
Brian McBride of the Columbus Crew scored one goal and assisted on two others Sunday as the U.S. All-Stars beat the World All-Stars 6-1 before a crowd of 34,416 at the Florida Citrus Bowl.Nine of 11 U.S. starters were members of the national team that went 0-3 in France this summer, and they viewed this game as an opportunity to regain a measure of international respect.
"Some guys downplayed it, but it was important to prove we can play," U.S. goalkeeper Tony Meola said.
"The most important thing for us was having fun and showcasing the game," McBride, the lone American to score in the World Cup, said."The thing about the World Cup is that if not for a couple of bounces we would have been 2-1, instead of 0-3."
McBride and MetroStars teammates Alexi Lalas and Tab Ramos scored in the first 16 minutes, and the U.S. built a 4-0 lead before D.C. United's Roy Lassiter and Cobi Jones of the Los Angeles Galaxy finished the rout with goals in the final 12 minutes.
The World team avoided a shutout when Tampa Bay's Mauricio Ramos scored in 89th minute on an assist from Chicago's Jorge Campos, who started the game in goal before returning in the second half as a forward.
The first two MLS All-Star games were played under an Eastern vs. Western conference format that was abandoned for the U.S.-World concept this year.
While winning didn't bury memories of a poor World Cup showing, the U.S. team's domination was complete. McBride was the MVP, breaking World star Carlos Valderrama's two-year stranglehold on the award, but he had plenty of help.
The U.S. team beat Campos on four its first five shots on goal, while goalkeeper Tony Meola stopped shots by five different World players before being replaced by Zach Thornton at the start of the second half.
Still, U.S. coach Bruce Arena wasn't convinced the impressive display would sway public opinion about the national team's World Cup performance.
"I wouldn't read a whole lot into this," said Arena, coach of two-time MLS champion D.C. United. "If the world had won 6-1, people would have said the Americans can't play. It was a big advantage that our team had so many players who had played together."