By FRANCO PANIZO
The MLS All-Star game is two days away, and although everyone is in good spirits, the tone from the players and coaches is getting more serious as the match nears.
MLS All Star head coach Hans Backe sat down with David Beckham, Thierry Henry and Brad Davis to talk to the media about the game on Monday afternoon. Topics discussed included Backe's selections, how the team is preparing for Manchester United, Juan Agudelo's inclusion and the absence of Landon Donovan.
"I decided not to replace (Donovan)," said Backe. "We are already 19 outfield (players), and I will try to give everyone some minutes. I don't like to destroy the game or kill the game doing subs the whole second half but I will give everyone minutes on Wednesday."
One player who will be on the game-day roster is Agudelo, who was one of two players chosen to the All-Star roster by commissioner Don Garber. Agudelo's inclusion has been questioned by some, however, as he has not been a regular started for the New York Red Bulls this season.
For Backe, having Agudelo on the team is not an issue.
"No, not at all," said Backe when asked if he had a problem with Agudelo being included. "It's a player for the future. He's only still 18-years-old, he's a homegrown, we play at the Red Bull Arena so that was no surprise for me. I have no problem with it."
The MLS All-Star team is hoping for more than just a fun match when it takes on the likes of Javier 'Chicharito' Hernandez and Wayne Rooney. The team is also looking to pull out a result, something it failed to do last year when it lost 5-2 to the Red Devils.
"Every game like this (is) important for the league," said Backe. "It would be nice to pick up a result to show not only this league or the fans here, but also in Europe that you can compete and especially in a pre-season game. I think if we have a good day, it's absolutely possible to pick up a result."
The All-Star team believes it has enough talent to do that. The team includes a combination of experienced players and talented youngsters such as Agudelo, Tim Ream and Matt Besler.
"I think we've got a lot of young, good talent in this team," said Beckham. These players that have been on the top of their game this season, and for other seasons, as well. Obviously this is an all-star team, but there are players in this all-star team that have been involved in the last few years. These players are good players."
Not related to the All-Star game, Beckham was asked about his future. Playing in the final season in his five-year deal with MLS, Beckham stated a decision will come at the end of the year once he has had a chance to see how his body reacts to the grueling season.
"I haven't spoken to the Galaxy yet," said Beckham. "They know my situation and where I stand right now. Obviously this is my last year in the five-year contract, so I have to just wait. I had a bad injury last season, coming back now and I feel great right now. So I have to see how I feel at the end of the season, how my body feels. If I continue to feel like I do right now then I'll continue to play.
"I'm happy here, I'm happy playing for the Galaxy, I'm happy playing in this league, I enjoy playing in this country, my family loves living here but it's just down to how my body feels at the end of the year."
While topics such as Beckham's future are sure to continue to come up during All-Star week, the main focus of the All-Star team is to try and pull out a result against a talented and storied opponent.
What do you think of Backe's approach to the game? Think the MLS All-Star team has what it takes to get a result? Where do you think Beckham's future lies?
Share your thoughts below.