I remember a discussion I had last year with a couple folks from the FC Dallas front office regarding the All-Star game. We were all in Kansas City for last year's game at the league hotel. After a few moments of talking I casually asked, "when will we get this game?". Neither person from the FCD side of things had a real answer for it at the time as one just responded with "hopefully one of these days" as an answer.
With the All-Star game in Portland tonight, I've been thinking long and hard about where the next game could be at for the league. In recent years, it seems as though the league has picked either a big venue against a big team (like they did a few years back when Houston hosted it against Manchester United), the relatively new team or they've gone with the new stadium approach.
This year it is more so in the relatively new team boat though Portland feels like they have been in the league for ages now even though they are still fairly new.
Outside of the markets with new stadiums or teams that are new, there are only a few places that haven't hosted this game left to go before the next round of new stadium, cities and what not that come into the league.
I'll start with the most likely and work my way down.
The top candidates
1. San Jose (new stadium opens in 2015) - This one seems the most likely of the bunch. The Quakes have a brand new facility that will open its doors next season and given the track record of how MLS approaches these things, it seems most logical for them to place the game here.
I think the ONE thing going against a bid for this stadium in this game could be that the league wouldn't want to put an ASG on the west coast two years in a row.
San Jose did last host the ASG in 2001, which also happened to be one of last times the league did an East v West game.
2. Dallas - As crazy as it sounds, Dallas is one of two MLS originals to have never hosted this game. To me, if it is going to happen in anytime soon for this club to host the ASG it almost has to be in 2015. The thing is, we know games played in August almost always mean playing in really stupidly hot temperatures. Would the league really want to come here for their big showcase game and play in this kind of heat?
The one big thing that could help the cause for this to happen, FCD markets this as a celebration of Toyota Stadium turning 10. The stadium opened on August 6, 2005...which could easily be a day that MLS schedules this game.
3. LA - The StubHub Center hasn't hosted this game since 2003, which for LA seems like a century. LA is always the fallback for games like this as they are really the one market outside of Seattle and Portland that can probably host this game tomorrow without any issues just based on their facilities and everything there. Plus, getting a big name team to LA is much easier than say getting one to Denver or Columbus.
The I wouldn't put it past MLS group
4. New York - Some folks seem to think Yankee Stadium will host it because of NYCFC coming into the league. I honestly doubt that but again I wouldn't put it by MLS either if the schedule works out correctly. MLS will want to really hype up this new NY team as much as they can and this would be yet another easy way to do it.
5. Las Vegas - MLS may want to test a market and why not this expansion hopeful. The only thing is I don't know where they would play this game that would make sense.
The other possibilities
6. Montreal - I didn't throw the Impact into this mix at the top three purely because there have been rumors floating out there for several weeks that they are in line to host the 2017 game.
7. New England - Another MLS original that has yet to host this game. It would take a lot to get this game there though in my mind. I think IF and only IF the owners there were going to release information about a stadium and plan a ground breaking ceremony around that game would it make sense to plan one there.
8. Vancouver - I nearly had them in the top group but upon further look, next year doesn't make a ton of sense for them to host this game due to their hosting of the Women's World Cup finals there. Maybe in 2016, then again maybe not for a long while as the Whitecaps aren't totally big on friendlies anyways.