HOUSTON - In front of a sellout crowd, against one of the best soccer clubs in the world, Union midfielder Sebastien Le Toux relished a rematch afforded to him as one of the best players in Major League Soccer.
Another MLS All-Star, San Jose Earthquakes midfielder and Penn Charter alum Bobby Convey, downplayed the supposed awe of playing English Premier League power Manchester United in the 2010 AT&T All-Star Game.
Le Toux, who played in the Union's loss to the Red Devils last week at Lincoln Financial Field, was a starter in the All-Stars' 5-2 loss to the Red Devils in front of 70,728 fans last night at Reliant Stadium.
United dominated both halves and wrapped up its four-city North American tour in impressive fashion.
Convey replaced Le Toux and started the second half after the MLS fell behind, 2-0, in the first 12 minutes and never recovered. Just 24 seconds into the match, a poor pass by New England Revolution defender Kevin Alston was intercepted at the top of the box by Federico Macheda. MLS goalie Donovan Ricketts (Los Angeles Galaxy) could only watch as Macheda scored his first of two goals into the right side of the net.
In the 12th minute, Nani fired a corner kick toward the net and an unmarked Macheda deflected the ball past Ricketts.
Houston Dynamo forward Brian Ching scored the first goal for the MLS stars in the 63rd minute when he headed a free kick from David Ferreira past Edwin Van der Sar.
David Gibson, Tom Cleverley and Javier Hernandez put the game away after that, scoring in the 70th, 73rd and 84th minutes, respectively. Toronto's Dwayne De Rosario scored the final goal of the game in the 90th minute.
"[Manchester is] one of the best in Europe, in the world," said Le Toux, who has seven goals and seven assists in 12 games for the Union (4-8-2) this season. "When I was younger, I used to watch this team on TV. And now I've played them for the second time in a week. It's is a great opportunity and a tremendous honor."
Despite a shaky performance in the All-Star Game, Convey has been one of the keys to San Jose's turnaround after a last-place finish a year ago. He's already registered a career-high eight assists in 15 matches for the 'Quakes, who are in the thick of the Western Conference playoff race.
Like Le Toux, Convey said he was happy with the opportunity to play with the best players in MLS. Convey has played against the Red Devils "a bunch of times" as a member of Reading FC, also in England.
"It's always shocking the first time you see them because you are playing against guys you see in a video game," Convey said. "And you realize that they are some of the biggest and best players in the world. But after that, you just realize that it's just another game."
Convey mentioned the impressive following the Red Devils had at Reliant Stadium. That, he said, makes a winner out of MLS.
"These guys are one of the most recognizable teams in the world," said Convey, who made 98 appearances for Reading from 2004-2009. "They have a lot of fans at the game, and they have people from all over the world here to watch them.
"Everywhere they go, there are always tons of fans, and this week is no different. It's great for MLS to put this game on, not only for those fans, but for the average fans in the U.S. This is an opportunity for the league to get more people watching."