NEW YORK — There has been much talk this week about the improvements in MLS over the past decade. One who’s seen it up close and personal is All-Star midfielder Brad Davis, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2002 MLS Draft.
“This league wasn’t here when I was growing up,” Davis said during Monday’s press conference. “The league has gotten better, the talent has gotten better. Hopefully it keeps going in the right direction.”
One thing going in the right direction is Davis' career. Wednesday night is a bit of a homecoming of sorts as the young winger originally was taken by the then MetroStars in 2002. Davis enjoyed a solid rookie campaign before being traded from the club when current US national team head coach Bob Bradley took over the club following the 2002 season.
Davis has gone on to flourish in MLS, earning a number of caps with the national team and is himself no stranger to the MLS All-Star Game — he’s making his third straight appearance and fourth overall, and bagged himself a goal against Everton in 2009.
New York’s current head coach, Hans Backe, thinks highly of Davis.
“One of my favorite players on the left-hand side,” Backe said of Davis. “Good understanding of the game, good knowledge.”
Becks’ LA Future: Now in the final year of his five-year contract with MLS, David Beckham remains committed to being uncommitted about his MLS future. The 37-year old midfielder is enjoying a good season with the Galaxy but said he’s focused on the present, not the future, with the club.
“I haven’t spoken to the Galaxy yet,” Beckham said. “They know my situation.”
Beckham is still recovering from a stress fracture to his spine and is uncertain how much he wants to continue to play after this season.
“I have to see how I feel at the end of the year,” Beckham said. “I’m happy here.”
No Dice on Donovan: The news late on Sunday night that Landon Donovan is out of the All-Star Game with a calf injury is a big blow to the MLS side.
“He’s a key player,” Backe said. “One of the top players in the game.”
Backe said that no replacement player will be called in to face Manchester United on Wednesday night.
“I will give everyone minutes on Wednesday,” Backe promised.
Thierry’s Thoughts: It was a little more than a year ago that Thierry Henry announced at a crowded Red Bull Arena press conference that he was leaving famed Spanish club Barcelona for MLS. Since that moment, Henry has been pleased with his American adventure.
“It’s been more than amazing for me,” Henry said. “People are responding well, fans are coming to the game — you have some amazing players here. I have been surprised a lot about the level, the physicality of the league.”
Henry currently is the league’s socring leader, sitting on 11 goals heading into the All-Star Break.
Kristian R. Dyer can be followed at twitter.com/KristianRDyer