Chris Tierney should’ve been there when the MLS All Stars faced Tottenham Hotspur. Invited for the first time in his eight-year career, Tierney was forced to withdraw from the summertime event due to injury. It was a difficult decision that was ultimately validated when the New England Revolution collected full points against Toronto FC.
Prior to the All-Star Game, Tierney played 90 minutes in an away draw with the Chicago Fire. During the match, he picked up an ankle knock as well as whiplash. The left back didn’t return to full training until Thursday of that week and was ultimately a game-day decision.
"He was a morning decision," head coach Jay Heaps explained in his post-game press conference. "His ankle was great but his neck was really stiff, but I think you sensed how important this game was and he did a great job."
Tierney was part of a back line that frustrated the star-studded Toronto attack that included Jozy Altidore and Sebastian Giovinco. Though the visitors would grab a goal, it was a good night for the Revolution defense.
Tierney was also effective on the attacking end as he setup two goals. In the 35th minute, his free kick found Kelyn Rowe, who then played the ball centrally to the effective Charlie Davies.
Tierney’s left foot continued to cause panic in the second half as his service in the 62nd minute was misplayed by Benoit Cheyrou before falling to Davies, who once again found the back of the net. These are the types of moments that happen when Tierney is on the field.
"Jay really emphasized set pieces a lot this week," Tierney explained. "We worked on them a lot. That play to Kelyn, we drew up in training. I’m just glad it worked out. It’s just about executing in the games."
The Revs would finish the night with three points, defeating Toronto 3-1. Seeing the score line and knowing that he helped his team stay competitive in the crowded Eastern Conference was enough to prove to Tierney that missing the All-Star Game was the right choice.
Still, the Massachusetts native can’t help but think about what it would’ve been like to line up alongside some of the league’s biggest names.
"The world class stars that you see coming in—David Villa, Kaka—are guys I grew up watching," Tierney said while joking that he probably would’ve entered in the second half. "So it would have been really cool to see what those guys are like just as people, as well as soccer players.
"Hopefully I’ll get another chance at it one day, but looking over the course of this week I’m at peace with my decision."