Valdes on All-Star Game: "one of my best nights of my life"
The fans chanted Carlos Valdes’ name before the All-Star Game began. The chants hit a fever pitch when he entered the midseason showcase in the 35th minute.
When it was over, the Philadelphia Union’s central defender and captain was still reveling in his first career All-Star Game, a thrilling 3-2 victory over Chelsea FC before a PPL Park-record crowd of 19,236 on Wednesday night.
“I just want to say thanks to all the fans for their support,” Valdes said. “I’m very proud, very excited about this night. It’s one of my best nights of my life.”
Valdes played a stellar all-around game, a tendency that helped land him in the All-Star Game to begin with.
From the second he came on as a substitute, he was aggressive.
“You could make a case that he [Valdes] could have started,” said MLS All-Stars coach Ben Olsen. “He’s as good as any centerback in the league.”
Valdes anticipated getting a large amount of playing time, and entered the game even earlier than expected after Aurelien Collin was shaken up on a challenge in the first half.
“I knew I had to play because some guys have to play and the coach told me before the game I would have the opportunity to play minutes,” Valdes said. “When I went on the field, I just wanted to play my game.”
That he did. Fresh off his first All-Star appearance, the experience was still sinking in.
“It’s awesome playing with [Thierry] Henry, [David] Beckham, [Landon] Donovan and the rest of the teammates,” Valdes said. “It’s amazing. One of the best minutes of my life. I’m really proud to be part of this game, of this great family. I’m really excited.”