MLS All Stars show well in 2-1 win vs Bayern Munich (video highlights)

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Landon Donovan and Bradley Wright-Phillips gave the MLS All Stars a come-from-behind 2-1 win against Bayern Munich in Wednesday night’s friendly at Providence Park in Portland, Ore.

The game was a very good showcase for the league, and a fun viewing (even for neutrals without a stake in the league or the Bavarians). Be sure to check back on this site all night, as Richard Farley is on the scene in Portland.

The end of the game brought drama, as Pep Guardiola and the Bayern staff refused to shake the hand of MLS coach Caleb Porter.

[ WATCH: Porter gets the cold shoulder from Pep ]

Bayern left a lot of firepower on the bench for the start of the game, a fact that was underscored by their 80th minute substitutions of Thomas Muller, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Gotze and Diego Contento.

Robert Lewandowski scored Bayern’s only goal, and the first half tally looked like this:

It was part of a wide-open first half with plenty of chances for each side and some wonderful saves from Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando.

And here’s what we were saying at halftime.

Portland head coach Caleb Porter made 10 changes at halftime, leaving Thierry Henry as the only starter on the pitch to start the second half. The move was for good reason, as Henry’s removal in the 48th minute earned a great salute from the Portland crowd in what could very well be the French legend’s last All Star Game. And Landon Donovan entering the game for Henry helped up the volume as well.

Bradley Wright-Phillips continued his goal-scoring magic with an stunning left-footed shot that beat a diving Starke. The play was set up by Erick ‘Cubo’ Torres’ flick, and the match was tied at 1 in the 51st minute.

Manuel Neuer enjoyed a rousing round of applause when he entered the game in the 62nd minute.

Then came a bit of controversy, as Osvaldo Alonso made a poor and unnecessary challenge on Xherdan Shaqiri that had Bayern boss Pep Guardiola cross the halfway line to have some angry words with Porter and his staff.

The 70th minute found Donovan scoring against his former club, as Diego Valeri’s pretty ball over the top was collected and pushed home by the USMNT legend.

It was a great moment for him, especially given his summer.

Bernat burst forward in the 79th minute to get onto the end of a Shaqiri cross, but the strong strike was parried out of bounds by Bill Hamid.

The Portland crowd knew its place and moment, and provided the international audience with a strong “Onward Rose City” in the 84th minute.

Late challenges had Guardiola in an uproar, as it seems the MLS All Stars were infringing on some sort of agreement to keep it calm. There were three yellow cards in the game, with Alonso, Will Johnson and Jerome Boateng seeing cautions.

All-Star Game history

1996: East, 3-2
1997: East, 5-4
1998: USA, 6-1
1999: West, 6-4
2000: East, 9-4
2001: East 6-6 West
2002: MLS 3-2 USMNT
2003: MLS 3-1 CD Guadalajara
2004: East, 3-2
2005: MLS 4-1 Fulham
2006: MLS 1-0 Chelsea
2007: MLS 2-0 Celtic
2008: MLS 3-2 West Ham
2009: Everton 1-1 (4-3 pks) MLS
2010: Manchester United 5-2 MLS
2011: Manchester United 4-0 MLS
2012: MLS 3-2 Chelsea
2013: Roma 3-1 MLS
2014: MLS 2-1 Bayern Munich

Lineups

Bayern Munich: Starke (Neuer, 62′); Rafinha, Bernat (Schweinsteiger, 80′), Alaba (c) (Robben, 86′); Martínez, Shaqiri (Gotze, 80′), Rode (Muller, 80′), Gaudino (Dante, 62′); Hojbjerg (Boateng, 73′), Lewandowski (Contento, 80′), Pizarro (Green, 37′; Lahm, 82′)

Goals: Lewandowski (8)

MLS All Stars: Rimando (Hamid, 46′); Yedlin (Franklin, 46′), Collin (Boswell, 46′), Besler (Ridgewell, 46′), Parkhurst (Alonso, 46′); Zusi (Wright-Phillips, 46′), Cahill (Valeri, 46′), Bradley (Edu, 46′), Henry (Donovan, 48′; Dwyer, 72′); Dempsey (W. Johnson, 46′); Martins (Torres, 46′)

Goals: Wright-Phillips (51), Donovan (70′)

Conte drops hint about his plans for attacking unit

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LONDON — Antonio Conte‘s decision to play a fluid front three of Eden Hazard, Willian and Pedro worked extremely well against Barcelona in Chelsea’s 1-1 draw on Tuesday, but will he use that trio again in big games coming up?

[ MORE: Conte’s tactical masterclass ]

For the first leg of their UEFA Champions League Round of 16 clash at Stamford Bridge, Conte left his two recognized strikers, Alvaro Morata and Olivier Giroud, on the bench and opted for Hazard centrally with Pedro and Willian close by in wide roles.

Hazard went close twice, Willian twice hit the post before scoring Chelsea’s goal via a pass from Hazard and Pedro chased down Barca’s defense and helped set the tempo for a fine display which should have seen Chelsea win by at least two goals.

[ MORE: Three things learned from Chelsea-Barca

Asked by Pro Soccer Talk after the draw with Barca if he was happy with Hazard’s play in a false nine helped out by Willian and Pedro, Conte seemed to suggest that front three will be Chelsea’s attacking unit moving forward.

“I think our three strikers played very well, a fantastic game,” Conte said. “Willian, he played really well against Hull [in the FA Cup] and he scored twice and in the last three games we scored eight times and seven goals we scored with Pedro, Willian and Hazard. I think that they’re working very well. We must be pleased for the game, not for the final result.”

With huge games coming up against both Manchester clubs in the next few weeks in the Premier League, plus the second leg at Barcelona on Mar. 14, it appears Conte may well go with the in-form trio to create as much havoc as possible for opposition defenders.

Hazard in a false nine is an intriguing situation to unravel as the Belgian is almost certainly better suited to playing in a wide role or as a No.10 just off a targetman such as Giroud or Morata, but in this 3-4-2-1 system he has the freedom to interchange with Pedro and Willian and to roam across the forward line.

Having Giroud or Morata as Plan B seems to be Conte’s plan moving forward and against teams such as Man City, Man United and Barcelona, it may well suit Chelsea best to keep things tight defensively and unleash their speedy, tricky trio on the break.

Conte’s tactics to not start with an out-and-out striker may be questioned by many but if it works half as well as it did on Tuesday, expect Hazard, Willian and Pedro to be Chelsea’s go-to guys in a season-defining few weeks for the reigning PL champs as they aim to cement their spot in the top four, reach the FA Cup semifinal and advance in the Champions League.

Blatter: 2026 World Cup should be in Morocco

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Former FIFA president Sepp Blatter has backed Morocco’s 2026 World Cup bid as he hit out at the joint-bid between the USA, Mexico and Canada.

The 81-year-old claims that joint bids for a World Cup are to be “rejected” after the 2002 World Cup and with voting for the 2026 hosts to take place on June 13 in an expedited process, it appears Morocco is gaining some traction among FIFA’s 209 member associations as the only alternative to a North American bid.

The U.S., Mexico and Canada bid to host the first-ever expanded 48-team tournament still seems to be the overwhelming favorite, but will comments like this help or hinder Morocco’s bid?

Blatter, the disgraced former long-time leader of world soccer’s governing body, is currently banned from all soccer related activity for six-years after being charged regarding a $2 million payment made between himself and the former UEFA President, Michel Platini.

Here’s the message Blatter sent out via Twitter, as the Swiss official is reportedly launching an appeal against his current ban which came after he announced he would step down as FIFA president in 2015 following several high level officials being charged with corruption by U.S. officials.

It is also worth noting that Blatter is still concerned about being extradited to the USA amid the ongoing FBI investigation into widespread corruption in the organization and doesn’t travel outside of Switzerland or Russia.

Brazil’s Gremio wins Recopa Sudamericana in penalty shootout

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PORTO ALEGRE, Brazil (AP) Brazil’s Gremio has won the Recopa Sudamericana, beating Argentina’s Independiente 5-4 in a penalty shootout Wednesday night.

The two-legged final ended 1-1 on aggregate, with no goals scored after 120 minutes in the second.

The winners of last year’s Copa Libertadores overcame the holders of Copa Sudamericana after goalkeeper Marcelo Grohe stopped the last penalty of the series, taken by Independiente’s striker Martin Benitez.

The Recopa is played between the champions of South America’s two most important tournaments.

Independiente played most of the match down to 10 players after defender Fernando Amorebieta was sent off after 38 minutes.

The Brazilians made most of the pressure until the end of extra time, but failed to score.

Gremio also won the Recopa in 1996.

CCL wrap: FC Dallas disappoints; Club America struts (video)

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The CONCACAF Champions League returned Tuesday with Toronto FC’s 2-0 quarterfinal first leg win in Colorado, and a trio of ties began Wednesday across Panama, Costa Rica, and Honduras.

[ WATCH: Fred’s vicious free kick ]

Tauro 1-0 FC Dallas

Veteran striker Edwin Aguilar scored a big goal, and goalkeeper Oscar McFarlane did plenty of good things as the Panamanian side struck a wild first blow against its MLS visitors.

Here’s a random fact underscoring how remarkable of a failure this would be for FC Dallas: Only six of Tauro’s roster members have their own Wikipedia page.

Deportivo Saprissa 1-5 Club America

Cecilio Dominguez and Mateus Uribe each bagged a brace, and Renato Ibarra also scored as the tournament’s top team sauntered into and out of Costa Rica on Wednesday. Club America has been to seven CCL finals, and one every single one.

Motagua vs. Club Tijuana — 10 a.m. ET

Honduran hosts hope to have a leg to stand on — pun intended — once the tie heads to Mexico.