Borja Mayoral and Dom Dwyer traded goals during regulation of the MLS All Star Game at Soldier Field in Chicago on Wednesday, and Real Madrid joined the All Stars in penalty kicks.
Luca Zidane stopped Dwyer’s opening penalty kick and Giovani dos Santos cranked the second MLS All Stars PK off the crossbar as Real Madrid topped the All Stars 4-2 in the shootout.
Mayoral was named the match’s MVP.
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There were two painful moments in the first 10 minutes. First, Atlanta United defender Greg Garza separate his shoulder.
Then Graham Zusi stamped down Theo Hernandez’s shin and onto his foot in what looked even worse upon replay.
Tim Howard was the star of the first half as Real Madrid held possession deep in the MLS All Stars half, relegating the home side to counter attacks.
Marco Asensio tried to chip Howard just after the half hour mark, but the Colorado Rapids backstop swatted the shot in NBA fashion.
The All Stars finally produced an A-plus chance in the 36th minute, as Kaka found David Villa only to see Keylor Navas parry the New York City FC man’s shot out for a corner that Real defended well.
Sergio Ramos joined the group of Spaniards trying to chip Howard with a goofy offering when played on goal in the 43rd minute, but the shot sailed over the goal.
Sebastian Giovinco has a sense of the occasion, and nearly hit a gorgeous, swerving rocket past Navas as the match reached halftime.
Full scale changes met the second half’s start, and the game felt a lot more wide open. Editorial note: Theo Hernandez looks as smooth as necessary to play for a side like Real.
Mayoral’s goal appeared class, with Hernan Grana caught out of position, but turned out to be a deflection that caught Stefan Frei unaware. Either way, 1-0 in the 59th minute.
Zinedine Zidane then rolled out some impressive subs in the forms of Marcelo, Gareth Bale, and Karim Benzema.
Marcelo played an incredible left-footed pass for his first move, while both Benzema and Bale tempted the goal within minutes of entering the match.
Nemanja Nikolic looked to have made it 1-1 off a break in the 70th minute, but it was an optical illusion as his shot splashed off the outside of the net.
Dwyer did equalize with a 87th minute header on the doorstep after Diego Valeri’s corner kick was headed off the post by Dax McCarty, pinballed off Kellyn Acosta’s arm and onto the noggin of the
Sporting KC Orlando City man. Luca Zidane had little chance, even considering he got a paw on the ball.
Editorializing again, I’m happy to admit that the match surpassed my expectations for entertainment, even if I no longer love the format.