Washington (AFP) – Goals from Los Angeles FC star Carlos Vela and Seattle’s Raul Ruidiaz lifted the Major League Soccer All-Stars to a 2-1 victory over their Liga MX opponents for the second consecutive year in the MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday.
The MLS All-Stars started early at Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minnesota, where Vela headed home a cross from LAFC teammate Diego Palacios in the third minute.
Palacios split two Liga MX defenders and then sent his cross into a crowded Vela penalty area for the goal.
Ruidiaz doubled the scoring from the penalty spot in the 73rd minute after New England Revolution playmaker Carles Gil fired the foul into the penalty area.
Pachuca defender Kevin Alvarez netted a goal for the Liga MX side in the 85th minute, unleashing a long-range burst that eluded New York City FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson.
But the Mexican team’s frantic attempt to equalize in the dying minutes failed and MLS celebrated a victory in the mid-season exhibition for the second year in a row.
The match featuring the best players from neighboring leagues, played in front of a crowd of 19,797 spectators, proved very intense for a mid-season friendly.
Less than three minutes passed before the MLS side survived a VAR review for a handball, with Walker Zimmerman cleared of the offence.
Minnesota United’s Dayne St. Clair gave home fans something to cheer about with a dipping rocket save from Pumas UNAM forward Juan Dinenno, who held the lead at 1-0 before halftime. time.
St. Clair replaced Andre Blake in goal in the 32nd minute and made four saves before being named Man of the Match.
“I was definitely a little surprised,” he said after receiving the accolade. « Normally it’s the guys who contribute goals who get the award, but I’m really, really happy. »
During a television interview at halftime, MLS commissioner Don Garber hinted that the format of the mid-season showcase could change again after two years of MLS against Liga MX All-Stars.
He noted that 2023 will see a lot of competition between the leagues with the expanded League Cup, which will feature all clubs from both leagues with CONCACAF Champions League places on the line.
« We’ll see what next year is like in Washington DC when DC United hosts (the All-Star Game), » Garber said.
The All-Star Game, a staple since the launch of MLS in 1996, has changed format several times, sometimes featuring the Eastern Conference All-Stars against the Western Conference and sometimes MLS teams taking on foreign clubs. .