By DAN KARELL
On a night that was supposed to be the highlight of a tremendous week for Major League Soccer, it was the visitors that stole the spotlight.
In clinical fashion, AS Roma dominated the MLS All Stars in nearly every aspect of the match, winning their first ever All-Star Game, 3-1, on Wednesday evening at Sporting Park in Kansas City, Kansas.
New Roma signing Kevin Strootman scored just four minutes in, surprising the sold-out crowd at Sporting Park. Francesco Totti and co. began to ping the ball around the field in style, forcing the MLS All-Stars to chase.
The hosts were given a scare when midfielder Graham Zusi was substituted in the 24th minute, reportedly suffering a quad strain.
Just like the first half, it didn’t take long for Roma to score at the start of the second stanza. Two minutes into the half, Roma youngster Alessandro Florenzi scored inside the box on a great feed from his teammate Federico Balzaretti to make it 2-0.
With a few substitutions on both sides, including Landon Donovan’s inclusion, the MLS All-Stars began to pick up some steam. The All-Stars had a number of chances and opportunities, but the final ball was just missing, whether it came from Thierry Henry, Camilo, or Patrice Bernier.
In the 68th minute, just seconds after the All-Stars had their best chance of the game from a close range Donovan chance, 20-year-old Roma forward Junior Tallo scored from nearly the same spot as Florenzi, firing past All-Stars goalkeeper Nick Rimando to make it 3-0 for the Italian club.
With just seconds remaining, the All-Stars saved a bit of face on what was a fun evening as a whole, as substitute Omar Gonzalez sent in a perfect header off a free kick from Camilo, putting the hosts on the board before the final whistle sounded.