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Real Madrid emerges victorious in penalty kicks to win MLS All-Star Game

Photo by Mike Dinovo/USA Today Sports

It took penalty kicks to decide a winner in Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game and, when the dust cleared, Real Madrid was crowned this summer’s victors.

Following a 1-1 draw in regular time, Real Madrid topped the MLS All-Stars, 4-2, on penalty kicks to win Wednesday’s MLS All-Star Game at Soldier Field. Borja Mayoral’s 59th minute goal was canceled out by a late Dom Dwyer finish, paving the way for spot kicks.

The MLS All-Stars were up to the spot first with Dwyer seeing his shot stopped by Luca Zidane. Karim Benzema responded with a make before Giovani dos Santos smashed his shot off the crossbar. Gareth Bale and Mateo Kovacic sent Stefan Frei the wrong way to further Real Madrid’s advantage. Miguel Almiron and Diego Valeri kept the MLS team alive before Marcelo buried Real Madrid’s fourth spot kick to seal the win.

The loss is the MLS All-Stars’ second consecutive All-Star defeat. With the loss, the MLS All-Stars also fall for the sixth time in the 13th year featuring matches against European opposition while also handing the MLS side a second-ever penalty kick loss.

Wednesday’s match featured plenty of big names on either side, but few fireworks until late. With just minutes remaining, the MLS All-Stars got their finish as Dwyer and Dax McCarty combined to level the scoreline in the 87th minute. On a corner kick, McCarty darted through the Real Madrid box and fired one of his trademark headers. It clanged off the post, but Zidane had no chance of keeping out Dwyer’s rebound, leveling the match at one apiece.

Real Madrid originally broke through in the 59th minute through Mayoral, who took advantage of the MLS backline’s lack of chemistry. With the defense uneven, Mayoral found space in the center of the field before receiving a pass from Dani Carvajal. His shot was deflected up and over Frei, who was helpless as the ball went up and over him and into the back of the net.

The first half was largely dominated Real Madrid, who fired a whopping 19 shots. Only two were on target, though, with Tim Howard’s stop on an Isco chip serving as the highlight. Center back Sergio Ramos was a frequent attacking presence with his own chip serving as one of the Spanish champion’s best chances.

The MLS All-Stars, meanwhile, generated a a few chances of their own. David Villa saw a shot pushed away by Keylor Navas midway through the first half before Sebastian Giovinco’s stoppage time effort from 30 yards out flew just inches wide of the left post.

While the second half saw Real Madrid on the front foot yet again, the MLS All-Stars had their chances. Featuring an entirely new lineup from the first half, the MLS side’s best attack came through Nemanja Nikolic, whose 70th minute shot hit side netting.

The All-Stars pushed forward for an equalizer as the match went on, firing cross after cross into the Real Madrid box. Eventually, McCarty got his head to one corner kick and Dwyer fired home the rebound, forcing penalty kicks.

MLS play will resume this weekend with a full slate beginning on Saturday.


  1. People should maybe consider carefully that Real Madrid is itself an All-Star team, just one that happens to play in Madrid, Spain, and takes the most expensive players from across the world. The team’s transfer-market value is listed at around 715 million Euros…which translates to just shy of $850 million US dollars.

    Was the transfer value of the MLS all-stars a tenth that? A twentieth? Doubtful. Probably less even than that. And MLS spreads all that talent around among 22 teams.

    And yet Real Madrid wasn’t convincingly better. I thought they were the (slightly) better team on the night and deserved the result but they certainly did not look like the Harlem Globetrotters playing the Washington Generals, either. There were more than a few concerned looks on that Real Madrid sideline and bench during the game.

    Just sayin’, if that’s really what $850 million and the very Bestus of the Bestus looks like, last night it looked anything but unattainable.

    • I’m not knocking your enthusiasm but let’s be real: This was far from Madrid’s first or second team.
      A lot of players from their U21 team got on the field .

      • Doesn’t matter. His point still stands. First team or not this was still a top notch team that had many of their first-team players play. And they are a club team that are in camp and practice together every day and have experience playing with each other. The MLS all-star team is a team thrown together with maybe one day of practice. They showed well.

        Also, if Navas doesn’t make that great save on Villa’s point-blank shot in the first half its probably a different outcome.

  2. I watched the first 65 minutes, and was thoroughly underwhelmed by the MLS players. Jozy was utterly ineffective, getting beat to every ball, getting physically manhandled, it was sad to watch. I thought maybe he was nursing a bad knock. Villa and Schweinsteiger were invisible. Bradley played ok, but he was basically playing as a third CB for most of the half. Giovinco and Kaka showed well. I knew that it would be a disjointed team performance, but I had hoped for some individual moments of brilliance.

  3. I saw the beginning of the first half and all of the second half, so my observations are based on maybe 55 minutes of the action. It was interesting to see who could hold their own against such good opposition. Like bizzy, I liked the efforts of the players mentioned. Hedges did have a moment where he got beat, but was generally solid. Parkhurst got beat for pace one time, but his positioning was always excellent–never a wrong move that I saw. I’ve been a fan of Dax for quite some time, but I was surprised at just how good he was in this game. Like Parkhurst, his defensive positioning was superb and he cut off a number of passes in and around the box. Once he took the ball away at the top of his own box and, while surrounded by 3 Madrid players, somehow managed to dribble out of trouble and make an outlet pass. Now, that was impressive. He looked better in this game than in any game he has played for the national team. Valeri showed that MLS is lucky to have him. He really could be playing in a top 5 league and making a lot more money. Piatti was off on his passes and blew up some promising counter attacks as a result. Gio dos Santos did not look good at all. Dwyer looked over matched out there. Unless he significantly improves, he is clearly going to be only good enough for MLS and CONCACAF. Nikolic should have scored and, for an experienced striker, was offside way too often. A poor effort. When Bale and Benzema came on, it was like switching from a Cadillac to a Ferrari. Another thing noticeable about Madrid is when it seemed like an MLS player had an open shot, they were able to close them down incredibly quickly and usually block the effort.

    • Gary, the frequent offsides was bothersome but I wondered if it was ill timed runs or a very well organized backline?
      The physicality was noticeable with Acosta and Dax getting bounced on contact. If Acosta ambition is to play in Europe or be a factor on the USMNT he needs to get thicker and stronger in his shoulders and hips.
      First touch, vision, awareness of teammates, awareness of opponents, and anticipation of player movements was lacking with many MLS players considered stars.
      The two set piece corners Valeri took was a savy sequence to Dax and almost worked again. I wish Dax was bigger, stronger, and faster. He is a smart on he field player!

  4. Wow…..Dax McCarthy, Parkhurst, Hedges and Acosta played a surprisingly good game….crisp one touch passing, confident in tight spaces, breaking up key plays, hustling to the ball, standing their ground one 1 V 1….nice


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