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.