Carlos Vela said he hoped to see the MLS All-Stars put on a show for fans Wednesday night at the MLS All-Star Game against Juventus F.C.
The game did not disappoint the 72,317 fans in attendance—an MLS All-Star Game record—nor those watching on TV as the two teams played to a 1-1 draw before Juventus edged the MLS side on penalty kicks.
For the first 15 minutes of the match, both teams traded attacking blows in a relatively fast paced, end-to-end game, although neither team was able to put a solid shot on frame.
Things quieted down a bit as Juventus seemed to settle in and take control of the match, putting constant pressure on the MLS All-Stars until the Italian champions drew first blood in the 21st minute.
Emre Can played the ball out of the middle of the field to midfielder Matheus Pereira. None of the MLS All-Stars put pressure on the midfielder, giving Pereira far too much time to pick out his pass Andrea Favilli in the box, who neatly headed the ball down into the lower right corner of the goal.
The goal looked for a moment as if it would open the floodgates for The Bianconeri, but just five minutes later MLS All-Stars pulled level thanks to Atlanta’s own Josef Martinez.
Miguel Almiron sent a lovely cross to the far post to Martinez, who picked out an open Vela near the penalty spot. The LAFC forward fired a shot off the hands of Juventus keeper Wojciech Szczęsny, but Nacho Piatti sent the loose ball back across goal where Josef Martinez ended the chaos with a point blank header into the net.
Martinez’s goal seemed to light a fire beneath the MLS All-Stars, who almost took a 2-1 lead just before half as Almiron broke free for a one-on-one with Szczęsny, but the offside flag put an end to the attack. Replay showed that Almiron appeared clearly onside.
After the half, both teams had chances and forced saves from the keepers, but it was the MLS All-Stars with the best chance of the half in the 82nd minute.
High pressure from Ilie Sanchez forced a turnover deep in Juventus territory. Bradley Wright-Phillips gathered the ball and played Diego Valeri into a dangerous one-on-one situation, but Juventus defender Medhi Benatia cleared the shot off the line, preserving the 1-1 scoreline and forcing the game to penalties.
Both sides went goal-for-goal in penalty kicks until Bradley Wright-Phillips uncharacteristically bounced his shot off the left post. Juventus defender Mattia De Sciglio immediately stepped up and sent the ball straight past Steffen to give The Bianconeri the victory on penalty kicks.