scheduled tribe. Paul, Min. ( Associated Press) — Carlos Vela scored in the third minute and Raul Ruidiaz converted a penalty kick in the 73rd minute in the Major League Soccer All-Star team’s 2-1 win over Mexico’s Liga MX on Wednesday night.
Vela, the versatile Los Angeles FC forward who led MLS in 2019 with 34 goals, was led in the opening goal from a crossing pass by LAFC teammate Diego Palacios. Ruidiaz took the lead after Carles Gil drew the penalty, sending his free shot to the bottom right corner to roar from a sell-out crowd of 19,797 at Allianz Field.
Kevin Alvarez scored for Liga MX in the 83rd minute with a rocket from outside the box, which passed diving goalkeeper Sean Johnson. It brought thousands of Mexicans to life, and they were just as loud as the Americans.
Minnesota United, nicknamed the Loons by ardent supporters, had backup goalkeeper Dene St. Clair and represented midfielder Emanuel Reynoso on the team. Renoso took the first corner kick. St Clair’s enters the 33rd minute to sub Andre Blake. He made four saves, including a diving stop to block a header in the 44th minute to win the game’s MVP award.
It was the second version of this format for the MLS All-Star Game, which differentiated it from other major US-based pro sports leagues. The MLS team defeated Liga MX on penalty kicks in Los Angeles last year after a 1-1 draw in regulation. MLS is not committed to an All-Star rematch.
The two leagues are more business partners than fierce rivals, with only one Mexican player in the starting Liga MX lineup: Fernando Beltrán. The MLS team consisted of Vela, Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez and Julian Araujo, who was born in the US and has dual nationality.
But MLS, which was formed more than 50 years after Liga MX, will surely take another sign that it is catching up to its southern neighbor. The Seattle Sounders became the first MLS club to defeat a Liga MX team for the CONCACAF Champions League title earlier this year when they defeated Pumas UNAM. Minnesota United coach Adrian Heath, who coaches the MLS team, said this week the gap between the two leagues is as close as he has ever seen.
The following year, the league will compete in an expanded League Cup tournament – the first to include all 47 clubs from the MLS and Liga MX. The winner will directly enter the CONCACAF Champions League Round of 16.
The timing of the performances this year also created a bonus opportunity for members of the US national team to engage, with the World Cup scheduled to take place in a little over three months.
There are currently seven MLS All-Stars listed in the US roster who have not yet been finalized for Qatar: defenders Walker Zimmerman, DeAndre Yedlin and Aaron Long, forwards Jordan Morris, Paul Arriola and Jesus Ferreira, and Johnson.
Zimmerman and Morris were in the starting lineup. Ariola succumbed and wiped out the opening goal of the second half with an offside call on Brandon Vazquez, who pierced Ariola with a perfect setup in front. Vazquez, who is second in MLS with 14 goals, has cemented his place in strong consideration for the American team with his breakout season for FC Cincinnati.
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