2017 MLS All-Star Game: What You Missed
On Tuesday night, much of the world — well, much of the United States — saw the 22nd iteration of Major League Soccer’s annual All-Star Game. In front of a stellar crowd at Chicago’s Soldier Field, the MLS All-Star squad squared up against Real Madrid of Spain’s top league, La Liga.
With a roster that included Americans Tim Howard, Graham Zusi, Michael Bradley, and Jozy Altidore as well as international transplants Bastion Schweinsteiger, Kaka, and Giovani dos Santos, the MLS team took the field against a Real Madrid team sans Cristiano Ronaldo.
This game has never enjoyed the best ratings, so there’s a good chance you didn’t watch this live. That being the case, here’s what you may have missed.
Second Half Goals
While the first half had its moments of excitement from both sides, everyone seemed to miss wide of the goal no matter how much space they had near the box. After 45 (+1) minutes of action, it was a Nil-Nil result and it took until the 68th minute for the ball to touch the back of the net.
Against an out-of-place back four for the MLS, Real Madrid’s Borja Mayoral received a pass around the 18-yard line and rifled a deflected shot past goalkeeper Stefan Frei for the game’s first goal.
Later, in the 87th minute, the MLS was able to strike back off of a corner kick. Off a beautiful set piece from Diego Valeri, Dax McCarthy put his head to the ball, sending it off the left post. From a rebound, Orlando City’s Dom Dwyer placed the ball in the back of the net, sending the game to penalty kicks.
After 90 minutes of action, the 2017 All-Star game moved on to penalty kicks. The MLS All-Stars missed their first two shots — including LA Galaxy’s Giovani dos Santos hitting the crossbar — while Real Madrid hit its first two thanks to Karim Benzema and Gareth Bale. Diego Valeri made it interesting with a goal of his own followed by a third straight make for Madrid by Kovacic. Eventually, Madrid’s Marcelo buried his kick to end the game 4-2.
It was highlighted during pre-game and momentarily at half-time, but the Ref Cam — aka a POV Go-Pro type setup for the referees — was pretty much unnecessary for this broadcast. Sure, it looked cool and perhaps it will come in handy during the second half of the MLS season, but there was very little need for it during this exhibition. It did look nice though…
Wow, were those Target logos hard to miss. As soon as the MLS All-Stars walked out of Soldier Field’s tunnel, it was obvious that Target and its 1,800 stores were very much on display. Taking center stage on the, well, center of each MLS All-Star’s jersey, there was no doubt that Target was all about the product placement. There’s nothing else really of note here. Those Target logos were just obnoxious.
A Key Injury
Atlanta United fullback Greg Garza left the game in heartbreaking fashion, exiting in the 10th minute with a separated shoulder. He’ll certainly be missed as Atlanta tries to stay in the top half of the Eastern Conference. Currently, just 4 points separate them from Chicago Fire and the 2nd place spot and his absence could have a big effect on those standings.
I’ll be perfectly honest with you: this game turned out to be much more interesting than I expected. After a first half full of near misses and poor defending, the second half was much more entertaining on both sides. Real played without its top striker in Cristiano Ronaldo, but despite that, it turned out to be a solid effort from an All-Star team coming out of the MLS.