MLS All-Stars ride second-half rally to top Bayern Munich

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Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIphotos.com

By MIKE DONOVAN 

PORTLAND, Ore. — In an entertaining and well-played match in front of a raucous crowd, the MLS All-Stars defeated Bundesliga champion Bayern Munich, 2-1, behind second-half goals from Bradley Wright-Phillips and Landon Donovan. Robert Lewandowski had an early strike for Bayern, but the All-Stars came out on top after a sublime second-half performance.

While Bayern was the stronger side in the first half, the second-half substitutes provided a lift for the MLS side and took the lead for good in the 70th minute when Landon Donovan outmuscled a Bayern defender and slotted the ball past Manuel Neuer. Diego Valeri’s long cross found Donovan, who played six matches with Bayern Munich in 2009, and the LA Galaxy player was not to be denied.

Donovan, who has been selected to 14 consecutive MLS All-Star games, was named the match’s MVP. It is second All-Star MVP trophy, having won it before in his first All-Star match in 2001. And while the match is only a friendly, Donovan took some satisfaction in both his performance and the victory.

“I’m proud to be part of this league. And for many years, those of us in this league, were sort of looked down upon for staying here and playing here. This was a big moment for our league,” Donovan said.

Donovan’s strike earned him MVP honors despite playing just 25 minutes. With a league match on Friday, LA Galaxy manager Bruce Arena asked MLS manager Caleb Porter to try his best to not overplay Donovan. The substitution directly after the goal gave Donovan the opportunity to receive a round of applause from the Portland fans.

And Donovan wasn’t the only MLS sub to provide a spark as Wright-Phillips wasted little time in putting his stamp on the match. Just five minutes into the second half, the MLS’s goalscoring leader tied the match with a monstrous left-footed shot that left Tom Starke little chance. Erick Torres’ flicked a header into space to the streaking RBNY striker and after just one-touch, Wright-Phillips provided his wonder strike.

“Obviously my left foot is not that good, I just try to get a clean strike and today it went in,” Wright-Phillips said. “Usually they go over the bar.”

The second-half comeback was almost overshadowed by the scene after the match when multiple Bayern Munich assistant coaches refused to shake Porter’s hand. Pep Guardiola also didn’t shake Porter’s hand, though he later said that he didn’t see him.

While Bayern might not have appreciated some challenges by MLS players such as yellow card recipients Osvaldo Alonso and Will Johnson, most MLS players felt like that was just part of the match.

“It was a real game.  There was no two ways about it, it was a real soccer game,” Donovan said. “And it was fun to be a part of.”

Michael Bradley, who started and played the first half, also thought that there was nothing out-of-the-ordinary with how the match was played.

“Two guys are going for a ball and at times, somebody ends up on the field. At times, a guy gets a piece of another guy.” the Toronto FC midfielder said. “In friendlies you try to avoid that at much as possible but there are still going to be plays like that throughout the game.”

The post-game fireworks came long after Bayern Munich took an early lead behind Lewandowski. The Polish International created space for himself by beating Aurelien Collin before directing it past Nick Rimando and into the back of the net. His goal came moments after Lewandowski was denied by a Rimando kick save.

Clint Dempsey almost put the MLS on the board in the 30th minute when his off-the-volley effort from a tough angle denied at the near post by Tom Starke. Dempsey found an opening in the Bayern defense after a pinpoint long ball from Thierry Henry. Later in the first half, Henry collected a clearance with two touches before his long-range dipping shot went inches over the goal.

Nick Rimando showed why he is considered one of the best goalkeepers in MLS when he got his hand on a Xherdan Shaqiri close-range attempt in the waning moments of the first half. The jump-save was one of Rimando’s five saves on the night.

“Whenever you can contribute to your team in a game like this, it feels good,” the Real Salt Lake goalkeeper said. “You try to save as many as you can, they snuck one by me, but the way we responded and the way these guys came out in the second half, it feels good to be apart of this team and league.”

Rimando made way for Bill Hamid, who was not forced into nearly as much action as Rimando, had three saves for the evening.  Hamid did, however, preserve the 2-1 scoreline when he denied Juan Bernat’s left-footed volley in the 79th minute.

Save for Thierry Henry, who was subbed off moments after the send half restart for Donovan, the MLS played with two completely different lineups, one for each half.

Bayern Munich’s contingent of World Cup Champions made second half appearances in the match after flying into Portland earlier in the afternoon. Manuel Neuer led the brigade into the match when he was brought on in the 62nd minute while the remainder of Bayern’s German World Cup players entered 11 minutes before the final whistle.

Also coming off the bench for Bayern was American International Julian Green, who played 45 minutes after coming in for Claudio Pizarro in the first half.

The sellout crowd of 21,733 was sharply divided as the Bundesliga champs had thousands of vocal supporters at the match. And while the majority of MLS players were cheered during introductions by most fans, boos serenaded Seattle’s Clint Dempsey when he was shown on the jumbotron pre-game.

“It shows the passion the fans have, the support they have for their local team,” Dempsey said. “I think that Seattle and Portland fans are tough to beat in terms of their passion and the atmosphere they create in their respective stadiums.”

Despite being managed by Porter, none of the three Portland representatives started the match for the MLS with Valeri, Johnson, and Liam Ridgewell all entering the match for the beginning of the second half. Valeri, who said he had never played in a match like the one on Wednesday, delivered the pass to set up Donovan’s winner.

The Portland Designated Player was the first MLS player to have a goal or assist on his home ground in an All-Star match since Houston’s Brian Ching had a goal and an assist in Man United’s 5-2 victory over MLS All-Stars in 2010.

“It was awesome. It was amazing I don’t have words to explain that,” Valeri said. “I really enjoyed it and these people deserved that.”

With the victory, the MLS All-Stars now have seven wins in 11 matches all-time against an international opponent.

 

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66 Responses to MLS All-Stars ride second-half rally to top Bayern Munich

  1. Ah says:

    Always been a Pep fan but that was classless. The tackles weren’t that bad and they weren’t porter’s fault anyway. Classless.

    • alf says:

      So this is the Bayern Munich ‘brand’? No thanks!

    • Kejsare says:

      Pep wagged his finger at Porter, and in under 10 seconds shook Alonso’s hand. What’s wrong here?

    • Josh D says:

      I think Pep was more upset that Porter didn’t react to the foul. I think he was looking for Porter to shout at Alonso to calm down. The two of them were saying a few things back and forth, all of which I’m sure wasn’t pleasantries.

      Pep overreacted, but Porter isn’t as innocent as many want to believe. I thought he looked like he was instigating a bit.

      Keller had the best commentary on it.

  2. OB Rick says:

    Bayern coaches=cry babies.

    They ermines me of how the Mexican coaches and players act after they lose to the USA.

    • Diego's Maradoughnuts says:

      Anybody else enjoy the oversized doofus Starke? Apparently this reserve goalkeeper is now doubling as Pep’s self-appointed enforcer. Please enjoy his Wikipedia page as linked below, the highlight being:

      “Starke made his second Bundesliga appearance in a match against 1. FC Nürnberg on 13 April 2013, when he saved a penalty from Timmy Simons with his face”

      link to en.wikipedia.org

  3. Joe Dirt says:

    Pep is a punk a–ss sissy. Lots of friendlies played this summer and everyone else shook hands like a good sport even if there were a few dangerous tackles. Pep is a sore loser. Hated to see Porter chasing him to apologize that was so humiliating he should have acted like a man instead of cowering to Peps bullshit antics.

    • solles says:

      i think he was chasing him to shake hands.

    • Ali Dia says:

      Ha that wasn’t cowering bud don’t worry. Porter knew what he was doing… walked right up to the dude and his whole staff one-by-one with a hand very obviously extended in full view of the cameras. If a dude is gonna take his ball and go home, make sure he wears it in a way the cameras can capture. Loved it.

      • quozzel says:

        Was also hard not to notice Bayern got thoroughly outplayed in the second half. Say what you will – friendly, preseason form, whatever – MLS’s best 22 are as good as Bayern, at probably a tenth the market value. MLS All-Stars had the clear edge in athleticism, and while there were a couple exceptions, for the most part they were at least comparable to the Bayern guys technically. It was VERY hard not to also notice that this year’s MLS All-Star team is better than the current USMNT, and by quite a bit…

        Biggest change in the second half was the addition of Valeri and Erick Torres…those two supplied a creative linking quality in the final third you just don’t see with anyone in the current USMNT setup. And Bradley Wright-Phillips was heads and shoulders bigger, stronger, and more athletic than anyone the USMNT (or Bayern!) has (and I’ve heard many Englishmen dismiss him as a “pub player”…whatever!). Add the likes of Dom Dweyer, and Osvaldo Alonso (who showed, once again, he’s an upgrade even on Michael Bradley, OA is MLS’s best holding mid, period, and I really hope Cuba lets go of him even though he’s 28) along with the likes of Obafemi Martins, and Good God, Thierry Henry – and you’d have an amazingly formidable World Cup squad.

        We’re not far off. Two guys who really probably helped their USMNT status tonight were Bill Hamid – who really is looking like the next great American keeper – and, surprisingly, Sean Franklin. Best I’ve ever seen Franklin look, really wasn’t much drop-off between him and Yedlin and the All-Stars were having their way down the right flank all night. Might be tough for him to get minutes with FJ and Yedlin in the pool, but he surely looks a lot more polished and poised than he ever looked with the Galaxy, where he mostly just looked fast.

        Speaking of Yedlin, somebody big is going to come in for him, and soon. He was giving Bayern nightmares…by the end of the first half, he was drawing Bayern double-teams and still beating THOSE. And people talk about how he’s a poor 1-on-1 defender…I dunno, maybe he used to be, but I watched him absolutely stone the German left wing more than once…1-on-1.

        And oh yeah, Pep’s an @sshole. That was absolutely classless of him, and it was indeed slick of Porter to make absolutely certain everybody saw the public diss.

        You can bet Bayern’s management is frothing at the mouth over what Pep pulled. They moved heaven and Earth to get this tour, took 170 guys along, and Pep blows up their goodwill by basically spitting in Porter and MLS’s face…after losing the game.

        Pep had better keep winning big, or the end will come quickly for him. They will remember.

        • Tap the Brakes says:

          Mind sharing a little bit of whatever you’re smoking?

          That wasn’t even close to a full-strength Bayern squad – hell, they subbed on most of their first team with about 10 minutes to go and none of those guys have touched a soccer ball since the World Cup. Oh, and don’t forget if not for some Nick Rimando heroics MLS would’ve been down 3-0 at the break.

          Did the All-Stars play well? Yes. Could they pull off a similar result against a full strength Bayern squad over 90 minutes? Not a chance.

          MLS is obviously an improving league & things are headed in the right direction but don’t drink the Kool-Aid here – this was a one-off meaningless friendly where one team (Bayern) was more interested in building their brand & staying healthy than actually winning.

        • Clover362 says:

          Yea the MLS all stars payed well but that was hardly the oiled machine you would see IG it were a champions league knockout stage game. This game is a good example however thwt if you concentrated the MLS all stars into 2 teams (like most leagues are organized), those 2 teams would be really good. My guess they would probably be a team that fights for the Europa spot from the BPL.

          • Nate says:

            you are forgetting that they hardly play with each another, or have a unified system, unlike Bayern…they’re an all star team, not a well oiled machine.

  4. Bandeeto says:

    Those tackles weren’t very bad. Olonso so clipped a guys heel with his trailing leg and Johnson hip checked Pighearder… Neither would have been called in an mls game. I think the Germans picked up some bad habits and premadonna attitudes in Brazil. Definately lost some respect for pep and bayern.

    • Increase0 says:

      Naw, its just Pep. Reminds me of Barcelona. They tend to whine a lot about games they lose.

      Xavi is famous for always complaining about the field not being good enough.

      • AcidBurn says:

        Xavi also whines that it is “bad for the game of football” when the other team wins (who usually played a more direct style).

        Could you imagine Xavi at NYCFC, playing on the dirt cutouts? And passing to a guy out of college making $75k a year? Probably a good thing that he stayed at Barca.

    • rph says:

      What’s a “premadonna”? Oh, you mean “prima donna.”

    • solles says:

      Alonso came in studs up, that was a dangerous foul. Johnsons wasnt really all that.

      • Quit Whining About Soccer in the US says:

        I missed the game because I was coaching a u-14 practice.
        Had more dangerous than that. I said something of course.

        Then when my team lost I pouted, didn’t shake the kids hand, and cried about wanting to play again to anyone listening.

      • bryan says:

        i actually thought Johnson’s was just as bad because it was on a player you know is carrying a light knock, is only there for the fans, had just flown in, and it’s the 89th minute with MLS up 2-1.

  5. psxv says:

    I’m sure Pep’s bosses are thrilled that he acted unprofessionally and likely hurt Bayern’s brand just as they were trying to make a big push into the US market. The tackles were harsher than both sides would have liked but they weren’t malicious.

    I thought MLS played reasonably well and am glad they got the win.

    • Increase0 says:

      Henry was banging around whoever was on his side of the field too. Went over his back for a header etc. Nothing really nasty or leg breaky.

    • Joe Dirt says:

      I hope so he is definitely helping them brand Bayern as the “Cry Baby” club, which doesn’t really fit with most American attitudes being a self reliant, free, tough guy nation.

  6. lprevolution says:

    I’ve just stopped caring about Bayern Munchin. Go to you douchy place Pep.

  7. Ah says:

    If you don’t want to play a reasonably competitive friendly, don’t schedule the game, don’t cash the check, and don’t try to take advantage of the game for you global branding exercises. To be fair, none of the Bayern players seemed to be all that bothered by any of it. It was just Pep and his assistants embarrassing themselves.

    Maybe Zlatan was right about Pep.

    / this coming from a Barca fan.

    • quozzel says:

      I’m coming to the notion that Zlatan is, in his own self-serving, freewheeling, foot-in-mouth way, right about a good many things.

      What struck me about his book is how unfiltered and honest he was. For instance, in the section where he tells about the fight he had with Oguchi Onyewu, he never really blames Gooch for anything…basically he admits he tried to bully Gooch, Gooch wouldn’t back down, and that Zlatan then tried to take him out with an awful slide tackle – “the worst kind of tackle”, his own words – and Gooch slipped it, then shoved him from behind, and Zlatan, as was his wont, pretty much went ape. Nasty fight ensued, with bounteous overkill, which, again, Zlatan admits he lost

      He admits he’s an overbearing @sshole who screams at teammates and is very difficult to get along with.

      The section on Pep I found particularly intriguing – especially that Pep tends to freeze players out without explanation or without ever telling them what they did wrong. He claims Thierry Henry was another of the guys Pep marginalized – and indeed, when I was watching Pep talking to Henry after the game, Henry’s body language was very, very fascinating – he really doesn’t like Pep much…and Pep doesn’t seem to know this. Henry is also such an artist out there these days his game sort of reflects his state of mind, and he put in some of the nastiest, most physical, most calculated challenges I’ve ever seen Henry put in on those Bayern players. In some ways it’s a shame Henry is contemplating retirement, because at age 36 he’s sort of re-invented himself as the ultimate #10…he’s not really a striker anymore. He out-classed anyone on that field, in either uniform, by a country mile…honestly, he’s looking like a cross between Pirlo and Yaya Toure these days, just a different sort of animal. He just sees the game so incredibly well it moves in slow-motion for him now.

      • TheSoccerDude says:

        Henry could play attacking midfielder for 5 more years. That guy is so freaking good.

      • Ali Dia says:

        This is all very well observed, particularly the part about Henry’s body language … noticed that too

  8. NASL TO EL PASO TX says:

    Who was Taylor talking about? Is jozy coming back.
    The weird part is that nobody mentions ronaldinho, very fishy from mysterious.
    Where was garber, did he have the runs :)

  9. Ali Dia says:

    A win for MLS, and a beautifully sobering moment for the snobs. The result was about the 10th most enjoyable positive of this surprisingly entertaining event, which I switched on with all the enthusiasm of a vomit covered junkie finishing the bag because that’s what’s gonna happen anyway.

    I rememeber when All Star games back in the day, when a bleached haired Landon Donovan was one of several players to score 10+ goals while wearing a sports bra. Watching him come on for Thierry Henry (now a bona-fide MLS veteran) and score the winner against BM was probably the only thing that’s ever gotten me out of my chair during an All-Star Game in any sport, save perhaps the time Bo Jackson hit a ball into space on the AB of the 1989 MLB game.

    • solles says:

      whats that, a boreball reference? havent paid attention to those junkie spoiled rich kids since they thought they were bigger than the world series in 1993.

  10. mensrea says:

    I think we all thought the same word when Pep did that. What a….

  11. eastbaygrease says:

    Lost a lot of respect for Guardiola tonight. That was Mourinho-esque. Very classless of Mueller to reject Julian Green handing him a comemorative All Star jersey right in front of the camera. It was behavior very remenicent of Mathaus at Metro stars.

    • Increase0 says:

      At least Mueller walked around the field and waved to everybody. Most of the Bayern players looked like they weren’t sure what to do. They didn’t exactly follow Pep’s lead but it wasn’t all smiles.

    • Jack says:

      He was probably holding out for Henry’s

  12. Joe says:

    Mexico would call up Torres if they were smart

  13. Cylo says:

    I can’t believe Henry 36 years old. I think he would start at LW on the US team

    • Big Red says:

      Ha! Ha! Ha! You really think Klinsmann would have picked a guy who is a legend on his national team and much older and slower than he used to be. He’s so worried that he’ll get hurt that he only plays on grass and doesn’t practice everyday.

  14. Duke says:

    JK…. forget about no score Altadore… invest in Wright-Phillips. He can finish. Also, btw, how did your boy Brad Davis do? Oops…. guess we dont rate him as highly as you do… and did you see the winning goal? Scored by the guy you deemed not good enough anymore. And the MVP award? Not Bradley (who stunk), not Dempsey, not Yedlin (had good attacking night) …. nope none of those.

    I wish Henry was in the second wave, Wright-Phillips might have had more goals

  15. Adam M. says:

    Donovan’s comments were self-serving hyperbole. It was a meaningless game against a third-strength pre-season, barely off vacation team that didn’t care to be tackled. It was not a “real game” or a big moment for the league–it was a fun night with some quality finishes (including Donovan’s and especially BWP’s) and more confirmation that Henry remains the best player in the league. My takeaway for the game: I’d love for the MLS tide to to rise so MLS gets to a point where more than a few teams can boast the quality of the MLS starting XI for this game from 1 to 11. That was a real honest-to-goodness quality football side out there, one that could be competitive in a lot of much better leagues than MLS.

    • Quit Whining About Soccer in the US says:

      If you need the tide to rise so high that the average team in a parity league needs to be as good as BM…wow…those type of fans are the biggest negative associated with MLS getting better

  16. Tiny says:

    How did green play?

  17. Quit Whining About Soccer in the US says:

    Still no word on whether the players were hurt by those terrible tackles ?
    BM are a bunch of whining little….

    In all seriousness…although I was serious above too…quit inviting teams like this.
    Starting now. They think they are too good for this. Which is cute.
    And we are too good for it. Have BM tour China or somewhere where they can collect their money and be worshipped. Those days have past here…well not by everyone as evidenced by the crowd…but by the serious soccer fan.

    • Rowsdower says:

      I think that BM was most upset was when the A-team for BM came on in the closing minutes. These guys haven’t played at all since the world cup and flew in just to make an appearance. Schweinsteiger hurts his ankle on a silly challenge and goes straight to the locker room.

      • bryan says:

        yeah, it was a stupid tackle. no need for it and Pep said Bastian’s ankle is now injured. people at the stadium seem to say that Pep sent Bastian to the locker room despite Bastian apparently ready to go back in. so who knows?

  18. bryan says:

    awful tackles and especially the one by Johnson on Bastian. the dude JUST got to town, only played to appease the fans, was carrying a slight injury to begin with, and Johnson goes in on him like that in the 89th. it’s ridiculous, even if he knew it and apologized immediately. Bastian appeared like he could go back in though but Pep apparently would not let him. at that point he had already lost it.

    also, i’m pretty sure Bayern had 12 players on the field when all the German stars came in on that corner because Green just kind of quietly snuck off. his teammate was laughing on the bench while Green looked embarrassed. anyone who was there, can you confirm?

    all that said, come on Pep. get it together. at least it sounds like him and Caleb worked it out afterwards, but still.

    • Fahq says:

      Yes, I think they had 12 on the field for a couple minutes until Green came out. The German Nationals wouldn’t let the 4th official do the standard one at a time subs with the board and just ran onto the field. You think that ref would have at least counted men on and off!!

  19. Joamiq says:

    If Bayern was the better team in the first half, it wasn’t by much. The first half All-Stars played well and threatened. Henry and Dempsey looked like they were toying with Bayern. MLS was better last night, no doubt.