Last night all eyes were on the Windy City to see Real Madrid take on MLS’ finest in the 2017 MLS All-Star game. The players put on quite the show in front of a sold out Soldier Field -- it was a night to remember for American soccer.
All-Stars Fall In Penalty Shootout
USMNT legend and Colorado Rapids goalkeeper Tim Howard came up huge for the All-Stars to keep a sharp Real Madrid side -- led by Toni Kroos and Isco -- from scoring in the first half. Madrid would tally 19 total shots in the first half and dominated ball possession in the All-Star’s half. The All-Stars, however, looked dangerous on the counter with the triad of Kaka, David Villa, and Giovinco leading lightning-quick breaks in the Real penalty area.
Scoreless at the break, both teams would begin making mass substitutions to let other players get in on the action. All-Star head coach Veljko Paunovic made ten subs al half; Zinedine Zidane would wait until around the hour mark to sub on crowd favorites Marcelo, Gareth Bale, Casemiro and Karim Benzema.
The teams played to a 1-1 scoreline at the end of 90 minutes. Up 1-0, Real Madrid thought they had it wrapped up until Orlando City’s Dom Dwyer equalized with a header in the 87th minute. The match would go to penalties, where Madrid would triumph 4-2 to cap off an entertaining night of soccer.
Dwyer Capitalizes On Opportunity
City’s recent marquee signing was selected to his second MLS All-Star team and contributed with a goal against Real Madrid. His finish came from a corner kick swung in by Diego Valeri which Dax McCarty headed against the woodwork; the ball bounced off the post and up into the air. Dwyer’s knack for being in the right place at the right time saw the striker rise up and head home a late equalizer.
Kaka Keeps Streak Going
Orlando City’s Brazilian playmaker has now played and started in all three MLS All-Star games since his first season with the Lions in 2015. This year, he came up against his old team and came close to getting an assist in the match when he set up David Villa inside the box for the All-Star’s best chance of the first half. Madrid ‘keeper Keylor Navas made an exceptional save to keep the score level.