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MLS Defeats LigaMX in Inaugural All-Stars Game

Updated: Aug 27, 2021



It was the first of what will likely be an ongoing tradition between Major League Soccer and LigaMX—an All-Stars matchup where two neighboring leagues pitted their top performers in an exhibition to delight thousands of fans.


Attendees were treated to a bevy of entertainment at the Banc of California Stadium on Wed., August 25, where they were greeted by a line of drummers, a military flyover, and of course the irresistible aroma of LA's beloved street dogs. Fans donning Cruz Azul jerseys giddily called out to their club heroes, while families proudly repping Mexico cheered alongside USMNT enthusiasts.




Both leagues boasted a deep roster of All-Stars, giving LigaMX coach Juan Reynoso and MLS manager Bob Bradley the curious task of rotating in players like Raul Ruidiaz and Rogelio Funes Mori. With the quick rotation, there was no shortage of high-energy play—LAFC's Diego Rossi nearly opened the score sheet with a fantastic chipper past Memo Ochoa, but it was saved by an acrobatic goal-line clearance from América defender Jorge Sanchez.


At 20 minutes, Cruz Azul striker and Balón de Oro winner Jonathan "Cabecita" Rodriguez took advantage of some slack defending from Seattle Sounders' Nouhou and Cristian Roldan, to finish off a volley and give LigaMX the lead. Both sides continued to battle it out with nearly identical amounts of possession and shots on goal (15-13 shots MLS to LigaMX, 48%-52% possession). Come second half, LAFC's Colombian connection came through, as defender Jesus Murillo headed in a corner kick from Eduard Atuesta.



Despite a few more close attempts at goal, the match ended in a 1-1 draw, and moved onto an exciting round of penalties. USMNT breakout keeper Matt Turner blocked two PKs, and 18-year-old Ricardo Pepi of FC Dallas secured an MLS victory with a rocket past Tigres' keeper Nahuel Guzman.




The result caps off a historic treble of wins for the U.S. over their Mexican counterparts, with the national team having beat El Tri in both the CONCACAF Nations League and Gold Cup earlier this year. Tellingly, Fox Sports also reported at half time that Pepi would choose the U.S. over Mexico for the World Cup Qualifiers.



The All-Stars match followed a day of an All-Star Skill Challenge, where LigaMX edged out their northern neighbors in the crossbar contest. The week's events highlighted the burgeoning talent and fanbase from both sides of the border (and beyond), no doubt laying the groundwork for future collaborations between the two leagues.


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