MLS All-Stars rally past Bayern in second half
Seattle Times staff reporter
PORTLAND — This All-Star Game lived up to the name.
Bayern Munich glitters with some of biggest names in the sport, from Arjen Robben to Franck Ribery to Robert Lewandowski and more.
But a pair of Major League Soccer stars stole the show.
Thierry Henry exited perhaps his final All-Star Game to a rousing ovation minutes into the second half and Landon Donovan provided the winning tally midway through it, the old guard helping lead the way to MLS’s 2-1 victory over Bayern on Wednesday night at Providence Park.
“Those are guys that have been pioneers for this league, helped to bring prestige to this league and quality to this league,” Philadelphia’s Maurice Edu said.
Bayern is in the midst of its offseason, with many of its starters having just returned from well-earned vacations in the wake of the World Cup.
The All-Stars were given just a handful of practices together, after flying in from all over the country this past weekend.
“We’ve only been together for two days,” Seattle’s Clint Dempsey said. “It was the first time we were able to play together as a whole.”
In the absence of collective ties, moments of individual skill filled the vacuum.
Lewandowski established the running theme in the seventh minute and opened the scoring in the eighth, forcing a low save from Nick Rimando one trip down, then blasting a shot past him the next.
The All-Stars looked to some familiar faces to settle in. Dempsey teamed with fellow Sounders attacker Obafemi Martins up top. Michael Bradley and Graham Zusi funneled play out to fellow United States national team member and Seattle right back DeAndre Yedlin on the flank.
Henry, meanwhile, took matters into his own hands. He sat back and controlled the midfield, spraying passes from side to side.
“Everybody knows Thierry,” Martins said. “Even when he doesn’t run, he knows where to put the ball. He’s one of the best players in the world.”
Henry launched a curled shot from near the halfway line early on that was saved, and went inches high with a juggling volley near halftime.
New York Red Bulls teammate Bradley Wright-Phillips picked up the mantle after the break, evening the score with a sizzling volley just minutes into the second half. Donovan put MLS ahead for good in the 70th minute, holding off a defender and finishing into the low corner.
Bayern brought on the cavalry with 11 minutes remaining in normal time, with World Cup winners Bastian Schweinsteiger, Mario Götze and Thomas Muller pouring onto the pitch at once.
Challenges heated up – Sounders midfielder Osvaldo Alonso earned a yellow card in the 64th minute, Portland’s Will Johnson another in the 89th. Chances flowed from end to end.
Robben danced into the box, providing a vision of his World Cup theatrics, and Götze fired a free kick high just minutes from the final whistle.
It was a night of stars, from beginning to end.