MLS defeated Liga MX within the All-Star sport after the decisive kick from Ricardo Pepi
Ricardo Pepi made the decisive kick when Major League Soccer defeated Liga MX on penalties and won the historic first combined All-Star game between the two leagues in Los Angeles on Wednesday night.
After Eduard Atuesta of LAFC and Nani of Orlando City missed their penalty chances, Pepi – the 18-year-old local FC Dallas striker – competed for the winner.
“I was confident,” said Pepi. “I felt like everything was ready to win the game.”
New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner, who scored two saves on penalties, has been named the game’s MVP. Turner will undoubtedly be added to the U.S. national team list for qualifying for the 2022 World Cup, which begins September 2 in El Salvador, but it remains to be seen whether recent performances in the MLS, the Concacaf Gold Cup and now the MLS Liga MX All-Star game makes him consider starting in goal for Gregg Berhalter’s squad.
Jonathan Rodríguez (who plays for Cruz Azul) gave the Liga MX All-Stars an early lead with an early 20th-minute goal.
The MLS All-Stars responded early in the second half when LAFC teammates Atuesta and Jesús David Murillo in 53rd Murillo headed Atuesta’s corner kick to equalize just outside the famous 3,252 fans section at the Banc of California Stadium.
The game was marred by a game stop after just 10 minutes as fans used a homophobic chant, with players gathering in midfield as the stadium announcer warned fans in attendance.
The combined all-star game (and Tuesday night’s skill challenge) is the latest step in the growing connection between MLS and Liga MX. The All-Star Game marks the third tentpole event for the two leagues and joins the Leagues Cup – which opened last week – and the Campeones Cup – the one between MLS Cup winners Columbus Crew 2020 and Cruz Azul , the winners of., the Campeón de Campeones 2021 will be held on September 29th at Lower.com Field.