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The 2021 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target saw the MLS All-Stars face off against the LIGA MX All-Stars on Wednesday, August 25, at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. For the first time ever, two rival leagues went head-to-head in an unprecedented matchup that was the showpiece event of the summer, as the entire soccer community united to celebrate the sport and soccer culture in North America.

Bob Bradley, the three-time MLS Coach of the Year with host club Los Angeles Football Club, coached the MLS All-Stars. In 2019, Bradley led LAFC to the Supporters’ Shield as the club set a new MLS regular season points record.

With the city of Los Angeles as the perfect backdrop, MLS All-Star week came to life with both Leagues leaving a lasting legacy through fan engagement opportunities and charitable initiatives that fostered more inclusive and equitable communities including providing access to soccer in underserved communities through the MLS WORKS Community Day presented by Target and MLS WORKS Day of Service presented by Wells Fargo, spotlighting the style of soccer during the MLS All-Star Skills Challenge presented by AT&T 5G, and celebrating the intersection of soccer and music at the MLS All-Star Concert presented by Heineken®.

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It took penalties to settle, but in the first of a new era for the MLS All-Stars facing off against the Liga MX All-Stars, it was FC Dallas rising star Ricardo Pepi stepping up to take and score the final spot kick to win the 2021 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target.

New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner was the hero in the end, making two saves in the five Liga MX All-Star penalties he saw, with another flying off-target. Orlando City superstar Nani had the chance to win it from the spot but miscued his effort into the stands before Pepi took the final shot, which found the back of the net after clipping the crossbar.

Real Salt Lake's Damir Kreilach and Sporting KC's Daniel Salloi also scored during the penalty shootout, while LAFC's Eduard Atuesta saw his effort saved.

It was an eventful and intense 90 minutes plus the shootout, with a sold-out Banc of America Stadium in full voice as the rival leagues put on a spectacle in the city of stars.

Liga MX All-Stars took the lead in the 20th minute through Cruz Azul forward Jonathan Rodriguez. Rodriguez was on the receiving end of an inch-perfect cross from right back Jorge Sanchez, taking an exquisite first touch off his chest before half-volleying a shot into the bottom corner.

Jesus Murillo equalized for the MLS All-Stars in the 53rd minute, as the LAFC center back scored at his home stadium in front of the 3252 Supporters' Section packed with hometown fans. Murillo's towering header gave Pumas goalkeeper Alfredo Talavera no chance at the near post.

Pepi was lively after coming on in the second half and had multiple attempts at goal searching for the game-winner but couldn't find a way to get on the scoresheet until he had the crowning moment in the shootout.

The first on-field fireworks of the evening came in the ninth minute as Sanchez made an acrobatic overhead goal-line clearance to save a certain goal for MLS. LAFC's Diego Rossi got clean-through on goal, chipped Memo Ochoa only for the Club America defender to come flying in to deny.

All six Seattle Sounders All-Star selections started the match together, including Alex and Cristian Roldan, making history as the first brothers in MLS All-Star history to play alongside one another. The first subs came in the 27th minute. The MLS All-Stars used 27 players, Liga MX All-Stars 26.

Goals

  • 20' — LMX — Jonathan Rodriguez
  • 53' — MLS — Jesus Murillo

Three Things

  • THE BIG PICTURE: It was a historic evening around these parts, the first iteration of the MLS All-Star Game facing the Liga MX All-Stars. The on-field product was a success, with the players going full tilt and putting on a show for the raucous crowd on a warm Los Angeles summer night. Beyond the final score or the micro to come from the match itself, that'll be the legacy.
  • MOMENT OF THE MATCH: It had to be the winning penalty, right? And it had to be Pepi, the man of the moment as both the United States and Mexico national teams hope to call up the dual-national for World Cup Qualifying. The starboy stepped up and took the responsibility in his stride.
  • MVP PRESENTED BY TARGET: While Jorge Sanchez came up two huge moments to define the first half, Matt Turner was the hero in the penalty shootout. He denied Rogelio Funes Mori and Salvador Reyes from 12 yards.

2021 MLS All-Star Roster

FIVE PLAYERS UNAVAILABLE: Updates to the roster have been made as LAFC forward Carlos Vela, Galaxy forward Javier “Chicharito” Hernandez, New England midfielder Carles Gil, New England forward Tajon Buchanan, and Minnesota midfielder Emanuel Reynoso are unavailable for the week of events.

Atlanta United left back George Bello, Inter Miami CF midfielder Rodolfo Pizarro, and Galaxy midfielder Sebastian Lletget have been added to the roster to replace them.

Forwards

Gustavo Bou - New England Revolution - #7

Cade Cowell - San Jose Earthquakes - #44

Nani - Orlando City - #17

Ricardo Pepi - FC Dallas - #24

Diego Rossi - LAFC - #21

Raúl Ruidiaz - Seattle Sounders - #9

Dániel Sallói - Sporting KC - #19

Midfielders

Eduard Atuesta - LAFC - #20

Damir Kreilach - Real Salt Lake - #8

Sebastian Lletget - Galaxy - #18

João Paulo - Seattle Sounders - #6

Rodolfo Pizarro - Inter Miami - #15

Cristian Roldan - Seattle Sounders - #23 - Captain

Lucas Zelarayán - Columbus Crew - #11

Defenders

Julian Araujo - Galaxy - #2

George Bello - Atlanta United - #3

Jesús Murillo - LAFC - #94

Nouhou - Seattle Sounders - #5

Miles Robinson - Atlanta United - #12

Alex Roldan - Seattle Sounders - #13

James Sands - NYCFC - #16

Kai Wagner - Philadelphia Union - #27

Yeimar - Seattle Sounders - #28

Walker Zimmerman - Nashville SC - #25

Goalkeepers

Pedro Gallese - Orlando City - #1

Matt Turner - New England Revolution - #30

Andre Blake - Philadelphia Union - #26

There would be no buzzer-beating crossbar magic for MLS this time around.

In the second iteration of the MLS All-Star Skills Challenge presented by AT&T 5G, the Liga MX All-Stars were the ones celebrating after the crossbar shook with a 40-yard ping to take the competition 26-25.

Scoring was broken down into five categories, culminating with the popular Crossbar Challenge presented by Gillette. MLS initially held a late lead, but Liga MX rallied and Cruz Azul forward Jonathan Rodriguez hit the winning shot.

MLS won the Shooting Challenge presented by AT&T 5G and Cross & Volley Challenge presented by AT&T 5G, while Liga MX took the Passing Challenge presented by Crest and Touch Challenge presented by Old Spice before winning it at the end in the crossbar showdown.

There were plenty of great moments at Banc of California Stadium on Tuesday night.

Get The Stretcher!

In the Cross & Volley Challenge presented by AT&T 5G, things got weird. Things got Concacaf-y.

Rogelio Funes Mori put on an absolute spectacle, but MLS clawed back through Raul Ruidiaz and then rising star Ricardo Pepi. Pepi started on fire and was about to give MLS the lead… and then there was an “injury."

Perhaps playing to the spectacle, Tigres UANL goalkeeper Nahuel Guzman laid down on the line stretching his leg, intimating a cramp. Andre Blake wasn’t buying it and flashed a red card.

Pepi kept his composure, waited out the delay and still won the round for MLS.

“I just hope he’s okay,” Alexi Lalas joked a few minutes later on FS1's broadcast. Nahuel admitted in a virtual postgame press conference that he was indeed faking in order to stop the clock.

All good fun.

Crossbar Is King... Again

At the 2019 All-Star Game in Orlando, hometown hero Nani dramatically won the event by hitting a long-distance, buzzer-beating crossbar shot. It helped spark tweaks to the events, making the crossbar challenge its own event rather than part of the passing challenge.

All eight players from each side took part, including the goalies, as anticipation and excitement grew in Los Angeles as the teams neared 25 points and were looking for the winning shot from near the midfield circle.

Liga MX, whose All-Stars came onto the field prior to the final event starting, all celebrated together after Rodriguez shook the goal to win.

Zelarayan, Funes Mori, & Pepi Impress

The attacking quality of the top-end stars captured the imagination.

Funes Mori, the superstar CF Monterrey forward who made his debut for Mexico's national team this summer, made the shooting competitions look far easier than imagined. Particularly in the Cross & Volley Challenge presented by AT&T 5G, he banged in full volley after full volley to either corner as USMNT and New England Revolution goalkeeper Matt Turner did his best to try and limit the points Funes Mori put on the board.

Lucas Zelarayan helped lead MLS to victory in the shooting event, proving lethal from the penalty spot and pinging the targets in goal. He also excelled in the Touch Challenge presented by Old Spice, though Liga MX ultimately won out there.

Pepi, easily the youngest player participating in the event, nearly matched Funes Mori in the Cross & Volley Challenge presented by AT&T 5G and sparked Nahuel's fake injury. He, too, was smashing full volley after full volley into the back of the net.

Zelarayan and Pepi did struggle in the passing challenge, though, an event Liga MX took easily.

Photos | 2021 MLS All-Star Skills Challenge
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2021 MLS ALL-STAR JERSEY

The MLS All-Star Game jersey celebrates Los Angeles as one of the premier sports cities in the U.S. and magnifies the culture of soccer and impact of the city on the global game.

The black 2021 MLS All-Star Authentic player jersey features unique reflective trims to shine on a backdrop of black and gold and the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. Inspired by Art Deco architecture in Los Angeles, the jersey is designed from adidas Aeroready performance fabric made up of stars and maple leafs that represent the U.S. and Canadian clubs of MLS. The right sleeve has the LA21 All-Star Game patch and the back-neck features LA staples and inspired icons of stars, ocean waves and freeways as well as the No. 25 to signify the 25th MLS All-Star Game.

HISTORY OF MLS ALL-STAR GAMES

2019: MLS All-Stars 0-3 Atlético Madrid

2018: MLS All-Stars 1-1 (3-5 P) Juventus

2017: MLS All-Stars 1-1 (2-4 P) Real Madrid

2016: MLS All-Stars 1-2 Arsenal

2015: MLS All-Stars 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur

2014: MLS All-Stars 2-1 Bayern Munich

2013: MLS All-Stars 1-3 AS Roma

2012: MLS All-Stars 3-2 Chelsea

2011: MLS All-Stars 0-4 Manchester United

2010: MLS All-Stars 2-5 Manchester United

2009: MLS All-Stars 1-1 (3-4 P) Everton

2008: MLS All-Stars 3-2 West Ham United

2007: MLS All-Stars 2-0 Celtic

2006: MLS All-Stars 1-0 Chelsea

2005: MLS All-Stars 4-1 Fulham

2004: MLS East 3-2 MLS West

2003: MLS All-Stars 3-1 C.D. Guadalajara

2002: MLS All-Stars 3-2 United States

2001: MLS East 6-6 MLS West

2000: MLS East 9-4 MLS West

1999: MLS East 4-6 MLS West

1998: MLS USA 6-1 MLS World

1997: MLS East 5-4 MLS West

1996: MLS East 3-2 MLS West