The arrival of Lionel Messi has given MLS hope that it can become a top league, but Arsenal prove that the US League All-Stars can go 5-0.
MLS is entering an exciting new era with the addition of Lionel Messi but Wednesday was a tame affair against one of Europe’s best teams Newstimesuk.com provides all the latest international sports news.
With the arrival of Lionel Messi, Sergio Busquets and Jordi Alba in America, it’s hard not to dream of MLS becoming a top league.
The present reality is very difficult.
Wednesday’s All-Star game against Arsenal showed just how steep the gap is between the American competition and Europe’s elite, as the Gunners won 5-0 at Audi Field.
And while it was a celebratory week for a league entering an exciting new era, few of its All-Stars came out of the contest with their stock elevated.
While MLS’ attackers largely failed to find a cut, it was the league’s defenders who looked out of their depth.
Gabriel Jesus and Bucayo Saka celebrate the former’s opening goal of the match
Saka terrorized his opponents on the right and had a hand in the first two goals
Thousands of fans packed Audi Field for the match, although most of them were for Arsenal
Cincinnati’s Alvaro Barrial terrorized Bucayo Saka on the right, before being caught out while tracking the England star before he sent off Gabriel Jesus for a wonderfully chipped first goal.
MLS (4-3-3) Burkey 5 (Miller 34 6) (Petrovic 69 5), Hollingshead 5.5 (Gallagher 46, 5.5) Glesness 5 (Miazga 46, 5), Zimmerman 5 (Parker 46. 4.5), Barial 4 ( Tolkien 46, 6); Puig 5.5 (Gill 33, 5), Giacomakis (69, 5), Martinez 4.5 (A. Morris 34, 5), (J. Morris 69, 5), Mukhtar 5.5 (Almada 33, 5) (Choiniere 69, 5) ; Boanga 5.5 (Espinoza 33, 5) (Herrera 68, 5), Benteke 4.5 (Ferreira 33, 6) (Camara 69, 5), Acosta 5 (Zelarayan 46, 5)
Center back Walker Zimmerman – who acquitted himself fairly well against the Three Lions at the World Cup – was nutmeged by Saka in a game that keeper Roman Burki will also want to forget.
Bareilly’s half didn’t get any better from there, as he hacked down Saka for a yellow card in the 18th minute and five minutes later the winger was at his best again, eluding Leandro Trossard before supplying him for the second goal.
MLS finished the first half with four yellow cards, and in the first 45 the game was not very coherent in the final third.
Hany Mukhtar had a few wasteful passes, Christian Benteke had a particularly clumsy touch in front of goal in the 11th minute and Denis Boanga was mostly quiet apart from a few decent bursts of pace.
The trio were taken off during a 33rd-minute hydration break, as were Riqui Puig, Jose Martinez and Burki.
The changes were made by All-Star coach Wayne Rooney, of course in the spirit of giving others playing time in exhibition matches, although there were some complaints on the field.
The second half ended on a similar sour note for the hosts, with Arsenal awarded a penalty just seconds after the restart following a Tim Parker handball.
Jorginho had no qualms about making it three for this pre-season tune-up and putting Arsenal firmly in the driver’s seat.
Gabriel Martinelli then put Arsenal four ahead with a superb finish on the break, before Kai Havertz scored the fifth and final goal of the game.
Riqui Puig had a few nifty touches but ultimately failed to make much of an impact on the game
Jorginho converted a penalty two minutes into the second half after Tim Parker’s handball
MLS’ All-Stars, in the end, didn’t give its fans much to cheer about, though most of the spectators in attendance didn’t seem to mind.
The loudest cheer of the night came when Declan Rice was subbed on for his debut – such was the sea of red that took over the stadium.
In the end, it wasn’t a surprising result, but an arch-rival Rooney still couldn’t be happier.
He is early in his coaching career, but even the most seasoned managers would struggle to get results against this formidable Arsenal side.
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