COMMERCE CITY, Colo. — The MLS All-Stars beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 on Wednesday night, with goals by Kaká (from the penalty spot) and David Villa being countered by a lone Harry Kane strike.
Kaka, who was chosen as captain for the MLS side, took home MVP honors for his 45-minute showing. He calmly dispatched a 20th-minute penalty after Nacer Chadli handled a corner kick, and he followed that up a few minutes later by assisting on Villa's redirect.
The win was MLS's second in a row against European opposition, and the second in a row by the same score after beating Bayern Munich in Portland 2-1 last summer.
Here are my three thoughts on the game:
Star power can always produce flashes of brilliance
Yes, Tottenham is still in preseason, and yes, the MLS All-Stars haven’t played much together, but that was still Clint Dempsey, Kaká and Villa combining pure 24-karat quality on a superb goal in the first half, the best moment of the game. And that was still Kane, the fearsome 22-year-old sniper, blasting a dynamite shot past (an excellent) Nick Rimando from outside the box on the break to bring Spurs back into it.
While the game wasn’t played at such a high level for the duration, the sellout crowd at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park will take home those moments from the evening. And there’s value in that.
As MLS All-Star Games go, this one won’t stand out much
With all due respect to Tottenham, if MLS is going to continue this All-Star format, you really do need to have an opponent like Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Manchester United or Real Madrid. And if you ask me, we’re now at a point where there’s enough star power and talent in MLS to switch to an East-vs.-West format. I’m not a big fan of All-Star Games in general, to be honest, but it is fun to see everyone together in a relaxed, fun setting in the days leading up to the game and during the match itself. And hey, unlike last year the coaches at least shook hands after the game!
A few other random thoughts
MLS commissioner Don Garber answered a FIFA scandal-related question from Fox Sports’ Alexi Lalas by saying that MLS and Soccer United Marketing are “100,000 percent” clean … Nick Rimando had another All-Star blinder in goal, stoning Kane from point-blank range and making several other impressive plays. Will always wonder what Rimando could have done in Europe, but he’s had a tremendous MLS career … It won’t end up in the box score, but Clint Dempsey made a solid player’s play to win the corner kick that led directly to the handball penalty for the first MLS goal … If you get a chance, please read SI’s oral history of MLS Year One. We put a lot of work into it, and we’re really happy with the result.