WATCH: Real Madrid Edges MLS All-Stars on PKs After Dom Dwyer Equalizer
MLS's All-Star team took Real Madrid to penalty kicks on Wednesday night at Chicago's Soldier Field, but the stage belonged to the Champions League winner once they got there.
Real Madrid earned a 4-2 penalty-kick triumph over MLS after Dom Dwyer's late equalizer forced the extra session, clinching the MLS All-Star Game on Marcelo's spot kick.
Dwyer had MLS's opening kick saved by backup goalkeeper Luca Zidane–Zinedine's son–and Giovani Dos Santos followed by hitting the bar, zapping any drama out of the shootout. Real Madrid went 4-for-4, with the other makes belonging to Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale and Mateo Kovacic.
Portland's Diego Valeri and Atlanta's Miguel Almiron converted their spot kicks for MLS in defeat.
MLS's All-Stars are 7-4-2 (they also tied Everton, then lost on penalties with Tim Howard in goal for the Toffees in 2009) in the last 13 years the MLS vs. European foe format has been in place, with Real Madrid the first Spanish opponent for the league's superstars.
Here is how the two teams lined up to start the match:
MLS was forced into an early substitution, after Greg Garza was taken down by a hard Isco challenge, with the Atlanta United left back giving way for DaMarcus Beasley in the eighth minute. It emerged later that Garza suffered a separated shoulder, a significant blow for the expansion side, which is currently in playoff position.
Toni Kroos came up with the game's first chance for Real Madrid, but it was blocked by Chicago Fire defender Johan Kappelhof, who did use his arms to protect himself but was not penalized for the act in the 15th minute.
Isco and Lucas Vazquez tested MLS with chances from distance that both went just wide of Tim Howard's goal before Marco Asensio came even closer, stinging Howard's palms with a blast from the left channel in the 21st minute.
MLS appeared to get away with one in the 29th minute, when Beasley entered into a sliding challenge on 18-year-old right back Achraf Hakimi. Only a corner kick was given, though, with Beasley let off the hook.
MLS then delivered its best chance of the opening half, and it came through MVP contender David Villa. The NYCFC star was set up by former Real Madrid star Kaka, but Keylor Navas came up with a huge save to put it out for a corner in the 36th minute.
Kroos, Isco and Asensio kept peppering Howard with pressure and near-makes, but MLS staved off Real Madrid's advances and nearly took the lead at the halftime whistle. Sebastian Giovinco tried to catch Navas off his line and rifled a blast from 35 yards, only to miss by inches and send the match into the locker room scoreless.
Real Madrid got its deserved breakthrough just before the hour mark, as Borja Mayoral did the honors. His deflected, curling chance from just inside the box beat backup goalkeeper Stefan Frei, giving Real Madrid the lead.
Real Madrid then brought on the big guns for the final half hour, with the likes of Bale, Benzema and Marcelo entering for Zidane's side, looking to put the game away. With one of his first touches, Bale threatened Frei from long range, firing over the bar from long range.
MLS leading scorer Nemanja Nikolic, playing in front of his home fans, came close to netting an equalizer in the 70th minute, tricking many of the 61,428 in attendance by hitting the side netting as most thought he'd scored.
Real Madrid failed to put the match away, allowing MLS to claw its way back, and it did just that in the 86th minute. Valeri's corner kick was met by Dax McCarty, whose header pinged off the post. Dwyer was at the right place to head it home, though, beating backup goalkeeper Luca Zidane for the equalizer.
Match rules stipulated that the tied match go directly to penalty kicks, skipping extra time.
Here's MLS's roster, which was coached by Chicago Fire manager Veljko Paunovic:
GOALKEEPERS: Stefan Frei (Seattle Sounders FC), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids)
DEFENDERS: DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Greg Garza (Atlanta United), Hernán Grana (FC Dallas), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Johan Kappelhof (Chicago Fire), Michael Parkhurst (Atlanta United), Jelle Van Damme (LA Galaxy), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
MIDFIELDERS: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Miguel Almirón (Atlanta United), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Giovani dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Kaká (Orlando City SC), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact), Bastian Schweinsteiger (Chicago Fire), Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers)
FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Dom Dwyer (Sporting Kansas City), Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Nemanja Nikolić (Chicago Fire), David Villa (New York City FC)