(East Los Angeles, CA) August 30, 2021 [From The Editor’s Desk]: The stage was set for an exciting night of world-class soccer as the historical day, hour and the event all managed to collide at the same time for the official start time of 6:30 PM |PT on Wednesday, August 25th. The “sell-out” crowd of 22,122 would truly enjoy a most memorable match between two equally talented teams that strongly competed and fought each other for a full 90 minutes (+2) in stoppage time.
Here’s our Pre-Match Walk-Up overview. The Exposition Park environment was filled with immediate joy and excitement for fans who arrived early and took part in the MLS’s skillfully and culturally planned festivities that surrounded the Stadium, as there was music, food, entertainment, free sponsor giveaways, crowd vendors selling the Mexican, U.S.A., MLS flags, banners, pennants, plus other game and team accessories. It was all happening at the same time. And, the weather was perfect for an August summer evening in the City of Angels, as the match loomed in everyone’s mind.
To view the video highlights of the Match, click here.
(Match/Game Notes): In the first half, LMX drew first blood with a tremendous goal scored by Jonathan Rodríguez that came at the 20th minute. After the score, there was a lot of “back & forth” struggling that took place as both squads were feeling each other out. Many play-phases lasted several minutes in the highly-watched and closely-guarded attack zones, giving fans from both sides, a long, and in-depth look at their favorite team in very good battle action.
Then, as if on cue, the crowd awoke, and the Banc of California Stadium began to rock and roll as chants from Mexico’s fan-base, present and accounted for, thank you very much, started to make themselves be heard. This happened towards the end of the first half and instantly provoked fans sitting in LAFC’s El Grupo’s 3252 famed seating section to start stirring things up for their squad as the one of the better phrased messages of the All-Star Game theme, “Representa Tu Liga,” awoke the MLS crowd to show some very strong emotion and energy in support of its team.
In the second half, at the 53rd minute, LAFC’s Jesús David Murillo was the “Man of the Match” for his team as he headed a goal taken on an excellent “corner” kick from teammate, Eduard Atuesta, just a few feet in front of the near-side of the netting, to tie the match at (1-1). That would end the scoring and set the stage for a game-winning decision to break the tie via penalty kicks, much to the great delight of the crowd. And so it was set.
But before we go to the penalty kick phase of the contest, it should be duly noted that both Managers, Bob Bradley, MLS and Juan Reynoso, LMX, did well to make all appropriate substitutions, giving each of the selectees ample opportunities to play in front of their deeply appreciative and proudly representative audiences.
(Penalty Kicks Summary): First up for LMX was #14 Rubens Sambueza who made his shot. Then it was #8 Damir Kreilech leading off for MLS, he would keep pace by making his kick. Back to LMX, and it was a failed attempt by #7 Rogelio Funes-Mori. Then MLS’s second kick was good by Dániel Sallói. Another failed attempt followed on goalie Matt Turner’s block of LMX’s #18 Erik Lira. MLS’s 3rd attempt by #20 Eduard Atuesta also failed. The 4th round proved to be negative once again for LMX when #26 Salvador Reyes had his kick also blocked by Turner. And then came an unbelievable miss by #17 Luis Carlos Almeida da Cunha aka Nani for the MLS. The final attempt by LMX was made by Luis Romo and the (2-2-) tie-breaker was left to the MLS’s 18 year-old rising star from FC Austin, #24 Ricardo Pepi. He delivered the ultimate prize-winning shot by hitting the left cross bar with accuracy and velocity as goalie, Nahuel Guzmán had no chance to block it. The final for the MLS record-book on PKs showed (3-2) in favor of the MLS All-Stars. And with that, it was a dramatic and perfect ending to a perfect evening and several days of beautiful and most entertaining Soccer/Fútbol here in our beloved, and sports-loving, City of the Angels.
To view the match highlights, click here.
(Half-Time Score): LMX 1 MLS 0
(Full-Time Score): MLS 1 LMX 1 (Penalty Kicks): MLS 3 LMX 2 MLS Wins Historic First MLS vs LMX All-Star Match.
(MVP): Matt Turner, MLS Goal Keeper, New England Revolution
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