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MLS All-Star Game: Vela & Ruidiaz fire MLS to 2-1 victory over Liga MX

Goals from Carlos Vela and Raul Ruidiaz fired the MLS All-Stars to a 2-1 victory over the Liga MX All-Stars at Minnesota United’s Allianz Field stadium on Wednesday evening.

It’s the second year in a row that MLS has beaten Liga MX in the MLS All-Star Game having won 3-2 on penalties last year after a 1-1 draw through normal time.

MLS got things started early on Wednesday with Vela heading home a cross from LAFC teammate Diego Palacios just three minutes in. From there, Liga MX grew into the game and pushed for an equalizer, with their best chance of the first half coming in the 44th minute when Pumas striker Juan Dinenno headed into the bottom-left corner, only to be impressively denied by MNUFC goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair.

Seattle Sounders star Ruidiaz extended the lead to 2-0 in the 73rd minute, dispatching a penalty won by New England Revolution playmaker Carles Gil, who was brought down in the box after a dazzling dribble.

Pachuca right-back Kevin Alvarez pulled one back for Liga MX in the 85th minute, firing past NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson from distance. However, it was too little too late, with MLS holding on for a second successive victory over their Mexican counterparts.

“The most pleasing thing was the competitive nature of all the guys,” said Minnesota United head coach Adrian Heath, who took charge of the MLS team for the All-Star Game. “Everybody’s actually, I think, enjoyed being with each other in the group. So the atmosphere in the dressing room is terrific. The guys have been an absolute pleasure to be around for the last two or three days.”

In charge of the Liga MX side was Atlas manager Diego Cocca. He added: “We had a great game. Like I said to the boys, this is a great experience, and especially because we got to meet and to know each other.

“Rivalry is good. We can grow. If you have a strong rival, you can grow, you can get better. And both leagues can grow like this. And I think that the barometer is going to be the Concacaf Champions League. We came here and we lost, they can go there [to Mexico] and they can lose. For example, at Estadio Jalisco, the result could be different.”

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