Donovan Gives MLS Win Over Bayern Munich
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) – Landon Donovan celebrated the winning goal in his 14th All-Star game by grasping the MLS badge on his jersey before he was swarmed by his teammates.
Take that, Bayern Munich.
Donovan dribbled the ball at the top of the box before blasting it past German World Cup goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in the 70th minute, giving the MLS All-Stars a 2-1 victory over the Bundesliga champions on Wednesday night.
“I’m proud to be a part of this league,” Donovan said. “For many years, those of us that were in this league were sort of looked down upon for staying here and playing here.
“This was a big moment for our league. And we understand the game doesn’t count for anything. We know Bayern are in their preseason and their best players didn’t play. But they were still competitive and those guys wanted to win just like we did.”
Bayern’s roster included seven members of the World Cup-winning German national team, but most of them remained on the bench until about the final 10 minutes.
Following the match, Bayern coach Pep Guardiola wouldn’t shake All-Star coach Caleb Porter’s hand. There was speculation that Guardiola was upset about the aggressive play in what was a preseason exhibition for his team, but he refused to talk about it.
Bayern’s manager said he didn’t see Porter.
“We certainly didn’t mean anything negative,” Porter said. “Our players have nothing but the utmost respect for Bayern.”
While the moment was unfortunate, it didn’t dull the celebration in the All-Star locker room. Loud music played and Portland All-Star Diego Valeri collected autographs from his teammates.
The MLS team also included several players from the U.S. World Cup squad that advanced out of the group stage in Brazil, including Seattle’s Clint Dempsey and Toronto’s Michael Bradley.
Donovan, the L.A. Galaxy striker who was left off the U.S. World Cup team, got a standing ovation from the crowd when he was subbed out following his goal. It was his sixth All-Star goal.
Bradley Wright-Philips of the New York Red Bulls tied it for the All-Stars early in the second half. Robert Lewandowski opened the scoring for Bayern early in the first half.
The event caps a preseason tour for Bayern Munich, which hadn’t visited the United States in a decade. The team beat Chivas Guadalajara 1-0 last Thursday night at Red Bull Arena in New Jersey.
The group of Bayern players from Germany’s World Cup-winning team flew into Portland on Wednesday morning, and whisked to a meet-and-greet at adidas’ North American headquarters before the match.
Mario Goetze, who scored the extra-time winner in the final match against Argentina in Brazil, was among the national team players making the overnight stop in Portland.
“It feels like we’re only going to be here for 12 hours so we’re kind of in and out, but it’s exciting,” Goetze said.
Guardiola said beforehand that he was only playing his World Cup players for some 15 minutes apiece, and he was true to his word. None of them started on Wednesday night.
Bayern midfielder Julian Green, who played for the United States in the World Cup, was also listed as a reserve but he was the first Bayern sub to enter the game in the 36th minute. Fans at Providence Park chanted “USA! USA!”
Green was born in Florida but grew up in Germany and has dual citizenship. Just 19, he scored against Belgium in the World Cup, becoming the youngest American with a goal in soccer’s premier event.
Real Salt Lake goalkeeper Nick Rimando leaped with his arms outstretched but couldn’t stop Lewandowski’s goal for Bayern in the opening minutes. Lewandowski joined Bayern on a free transfer from league rival Borussia Dortmund last month.
New York’s Thierry Henry had a good chance to score for the All-Stars in the 41st minute, but his long shot sailed just over the crossbar before getting caught in the net.
When Henry, who started the second half, was subbed out for Donovan, he too received a standing ovation.
Asked if that might be his All-Star goodbye, Henry was vague: “Maybe, maybe not. I haven’t decided.”
Wright-Phillips, the league’s top scorer with 18 goals this season for the Red Bulls, skipped across the turf after his goal against goalkeeper Tom Starke in the 51st minute. Following Wright-Phillips’ goal, Bayern sent in Neuer to finish out the match.
Bayer midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger went down late in the second half with what appeared to be an ankle injury, although he was still recovering from getting beat up during World Cup play.
“We tried to play, and congratulations to the MLS. I hope they invite us next year so we can try to make the revenge,” Guardiola cryptically said. “I will prepare a little bit better and we will be sure of what is going on and we will prepare much better. We will do it; I hope our invitation is coming.”
The MLS is 8-3-1 against international opponents since the league adopted the current All-Star game format, with losses coming to English Premier League club Manchester United and AS Roma. Everton won on penalty kicks after a 1-1 tie in 2009.
Roma, led by longtime star Francesco Totti, beat the MLS All-Stars 3-1 in the All-Star game last year in Kansas City. The Galaxy’s Gonzalez scored the only goal for the MLS side in second-half stoppage time.
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