Bragging rights still belong to Major League Soccer.
After defeating Mexico's Liga MX All-Stars in a thrilling penalty kick shootout in last year's contest, MLS' best players earned a 2-1 victory in the 2022 MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday at Allianz Field in St. Paul, Minnesota.
This was the second straight year the All-Star Game format was a showdown between the two leagues, and MLS is now 2-0 thanks to goals from Carlos Vela and Raúl Ruidíaz.
Major League Soccer @MLS
That man <a href="https://twitter.com/RaulRuidiazM?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@RaulRuidiazM</a> from the spot to make it 2-0. 🎯<a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Sounders?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Sounders</a> // <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/MLSAllStar?src=hash&ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#MLSAllStar</a> Game pres. by <a href="https://twitter.com/Target?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Target</a> <a href="https://t.co/dlG9nuCSyN">pic.twitter.com/dlG9nuCSyN</a>
The home side wasted little time setting the tone thanks to some brilliance from the LAFC teammates two minutes into the game.
Diego Palacios shook a defender with a beautiful fake and unleashed a perfectly placed cross to a waiting Vela, who buried the ensuing header in the back of the net. That it was Vela, the highest scoring Mexican player in MLS history, who scored against the Liga MX All-Stars made the goal all the more notable.
MLS Communications @MLS_PR
With his goal in the third minute, <a href="https://twitter.com/LAFC?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@LAFC</a>’s Carlos Vela (<a href="https://twitter.com/11carlosV?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@11carlosV</a>) scored the fastest goal for Major League Soccer against international competition in <a href="https://twitter.com/MLS?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@MLS</a> All-Star history. <a href="https://t.co/hozngIPmAo">pic.twitter.com/hozngIPmAo</a>
MLS maintained that advantage into the second half thanks in part to multiple saves from Minnesota United FC goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair, much to the home crowd's delight.
His diving save right before halftime stood out:
The second half was far more wide open with each side creating a number of chances.
While MLS had a goal taken off the board for an offside ruling, it got one back by drawing a foul inside the box. Ruidíaz of the Seattle Sounders scored what proved to be a key insurance goal with a no-doubter on the penalty kick.
Still, it was just a matter of time before the Liga MX All-Stars finally broke through given the pressure they applied throughout much of the second half. Kevin Álvarez drilled one past New York City FC goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who replaced St. Clair, to cut the deficit in half.
That was the end of the scoring, though, as MLS protected the lead to clinch a second straight victory in the current format.