Major League Soccer’s finest stunned Bayern Munich on Wednesday night as the All-Stars came from behind to win 2-1.
Robert Lewandowski had opened the scoring for the Bundesliga champions in the eighth minute, but landmark strikes from Bradley Wright-Phillips and Landon Donovan turned the match on its head. The former became the first Englishman to score for the MLS, while the latter moved ahead as the outright leader for goals in these clashes.
The 19th All-Star meeting met a sour end at Providence Park though, as visiting manager Pep Guardiola took issue with Caleb Porter and his players.
After a confident start from the hosts, with Seattle Sounders FC pair DeAndre Yedlin and Obafemi Martins showing their pace, the German side had the first opening. Lewandowski beautifully chipped the ball over a dazed Michael Parkhurst and struck an volley on target that was brilliantly blocked by Nick Rimando.
Within a minute though, the Pole had bettered himself. Shrugging off Aurelien Collin, the former Borussia Dortmund forward set himself from 25 yards before unleashing a blinding, swirling effort that flew into the roof of the net.
The scoreline could have been quickly doubled, but Claudio Pizarro failed to make a clean connection after Xherdan Shaqiri had skipped beyond Matt Besler. Again Bayern attacked, with Sebastian Rode nodding Pierre Hojbjerg’s centre wide.
However, MLS should have instantly equalised as two delightful Thierry Henry deliveries somehow evaded Martins and Graham Zusi. The Frenchman continued to look for the run of the Rave Green frontman to no avail, but he did find Clint Dempsey, whose thump was turned away by Tom Starke.
The Bavarians had been scrambling to clear their lines under extended pressure, but some lax defending at the other end allowed Hojbjerg to shoot, though he was denied by Rimando. The Real Salt Lake stopper was then called into action again by Shaqiri, producing a mind-boggling one-handed save to keep his team in the game.
Some equally breath-taking play from Henry was to follow, with the Arsenal legend controlling a clearance, juggling the ball, and arrowing just over the cross-bar.
Amid the mayhem, United States whizz-kid Julian Green had been introduced, and both he and Shaqiri demanded another pair of tremendous stops from Rimando that brought a superb first half to an end.
A raft of All-Star substitutions preceded the restart, and Wright-Phillips made an instant impact. Taking Erick Torres’ flick-on in his stride, the MLS top-scorer dug out a sensational finish across Starke into the far top corner. In a year in which three of the division’s leading five goal-getters hail from England, it was fitting that the London-born forward should find the net.
David Alaba was the next to go close, as Bill Hamid tipped his free-kick over, but a sumptuous Diego Valeri pass then allowed Donovan to have his say. In his 14th consecutive All-Star appearance, and facing his former club, the 31-year-old brought the ball down on his chest, and coolly nutmegged Manuel Neuer.
With the match entering its final 15 minutes, Hamid collected comfortably from Shaqiri, before Neuer did likewise from Torres’ header. The American then produced a sublime display of goalkeeping to repel Juan Bernat’s first-time attempt, as Bayern’s big guns entered the fray.
However, the leaders were still battling their guests, and traded blows with Dom Dwyer blasting into the side-netting and Thomas Muller thwarted by Hamid.
On the sidelines, meanwhile, Guardiola was growing irate with his team’s rough treatment, perhaps frustrated at their inability to capitalise on a number of set-pieces.
The Catalan continued to rant as referee Jair Marrufo concluded the tie, with his side slipping to a deserved defeat.