Real Madrid proved why they are called European Champions. After defeating MLS All-Stars 4-2 on penalties in Chicago, the Zidane’s squad wrapped up their preseason tour of the United States.
After finishing 1-1 in regulation in front of crazy football fanatics at Soldier Field in Chicago, the European champions won 4-2 on penalties. Though Dom Dwyer provided some late dramatics, Real Madrid kept the cooler heads in penalty kicks and clinched the game.
Los Blancos made all four of their penalty kicks, but the decisive kick was delivered by Marcelo, a starter who came on in the second half and sent his spot kick low right and past diving goalkeeper Stefan Frei. With Marcelo netting the decisive tally, Dwyer saw his opening attempt saved and Giovani dos Santos smashed his kick off the crossbar.
Madrid made all four of its tries in the penalty round. They came within minutes of winning in regulation thanks to All-Star MVP Borja Mayoral’s 59th-minute goal, but Dwyer found himself in the right place at the right time in the 87th minute to put in the rebound after Dax McCarty hit the post with a free header from a corner kick.
Real dominated the game from the very beginning throughout a scoreless first half of the encounter and had 19 shots to show for it through 45 minutes. Though only two of those efforts tested All-Star starting ‘keeper Tim Howard, a number of other attempts – largely orchestrated by Madrid midfielder Isco – whistled just wide of Howard’s goalposts.
For All-Stars their best chance came in the 36th minute as Kaká beat his defender on the left side before finding David Villa free at the near post, but his turn and a shot was expertly denied by an onrushing Keylor Navas.
Countering Madrid’s attacks, Sebastian Giovinco put an ambitious effort from 35 yards just inches wide of Navas’ goal to close out the first period.
After making two first-half substitutions – one forced by a shoulder injury to Greg Garza – All-Star head coach Veljko Paunovic made 10 substitutions at halftime, leaving only first-half sub Ignacio Piatti on the field, while Real Madrid manager Zinedine Zidane made his first three changes of the game. A host of changes just past the hour mark then saw Zidane bring on some of the biggest names at his disposal, including Karim Benzema, Marcelo, Gareth Bale and Casemiro.
Real Madrid continued to boss most of the possession in the second half but were largely unable to find the crucial final ball outside of Mayoral’s goal and Bale’s effort off the woodwork, giving the All-Stars the chance to equalize and make Real sweat it out in penalties.
- 59’ – RM – Borja Mayoral
- 87′ – MLS – Dom Dwyer