[MLS ALL-STAR GAME] There was no messing around from Roma. It came out to train Wednesday morning, and 45 minutes after it had defeated the MLS All-Stars, 3-1, to win the 2013 AT&T MLS All-Star Game, a dozen reserves were out on Kansas City's Sporting Park field taking shooting practice.
Playing the first game of its three-game North America
tour, the Italian club got an opening goal in the fourth minute, added a second two minutes into the second half and pulled ahead 3-0 after 68 minutes.
A goal by Omar Gonzalez on a header off a free kick made the final score more respectable than the All-Stars' only other regulation-time defeats, 4-0 and 5-2 to Manchester United.
Roma's new French coach, Rudi Garcia, was forced to make one change as Erik Lamela, rumored to be on Tottenham's
shopping list if Gareth Bale is sold to Real Madrid, was a late scratch after being injured in the morning practice.
But the lineup was otherwise
close to Roma's first-team lineup, and Garcia kept most of his starters in the game for the entire 90 minutes. Francesco Totti, the 36-year-old Roma, played 86
minutes, and American Michael Bradley went all the way.
Garcia said Bradley would be an important player for Roma in his second season with the
Giallorossi, who finished sixth in Serie A in 2012-13.
"Michael is a great ambassador for your country in Europe," said Garcia. "He will be a very important player, that's for sure."
The Roma coach was impressed with the all-star event that drew a record crowd of 21,175 at Sporting Park.
"The atmosphere was great," he said, "and the game felt like a real
competitive match against a strong team, so to win is important."
Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes played all 20 all-stars, though he took off one of
his three Sporting KC starters, Graham Zusi, as a precaution midway through the first half with a cramp in his leg.
Vermes used all five players
who had played in Sunday's Gold Cup for the USA, though only Matt Besler started.
Landon Donovan came on at
half and had the best chance for the All-Stars until Gonzalez's goal when his shot from close range was stopped by goalie Bogdan Lopont.
praised all that players like Donovan and All-Star captain Thierry Henry had done in promoting the league and event in the buildup to the game for which the
team had one practice. Rain on Monday had forced the team -- those players who had arrived -- to train in a hotel ballroom.
"We took the game seriously," said Besler. "There were a lot of
challenges. Roma played well. They are a very good team."
July 31 in Kansas City, Kan.
MLS All-Stars 1 Roma 3.
Goals: Gonzalez (Camilo) 90+1; Strootman (Florenzi, Pjanic) 4, Florenzi (Balzaretti) 47, Tallo (Strootman, Bradley) 68.
MLS All-Stars -- Fernandez
(Rimando 46), Beltran, Collin, Besler (Gonzalez 46), Ashe (Yedlin 66), Johnson (Magee 46), Beckerman (Bernier 46), Davis (Donovan 46), Zusi (Camilo 24), Di Vaio (Wondolowski 46), Henry (McInerney
Roma -- De Sanctis (Lobont 63), Benatia, Balzaretti, Torosidis, Castan, Pjanic (De Rossi 63), Bradley, Florenzi (Marquinho 63), Strootman, Totti
(Ricci 87), Tallo (Caprari 80).
MLS All-Star Results:
2013 Roma 3 MLS All-Stars 1
2012 MLS All-Stars 3 Chelsea 2
2011 Manchester United 4, MLS All-Stars 0
2010 Manchester United 5, MLS All-Stars 2
Everton 1, MLS All-Stars 1 (4-3 PKs)
2008 MLS All-Stars 3 West Ham United 2
2007 MLS All-Stars 2 Celtic 0
2006 MLS All-Stars 1 Chelsea 0
2005 MLS All-Stars 4 Fulham 1
MLS All-Stars 3 Chivas de Guadalajara 1