AS Roma spoils Major League Soccer's party with 3-1 rout of All-Stars at Sporting Park

  • Article by: DAVE SKRETTA , AP Sports Writer
  • Updated: July 31, 2013 - 11:25 PM

KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A raucous crowd packed into one of Major League Soccer's glitzy new stadiums to watch a team comprised of its best players on a picturesque late-summer night.

All that was missing was the outcome fans desired.

Italian powerhouse AS Roma, led by longtime star Francesco Totti, scored 4 minutes into the game Wednesday night, then added two second-half goals to rout a team of MLS All-Stars 3-1 and dampen what had been a festive celebration of soccer in Kansas City.

Kevin Strootman and Alessandro Florenzi each had a goal and an assist, and Junior Tallo also scored for Roma, the three-time Serie A champions. Omar Gonzalez of the Los Angeles Galaxy scored the only goal for the MLS side in second-half stoppage time.

"Every time you step inside the white lines you want to win, but I don't think the result was the focus," said MLS coach Peter Vermes. "When you look at the overall picture of what transpired the last few days, it was a great opportunity."

The MLS had been 7-2-1 against international opponents since the league adopted the current All-Star game format, the only losses coming to English Premier League club Manchester United.

Maybe it'll think twice about inviting Italy's top teams.

"You give these guys a half-second or a half-step and you're not all together after one training session, it's tough," MLS defender Matt Besler said. "These guys are world class."

Most of a sellout crowd had barely found its seats at Sporting Park, the $200 million home of Sporting KC, when Florenzi sent a pass ahead to Strootman. Sporting KC defender Aurelien Collin recovered to get his foot on the ball, but Strootman still managed to guide it into the net.

"Roma is a very, very good team," Collin said. "I think we could have done better. When it's an exhibition game, maybe some don't take it seriously. Me? I took it seriously."

The early goal took much of the zip out of the home crowd, which had been feverishly waving flags and pounding drums during its second All-Star game in two years. Major League Baseball staged its Midsummer Classic just across the state line at the Royals' Kauffman Stadium last July.

The two second-half goals by Roma only served to seal a joyless night for the MLS during an otherwise positive period of growth and progress.

Stadiums are in the works for D.C. United and San Jose, and an expansion club will start play in New York in 2015. The Columbus Crew were sold to ambitious new owners earlier this week, and Commissioner Don Garber announced at halftime Wednesday night that four expansion franchises will begin play by the 2020 season, bringing the total number of teams in the league to 24.

There's perhaps no better example of how far the league has come than Kansas City, which once played its games before a few thousand fans in cavernous Arrowhead Stadium.

The team was sold to local owners in 2006, and they embarked on a dramatic rebranding of the franchise formerly known as the Wizards. They spearheaded the construction of one of the most glamorous soccer-specific stadiums in the country, built a feverish fan base and became one of the most successful teams on the field — the club has won two straight Eastern Conference titles.

It was little surprise that Kansas City was awarded this year's All-Star game, and even less of a surprise that there was plenty of hometown flavor throughout the night.

Not only was the MLS side led by Sporting KC's Vermes, the coach also included three of his own in the starting lineup. Collin was joined by forward Graham Zusi and fellow defender Besler, who helped the U.S. national team win the CONCACAF Gold Cup over the weekend.

The club also paid homage to its roots by introducing Tony Meola and Preki, longtime staples of the Wizards, as they presented the trophy prior to the game.

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Team Irvin 7:15 PM
Team Carter
Miami 16 1st Qtr 4:48
Chicago 11
Oklahoma City 2:30 PM
Cleveland
Dallas 5:00 PM
New Orleans
Indiana 5:00 PM
Orlando
LA Clippers 5:00 PM
Phoenix
Minnesota 5:00 PM
Atlanta
Detroit 6:00 PM
Toronto
Milwaukee 6:00 PM
San Antonio
Boston 7:00 PM
Golden State
Washington 7:00 PM
Denver
Houston 8:30 PM
LA Lakers
Team Toews 4:00 PM
Team Foligno
South Florida 24 2nd Half 18:15
Connecticut 32
Boston College 2 1st Half 15:20
Georgia Tech 2
Virginia 9 1st Half 15:56
Virginia Tech 2
Indiana 12:30 PM
Ohio State
Stony Brook 1:00 PM
Binghamton
Cincinnati 1:00 PM
UCF
Maine 1:00 PM
Hartford
Monmouth 1:00 PM
Manhattan
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Marist
Rowan 1:00 PM
Princeton
St Bonaventure 1:00 PM
Rhode Island
Duke 1:00 PM
St Johns
Saint Peters 1:00 PM
Siena
Drake 1:00 PM
Wichita State
Vermont 1:00 PM
UMass Lowell
Seton Hall 2:00 PM
Butler
NJIT 2:05 PM
South Alabama
Northern Iowa 3:00 PM
Illinois State
Louisville 3:00 PM
Pittsburgh
UMBC 3:30 PM
Albany
Niagara 3:30 PM
Iona
Notre Dame 5:30 PM
NC State
Belmont 5:30 PM
Tennessee St
Creighton 6:00 PM
Villanova
Northwestern 6:30 PM
Maryland
Washington 7:30 PM
Utah
Senior-North 34 FINAL
Senior-South 13
Seton Hall 48 2nd Half 12:17
Georgetown 56
St Johns 48 2nd Half 11:22
Villanova 60
Arkansas 27 2nd Half 17:08
Florida 41
Maine 10 1st Half 17:33
UMBC 2
Vanderbilt 6 1st Half 15:27
Alabama 0
Lafayette 8 1st Half 15:21
Lehigh 8
UCF 1:00 PM
SMU
Utah 1:00 PM
Washington
James Madison 1:00 PM
Coll of Charleston
Delaware 1:00 PM
Drexel
Hofstra 1:00 PM
William & Mary
Hartford 1:00 PM
Albany
Binghamton 1:00 PM
Stony Brook
Towson 1:00 PM
UNC-Wilmington
Wake Forest 1:00 PM
(17) Florida State
Georgia Tech 1:00 PM
Virginia
(22) Georgia 1:00 PM
(5) Tennessee
Drake 1:00 PM
Evansville
Iona 1:00 PM
Canisius
Fairfield 1:00 PM
Monmouth
Northwestern 1:00 PM
Penn State
Wisconsin 1:00 PM
Michigan State
Ohio State 1:00 PM
Purdue
Northern Iowa 1:05 PM
Indiana State
Butler 1:30 PM
Xavier
Creighton 2:00 PM
Marquette
Providence 2:00 PM
DePaul
Northeastern 2:00 PM
Elon
(2) Connecticut 2:00 PM
Cincinnati
Oregon 2:00 PM
Arizona
Bradley 2:00 PM
Loyola-Chicago
NC State 2:00 PM
(23) Syracuse
(7) Maryland 2:00 PM
Indiana
Illinois State 2:05 PM
Missouri State
Colorado 3:00 PM
Washington St
Tulane 3:00 PM
South Florida
(14) Kentucky 3:00 PM
Missouri
(9) Oregon State 3:00 PM
(13) Arizona State
Vermont 3:30 PM
UMass Lowell
Iowa State 3:30 PM
(8) Texas
Southern Ill 3:45 PM
Wichita State
(15) Duke 4:00 PM
(12) North Carolina
Miami-Florida 4:00 PM
(4) Louisville
(21) Minnesota 4:15 PM
(25) Rutgers
California 5:00 PM
UCLA
(11) Stanford 7:00 PM
USC

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