Roma Routs Best Of MLS In All-Star Game

By: DAVE SKRETTA, AP Sports Writer
By: DAVE SKRETTA, AP Sports Writer

KANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) _ Italian powerhouse AS Roma scored in the opening minutes, then added two second-half goals to finish off a 3-1 rout of the best players in Major League Soccer on Wednesday night.

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.

The MLS was 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.

Strootman scored in the fourth minute, before most of a raucous crowd had even found seats at Sporting Park.

QUOTES:

2013 AT&T MLS ALL-STAR GAME POST-GAME QUOTES

MLS ALL-STAR HEAD COACH PETER VERMES

On the match

“The first thing I’d say is that I really appreciate the fact that AS Roma was willing to come in and play us for this match. It’s always important for us to make sure we have high-class opponents that come in to these games and they were obviously great tonight. It was a great match. It was great for the fans to see.”

“I really appreciate the fact that all of the players that came and represented their MLS clubs, they did a great job, on and off the field. Their effort on the field was great. Unfortunately the result went the other team’s way. It’s hard to bring a group of guys together with a day of training. I’m glad MLS gave us the opportunity to put on this event in this place because it was a great night.”

On his takeaways from the match

“The result wasn’t necessarily the key focus for these last few days. It was really about a vision that now becomes reality. Our ownership group made a commitment as owners to come into this league and take a franchise that unfortunately was underperforming in so many different ways. And they have been able to follow through on every single commitment or goal they set out for this organization. When you look at the overall picture of what transpired here over the past few days, it was definitely a first-class experience and event.”

On if he would change the MLS All-Star Game format

“That’s a decision that takes place much higher than my level. I don’t think it’s a bad thing, by any means. It’s a great environment and great game. If all we are looking to do is to win a game, then you can easily set something up. These are real games with real teams that come in here to play and sometimes the results don’t go your way. But at the end, it’s more than just the winning of the game. It’s about the experience for everyone who participates in it.”

On the impact of Landon Donovan and Chris Wondolowski in the second half

“I thought those guys both did well. Landon is a world-class player. I know he gets criticized, here and there, but he is a world-class player. He does so many things on the field that people don’t realize that gets taken for granted. With regard to Wondo, we had to play him out of position a little bit; he likes to be closer to goal and we were playing him wide at times. But again, all of the guys did a hell of a job.”

On what impressed him about Roma

“They were very organized, in both aspects of the game. They are organized in defending but when they go forward they have great balance and discipline. They had excellent movement off the ball. There were a few times where I thought we actually caught them even though I wasn’t telling the guys to high press, we started doing that early on. They were able to break pressure really well and switch the point of attack. Until the end, the set pieces got them. At least we got one in on them.”

MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER DEFENDER MATT BESLER

On the experience of the match

“The game didn’t go our way. But if you look at the whole week, the experience, Kansas City was unbelievable. For me, to see it first hand, I knew they were going to be great. But everyone else coming in, at the meals, at training, before the game, everyone was talking about Kansas City and how nice everything was. We did take the game seriously, but again, there are a lot of challenges coming into a game like this. You have to give credit to Roma. They played well tonight and are a very good team.”

On what he will remember about this week

“The thing that we look forward to most is what Peter touched on earlier. We face these guys all season long and I’ve faced many of these guys for a number of years. You never get to sit down and have a meal with them or pick their brain. So that’s the exciting thing for us as players, that we get to come together for a couple days and compare things and ask each other questions and have some fun, too. I’ll definitely remember that and the thing that sticks out for me, off the field, is the first-class feel of Kansas City. They did an unbelievable job in every aspect in putting this on.”

On what impressed him about AS Roma

“Their ability to keep the ball. For us, it’s tough. When you give these guys a half-second or half-step, and when you are all not on the same page with only one training session, it really does make it tough. These guys are world-class players and you saw some of the passes they were making. They made it difficult for us to defend.

AS ROMA MANAGER RUDI GARCIA

On the match

It was a very good match against a very good All-Star team. My team played very well and I’m very happy for the third goal that was a collective goal by the team. We still have to work hard because the proof is that we have not been able to keep our sheet clean.

On Kansas City as a host to the MLS All-Star week

It’s a great stadium, great infrastructure, and the stadium atmosphere was great. What was important for us was that it was like a league game for us and it was a very strong team. To win a match like this is very important for us.

On Michael Bradley’s performance in the match and his expectations for us this year

Michael is not only a great player but a good man. We are proud to have such a player, such a man with us, and he is a good ambassador for your country. The future of Michael is that he is going to be an important player for us.

AS ROMA MIDFIELDER MICHAEL BRADLEY

On how this game is a continuation of the momentum the team had to end the season

On our end, every one of us is aware that the last few years weren’t good enough. There’s a real desire and real motivation for every person in this club to put things right. So as we start preseason now with a new coach and some new players, there’s a real commitment to everyday stepping on the field and making sure that training right, and making sure that when we step on the field for games, there continues to be improvement. This was a really good chance against a good team and a great environment to move ourselves forward. I thought there were a lot of good things, clearly we have a lot still to work on, but there’s time for that. But we are definitely moving ourselves in the right direction.

On the mindset coming into the match and the match itself

There was motivation to come here, especially for me to play against guys that I play with on the national team, a lot of friends. It’s motivations to come with your club team and play against these guys. There are a lot of good players there so you know they’re going to be up for the game as well. As for the first 60 minutes of the match, it had good pace. It wasn’t just a friendly game, it wasn’t just a normal All-Star game, it had good pace. Both teams were trying to close each other down and that’s what we need. As I said we knew what to expect coming into this game. We knew that they were into it and that they have a lot of good players and we respect them. We were committed to getting the result.

On specifically what this All-Star Game says about the growth of the league

It’s a special night for sure. The stadium, the atmosphere, the field. It all comes together in a way that makes for a great night. I know that we, as a club, are honored to be a part of it. As you look at it, soccer in this country is continuing to grow. The growth of the MLS, the improvement of our national team shows we’re moving in the right direction. So as the league adds more teams and becomes more stable and you continue to have atmospheres like you do in Kansas City, Portland, or Seattle these are all great things. The future is very bright.

2013 AT&T MLS ALL-STAR GAME POST-GAME NOTES

· Alessandro Florenzi (AS Roma) was named the Volkswagen MLS All-Star Most Valuable Player

· Kevin Strootman scored the opening goal in the fourth minute, the fifth-fastest goal in an MLS All-Star Game

· AS Roma became the first team to score in the first five minutes of both halves of an MLS All-Star Game

· The MLS All-Stars had no shots on goal in the first half. Three other teams did so in an All-Star Game (MLS, vs, Guadalajara, 2003; MLS, vs. Chelsea, 2006; Celtic, vs. MLS, 2007)

· At age 20, DeAndre Yedlin was the third-youngest player to appear with the MLS All- Stars under the current format. Freddy Adu faced Chelsea at age 17 in 2006, and Juan Agudelo faced Manchester United at age 18 in 2011.

· Florenzi became the third Italian to score in an MLS All-Star Game (Federico Macheda, Manchester United, 2010; Giuseppe Galderisi, East All-Stars, 1997)

· The crowd of 21,175 was the largest crowd for a soccer match at Sporting Park

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