Cruz Azul's Jonathan Rodriguez, left, and Pachuca's Kevin Alvarez fight for the ball during a Mexican soccer League match at Azteca stadion in Mexico City, Sunday, Aug. 29, 2021.AP

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Ricardo Pepi thrived up straddling the ever-dwindling divide in between Mexican and American soccer. The Texas indigenous who greatly watched Mexican groups as a boy is now a first-time MLS All-Star for FC Dallas, and also both nationwide teams have been chasing the 18-year-old prodigy’s commitment.

Pepi essentially confirmed Wednesday night he has chose to play v his fellow Americans — and also he walk it ideal after to mark the decisive blow for his residential league in the recent chapter that its growing, friendly rivalry with Liga MX.

New England goalkeeper Matt Turner made two penalty absent saves, and also Pepi convert the last chance to lift the MLS team past a arsenal of stars native Mexico’s top league in the MLS All-Star Game.

Pepi is supposed to announce Thursday he has chosen to stand for the U.S. Around the world when the is selected because that the upcoming people Cup qualifiers. His penalty kick off the underside that the crossbar to be a symbolic way to finish an entertaining, trusted evening because that the All-Star teams representing the continent’s two greatest leagues.

“To get referred to as up to the national team and then gain the victory for MLS, it feels great,” Pepi said. “You guys have the right to see the MLS is getting better and an ext competitive.”

The very first matchup of this leagues’ peak players in MLS’ midseason showcase was the latest action in the progressively close ties in between the U.S./Canadian league and also Mexico’s optimal division. The teams put on a memorable night at Los Angeles FC’s sold-out Banc of California stadium in the love of a cosmopolitan American city through a vibrant Mexican flavor.

Liga MX MVP Jonathan Rodríguez score in the 20th minute of regular time, and Jesús Murillo evened the on a header turn off a overcome from LAFC teammate Eduard Atuesta at an early stage in the 2nd half.

The punish shootout was a thriller: Turner winner the game’s MVP compensation by preventing shots through Rogelio exciting Mori and also Salvador Reyes, and also Pepi finished it through style.

“I think (this All-Star format) would be an excellent for both leagues,” Turner said. “You witnessed the compete was really spirited and high intensity. The pan were right into it. It need to be the norm, but it’s no my call. I had actually a ton of fun this week. People really wanted to win, and also we don’t constantly get the in All-Star gamings here.”

MLS and also Liga MX currently hold two team cup competitions with really hopes for even much more interleague play, and also both leagues agree a complete merger is a real possibility in the comes years.

“Winning a match versus the ideal players in Mexico feels therefore good,” stated MLS captain Raúl Ruidíaz, a Peruvian veteran of both leagues. “It proves our organization is growing. We ediscoverhotmail.comoyed this a lot.”

These All-Star teams’ demographics reflect both leagues’ growth and international appeal. The MLS All-Stars were born in 13 various countries, while only 12 of Liga MX’s 27 All-Stars were born in Mexico.

“It’s amazing to be right here with all these an excellent players,” claimed Guillermo Ochoa, the veteran society América goalkeeper who played component of the first half. “It’s an excellent for the fans due to the fact that they deserve to see these players live. I would certainly love come be below again next year.”

MLS was once well behind Liga MX in quality of play, but players indigenous both leagues agree the space has closed substantially in the past couple of years. These All-Star teams showed up to be rather well-matched together they played to a attract in regulation.

“The point I learned the end there is we room up there v Liga MX,” Philadelphia Union goalkeeper Andre Blake said.

Early in the very first half, the video game was paused after pan participated in the infamous homophobic hymn that stays irresistible to part Mexican fans in spite of FIFA sanctions versus their nationwide team because of it. Fans greatly stopped doing the hymn on score kicks ~ the warning, however many did it again throughout extra time in the second half.

Liga MX walk ahead once América defender Jorge Sánchez ceded a long cross come Rodríguez, who controlled it and also scored for the latest achievement in the Uruguayan veteran’s exceptional calendar year. Rodríguez winner Balón de Oro together Mexican football’s most valuable player last year while leading Cruz Azul come its an initial Liga MX title due to the fact that 1997.

Rodríguez also won the MLS All-Star Skills an obstacle for Liga MX ~ above Tuesday night, hitting the crossbar from around 45 yards to finish the event.

The Los Angeles festivities were dampened previously this week as soon as MLS’ two best Mexican stars — the Galaxy’s havier “Chicharito” Hernandez and also LAFC’s Carlos Vela — both reduce out v idiscoverhotmail.comuries. Inter Miami’s Rodolfo Pizarro was the just Mexican-born player ~ above the MLS roster, which had a grasp of Liga MX veterans.

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