Wednesday worked out well for Major League Soccer — and for Seattle Sounders FC.
MLS won its annual All-Star Game over Tottenham Hotspur of the English Premier League, 2-1, before a sellout crowd of 18,671 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, Colorado.
Sounders stars Clint Dempsey and Chad Marshall played 45 minutes each — the target length mentioned by Seattle coach Sigi Schmid — with Dempsey among the first 11 and Marshall checking in for the second half.
Dempsey provided the secondary assist on the game-winning goal.
MLS newcomer Kaká of expansion Orlando City was voted the game’s most valuable player.
Kaká scored the game’s first goal on a penalty kick in the 20th minute, following a Spurs handball in the penalty area.
MLS doubled its lead three minutes later when Dempsey touched a cross on to Kaká, who fired it across the mouth of the goal, where it was redirected in by David Villa of New York City FC.
Tottenham halved the advantage in the 37th minute, when Harry Kane sizzled a shot past MLS starting goalkeeper Nick Rimando of Real Salt Lake.
That turned out to be the final score, and MLS beat a European visitor for the second consecutive season after topping Bayern Munich last year in Portland.
Former Seattle defender DeAndre Yedlin played the last 26 minutes for Tottenham.
However, the tradition of the MLS All-Stars facing clubs from across the globe could be coming to an end. In a halftime interview with FS1, commissioner Don Garber said a switch to an Eastern Conference vs. Western Conference format “probably makes sense.”
Dempsey had floated the idea one season earlier, and the suggestion was generally shot down. However, the influx of new talent into the league — including both Kaká and Villa this season — seems to have increased the perception that each conference could field All-Star-quality rosters while also filling MLS stadiums without the added draw of an international giant.
In the same interview, Garber said MLS “is a supporter of the idea” of instant replay, although he did not give details about how the technology might be used in a free-flowing game without timeouts.
Dempsey and Marshall are expected to fly back to the Northwest on Thursday and rejoin the Sounders for training on Friday. Schmid had said he hoped neither of his All-Stars would play more than half the game, but took a wait-and-see attitude toward their availability for Saturday, when the Sounders return to MLS play against the Vancouver Whitecaps at CenturyLink Field.