Kansas City, Kan. — Kevin Strootman scored and added an assist on Wednesday as Serie A heavyweights AS Roma easily handled the MLS All-Stars by a 3-1 count at Sporting Park.
The All-Stars entered Wednesday’s event carrying a 7-2-1 record against international opposition, including last year’s dramatic 3-2 win over Chelsea FC, and the match marked the first time an Italian club has participated in the All-Star festivities.
All-Star manager Peter Vermes’ starting 11 included some of the most recognizable faces in MLS with hometown players Graham Zusi, Matt Besler and Aurelien Collin all on the field at kickoff, as well as Thierry Henry and Marco Di Vaio.
But it was the visitors that got off the mark first, finding the back of the net just five minutes into the match when Alessandro Florenzi played a nice ball through a high MLS backline to Strootman, who easily slid it past goalkeeper Raul Fernandez.
The home side responded with a solid chance on goal in the 13th minute when Zusi sent Di Vaio through with a nice, cutting ball, but the veteran striker whipped his shot wide of the far post.
Roma controlled play for the majority of the first half, but the All-Stars created their best chance of the opening 45 minutes one minute before the break as Houston Dynamo midfielder Brad Davis ripped a free kick into the box, but Collin couldn’t direct his header on target.
Vermes made several substitutions to the All-Stars side heading into the second half as he brought on Mike Magee, Landon Donovan, Nick Rimando and Chris Wondolowski, but the second half began much like the first half for the home side.
Roma made it 2-0 in the 47th minute when Federico Balzaretti played a spectacular low cross from the left flank to Florenzi, who smashed it past Rimando.
The subs kept coming for the All-Stars as Henry came off in the 57th minute in favor of Philadelphia Union striker Jack McInerney, but the hosts were still largely unable to generate many quality chances.
The Italians made it a three-goal margin 22 minutes from time with some excellent combination play. U.S. international Michael Bradley got the play rolling with a quick through pass to Strootman, who squared it to a wide-open Junior Tallo and he finished the move with a tap-in.
But the MLS club avoided the clean sheet and sent the 21,175 in attendance home with a consolation goal in stoppage time as Camilo sent an excellent free kick into the box where Los Angeles Galaxy defender Omar Gonzalez nodded it home.