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Second half lifts MLS All-Stars over Bayern Munich

Photo Credit: TRIBUNE PHOTO: JONATHAN HOUSE - Will Johnson of the Portland Timbers talks to Arjen Robben of Bayern Munich after the MLS All-Star game.Given just the right circumstances and the right amount of luck, the Major League Soccer All-Stars proved that they could come out ahead of Bayern Munich FC.

The All-Stars pulled off a 2-1, come-from-behind victory against one of the world’s greatest sides Wednesday night at Providence Park before an announced sellout crowd of 21,733.

It was not easy, even though Bayern Munich sat many of its best players for the first 80 minutes.

It took a phenomenal first-half performance by goalkeeper Nick Rimando to keep the score close and two unanswered goals in the second half.

“We haven’t been winning in the All-Star Game for a while,” Rimando said of the MLS stars, who had lost four of the last five All-Star games. “We wanted to get back to that. It felt a little bit more competitive out there. We were running, we were organized, we were behind the ball, we weren’t just playing offense.”

Bayern Munich went up a goal in the eighth minute, when Robert Lewandowski found the back of the net.

Rimando then kept the MLS in the match with five first-half saves.

The All-Stars evened the score 1-1 on an 18-yard-strike by Bradley Wright-Phillips and went ahead 2-0 on a 70th-minute goal by Landon Donovan.

Bayern Munich finished the match with .573 of the possession, 14 shots and nine shots on goal. The MLS had .427 of the possession, nine shots and three balls on frame.

The equalizer came on a fantastic combination play and beautiful finish.

Bobby Boswell took the ball at midfield and sent a pass forward. Erick Torres flicked a header toward the 18-yard box, where Wright-Phillips had created space between himself and his marker. Wright-Phillips took a touch and sent a shot inside the right post.

“I gambled off an Erick Torres flick-on,” Wright-Phillips said. “He’s a very good player in the air. I gambled and took a touch and just hit it. Nothing more to it.”

The winning goal came on a play that Bayern Munich seemed to think should have been whistled off.

Midfielder Diego Valeri, of the Portland Timbers, sent a pass into the box that found Donovan. The Los Angeles Galaxy striker trapped the ball against his chest with his arms up. He took the ball to the ground and sent a shot down the middle of the goal, just under the crossbar.

“Diego got the ball on the right side,” said Donovan, who was named MVP of the match. “I made a run in the middle. I don’t know how he saw me. It was a special play for him to get the ball to me. I brought it down. The turf wasn’t too helpful in slowing it down. I was able to get another touch and just tried to get a shot off. It was nice. It was a good feeling.”

Bayern Munich goalkeeper Manuel Neuer and the Bayern Munich players on the sidelines waved wildly for referee Jair Marrufo to blow the whistle for a handball. Marrufo — who had been allowing the sides to play fast and loose throughout the match — did not whistle the play dead, though.

In the 80th minute, Bayern Munich brought in the cavalry, sending six players into the match.

But the All-Stars fell back and defended their goal with everything they had.

The halftime score would have been much worse than 1-0 but for Rimando.

“That’s why I’m here is because the fans see what I can do,” he said. “I just wanted to put that on the field and help the team as much as I can. Today was one of those days where, yeah, they got one past me, but I took that to heart and I didn’t want to let any more in. I tried to do what I could.”