COMMERCE CITY, Colo. (AP) The news kids in the league can play a little bit.
Kaka and David Villa, a pair of 33-year-old international icons in their first season in Major League Soccer, showed they still have some panache to their games.
Kaka scored on a penalty kick and set up Villa’s goal minutes later in the first half to help the best players in MLS beat Tottenham Hotspur 2-1 on a blustery Wednesday night.
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The MLS improved to 9-3-1 against international competition in its All-Star Game. Kaka, who served as the team’s captain, was selected the game MVP.
”Not bad for my first All Star,” said Kaka, a midfielder for Orlando City. ”I didn’t expect that for tonight.
”Everybody is happy, because tomorrow in the soccer world everybody will talk about the MLS All-Star team beating a very good European team.”
Although the MLS players had just one real workout together, coach Pablo Mastroeni said everything flowed together because of Kaka.
”His desire to be here was tremendous,” said Mastroeni, who coaches the Colorado Rapids. ”For a guy who’s done everything you can pretty much do in a football career and still have this desire to come and participate in Colorado, in altitude, mid-week, and be excited and hungry about it? That speaks more about the human than the player. … He rubbed off, even for a moment, on a lot of us.”
Harry Kane scored for the Spurs, who open the English Premier League season against Manchester United on Aug. 8.
”As a team we could have done better,” Kane said. ”Our first tough game of the preseason, but we created some good chances in the first half.”
Especially Kane, who was stopped three times early in the game by keeper Nick Rimando of Real Salt Lake.
”Have to say thank you to (Rimando),” Kaka said. ”He saved the team.”
David Ousted, who plays for Vancouver, took over in goal for the second half. He preserved the lead in the 73rd minute when he made a sprawling save on a point-blank attempt by Josh Onomah.
U.S. national team member DeAndre Yedlin entered the game for Tottenham early in the second half and had a good chance at a goal in the 83rd minute, but sent the ball flying over the crossbar.
The 22-year-old Yedlin was acquired by Tottenham from Seattle and MLS in January. He’s trying to make the Hotspur club and a good showing over the next few days may go a long way to securing a spot this season. He could also be moved to another team on loan.
”I feel comfortable wherever I go, whether it be Tottenham – it doesn’t matter,” Yedlin said. ”It’s one of the things you have to deal with as a pro.”
Kaka converted a penalty kick in the 20th minute after a hand ball in the box. Although Spurs keeper Michel Vorm guessed right on Kaka’s kick, he couldn’t stop the shot from the Brazilian midfielder.
Three minutes later, Kaka set up another goal when he delivered a pass that Villa tapped in with his left foot. Villa, who plays for New York City FC, is Spain’s career scoring leader. U.S. national standout Clint Dempsey, a former player at Tottenham before going to Seattle, also was given an assist.
Asked how this MLS bunch would fare as, say, a squad in the Premier League, Tottenham manager Mauricio Pochettino thought they could hold their own.
”They start a couple of wonderful players like Kaka, Villa,” Pochettino said. ”They have big skill and top quality.”
Early on, it was a frustrating first half for Kane as he was stopped time and again by Rimando. But Kane wouldn’t be denied in the 37th minute, when he juked defender Omar Gonzalez to create just enough space to unleash a line shot into the corner of the net.
”The keeper was in top form,” Kane said. ”Delighted to see the goal go in and delighted to be out there.”
The MLS All Stars were without quite a few big names as Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Steven Gerrard (LA Galaxy), Robbie Keane (LA Galaxy), Frank Lampard (New York City FC) and Chris Tierney (New England Revolution) all sat out due to injuries.
Landon Donovan attended the game as a spectator. The U.S. soccer great retired last season after winning the MLS title.
Donovan may have found his next calling, though. He stepped into the role of head coach in the MLS Homegrown Game on Tuesday, his side losing in a shootout to Club America under-20s.