KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A raucous crowd packed into one of Major League Soccer’s glitzy new stadiums to watch a team composed of its best players on a picturesque late-summer night.
All that was missing was the outcome fans desired.
Italian powerhouse AS Roma, led by longtime star Francesco Totti, scored four minutes into the game, then added two second-half goals to rout a team of MLS All-Stars, 3-1, on Wednesday night.
Kevin Strootman and Alessandro Florenzi each had a goal and an assist, and Junior Tallo also scored for Roma, the three-time champion of Italy’s Serie A.
Omar Gonzalez of the Los Angeles Galaxy scored the only goal for the MLS side in second-half stoppage time.
“Every time you step inside the white lines you want to win, but I don’t think the result was the focus,” MLS coach Peter Vermes of Sporting Kansas City said. “When you look at the overall picture of what transpired the last few days, it was a great opportunity.”
The MLS is 7-3-1 against international opponents since the league adopted the current All-Star Game format.
“For us, this was a really good chance against a great team in a great environment,” said Roma midfielder Michael Bradley, who got his professional start in Major League Soccer and is a member of the United States national team.
MLS commissioner Don Garber announced at halftime that four expansion franchises will begin play by the 2020 season, bringing the total number of teams in the league to 24.
The location of the teams has yet to be decided, but Garber said the league has already had discussions with potential owners.