Diego Valeri, MLS All-Star vs. Juventus, 8.1.18
(USA Today Sports Images)

Diego Valeri, MLS All-Stars fall to Juventus on penalties in Atlanta

In front of a record crowd of 72,317 at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Portland Timbers midfielder Diego Valeri and the MLS All-Stars lost to Serie A's Juventus F.C. on penalties Thursday night in Atlanta in the 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target. 

In an entertaining and open game, Juventus jumped on the board first with a nicely placed shot from Andrea Favilli in the 21st minute. Five minutes later, Atlanta United FC forward and MLS Golden Boot leader Josef Martinez determinedly headed a ball home to tie the game at 1-1. The local team favorite Martinez was also named MLS All-Star MVP.

Valeri, who came on at halftime for the All-Stars, nearly found the game-winner in the 82nd minute when he perfectly slotted the ball past onrushing Juventus goalkeeper Mattia Perin only to be stopped by a last-gasp, goal line clearance from Medhi Benatia.

With the score still tied after a full 90 minutes, the exhibition match went straight to penalties. Valeri calmly converted his attempt with a hard-hit laser into the top left corner to even it at 3-3. But it was Juventus' Leandro Fernandes and Mattia De Sciglio who converted their side's fourth and fifth attempts while New York Red Bulls striker Bradley Wright-Phillips hit the post to give a 5-3 victory to the visitors.

Valeri and teammate Marco Farfanwho started for the MLS side in Tuesday's MLS Homegrown Game draw against Liga MX's Tigres UANL U-20s – will both return to Portland ahead of Saturday's MLS regular-season match against the Philadelphia Union (8pm PT, FOX 12 PLUS).


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