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Aug 7, 2014

Pep, Donovan stand out among stars

2014 MLS All-Star Game: MLS All-Stars 2-1 Bayern Munich

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Bayern Munich boss Pep Guardiola was not a happy man during or after his team's 2-1 loss to the MLS All-Stars here Wednesday night.

The coach was seething in his postmatch news conference, still visibly upset at several rough fouls committed by the home team, particularly in the second half.

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One late challenge by Portland Timbers captain Will Johnson left World Cup-winning midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger hobbling through the last few minutes of the match.

Guardiola even refused to shake MLS coach Caleb Porter's hand after referee Jair Marrufo blew the final whistle, then tried his best to deflect questions about the hosts' physical approach.

"It's not my job to be concerned with their tackles," Guardiola told reporters afterward. "That is another person's job," he said, apparently referring to Marrufo. "I don't know if he did it."

The Spaniard then said he wanted a rematch next summer.

"I hope they invite us next year so we can try and to make the revenge," Guardiola said. "We will be sure of what is going on and we will prepare much better. We will do it; I hope our invitation is coming."

Thierry Henry, who played for Guardiola when both were with Barcelona, downplayed the controversy. Henry chalked up his ex-manager's beef to an ultra-competitive personality.

"He doesn't like to lose," Henry said. "That's why he is who he is."

MLS All-Stars forward Landon Donovan discusses his game-winning goal and how his break from soccer helped his outlook on the game.

Donovan's special moment

Landon Donovan was on the field for just 23 minutes, but it was all the career MLS and U.S. national team goal king needed to score the game winner against his former club, earning man-of the match honors in the process.

Donovan played for Bayern on loan from the L.A. Galaxy in early 2009 under current U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who controversially left him out of the Americans' World Cup squad in May.

"The summer was very tough for me," Donovan said. "I'm trying to enjoy playing, and the last four games I've been a part of I've enjoyed and I think when I enjoy it I play better. It was a good moment for me."

Earlier in the week, Donovan denied he was looking to make a statement in the high-profile exhibition. But his exuberant post-goal celebration betrayed how much it meant to him. His teammates were thrilled, too.

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"To have a moment like this, he certainly deserves it -- although at this point it doesn't surprise anybody that he plays 20 minutes in an All-Star Game and walks of the field with a goal," U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley said.

"He's a friend, so whether it's the national team or whether it's a situation like this, I enjoy the chance to get to spend some time with him. I'm happy that he was able to get a good goal."

The decision to play Donovan for no more than 25 minutes was made before the game. The Galaxy have a league match against San Jose on Friday, so Porter and L.A. coach Bruce Arena agreed to limit the 32-year-old's participation Wednesday. Porter pulled Donovan 23 minutes after he came on for Henry, following what turned out to be the decisive goal.

"He's a great player and a good person and definitely someone who carried [American] soccer for a long time," said New York Red Bulls midfielder Tim Cahill, who played alongside Donovan during the American's two loan spells at English club Everton.

"I'm happy for him."

Henry not done yet

The French legend's long, slow walk off the field in front of an appreciative crowd at Providence Park certainly had an air of finality about it, but Henry insisted afterward that he has not reached a verdict about whether to retire following this season, when his contract with the Red Bulls is up.

"Maybe, maybe not," Henry said when asked if this could be his last All-Star Game. "I haven't decided yet ... it might be. I'm still in the game. I'm not there yet."

Green a nonfactor

American youngster Julian Green entered the match in the 37th minute but had a quiet outing before being replaced by German national team captain Philipp Lahm in the 82nd.

Guardiola deployed the 19-year-old as a forward but Green drifted out wide at times. One of his first touches came in a battle with U.S. World Cup teammate DeAndre Yedlin, his roommate in Brazil. (Yedlin was sporting Green's jersey in the victorious MLS locker room after the match.)

Green's best moment was a quick first-half shot that forced a good save from Nick Rimando.

Doug McIntyre

Doug McIntyre is a staff writer for ESPN The Magazine. He has watched or attended almost every U.S. men's national team game since Paul Caligiuri's "shot heard 'round the world" and has covered the Yanks for The Mag since 2005. Follow him on Twitter @DougMacESPN.

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