A show stopping volley from Chris Mueller and a last minute strike from Nani powered the Orlando City team to a victory in the MLS ALL-Star Skills Challenge. The win earned the club a $25,000 donation to the Orlando City Foundation.
Captain Koké led the Atlético Madrid side, which was filled out by João Felix and Mexican international Hector Herrera. As the hosts, Orlando City was represented by Nani, Chris Mueller and Sebas Mendez. Meanwhile, All-Star Captain Carlos Vela led an MLS team alongside Jonathan Dos Santos and Wayne Rooney.
.@luisnani FOR THE WIN!
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) July 31, 2019
The Lions jumped into each other’s arms to celebrate while the crowd roared. When asked how it felt to earn the win, Nani replied, “Fantastic.”
The event consisted of three sections: power shots, touch and volley and passing. To start, the teams tested their power shots by shooting on a goal filled with targets of varying point values based on their positioning in goal. Each team member had five shots to try to cleanly strike the targets.
The MLS All-Star team started the group, scoring 28 points and lifted by a 10-point top corner strike by Wayne Rooney. Orlando City started slow, missing its first two rounds of shots, but all three players struck 10-point shots to pull the team ahead with a hefty lead at 46 points. Neither team was a match for Felix and Madrid, however, which finished with clinical consistency to win with 47 points.
Next up was the touch and volley competition, where one player crossed the ball for his teammate to shoot on goal. Each player took six shots on a goal guarded by a MLS Homegrown Game goalkeeper.
Dos Santos starred in this round of challenges, knocking in two full volleys to earn 20 points. But Chris Mueller stole the show in the final round when he leapt into the air, fully extending to scissor in his second shot and flashing a shaka with a surprised laugh as he rose from the ground. The flashy shot earned style points from the judges, putting Orlando City in the lead with 102 points.
The final challenge focused on passing, with a two minute clock and a series of nets and moving targets for the players to aim at.
The All-Star team pursued the high-point shots, lofting all of their passes at the 25-point crossbar. Vela nailed the crossbar twice and Dos Santos and Rooney both hit it once to earn 100 points. Madrid employed the same strategy, and Koke hit the crossbar for the fifth time to take the lead with 195 points.
Trailing by 93 points, Orlando City only needed four crossbar strikes to win the event. All three Orlando City players hit crossbar, and Nani struck the final ball with time expired to nail the crossbar, sending the home crowd into an eruption as Orlando City won the competition.