2021 Season

Ricardo Pepi Wins the Cross & Volley Challenge for MLS All-Stars

8.24 Skills Challenge

FRISCO, Texas - The MLS All-Stars narrowly lost to the Liga MX All-Stars in Tuesday night's Skills Challenge despite FC Dallas Homegrown Ricardo Pepi volleying MLS to a win in the Crossing & Volley portion of the event.

Six representatives from both the MLS & Liga MX All-Star teams faced off in the Skills Challenge where the leagues competed in five different skill challenges at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles. The MLS All-Stars won the opening Shooting Challenge round before their Liga MX counterparts took home the Touch Challenge.

Then it was Ricardo Pepi's time to shine. The 18-year-old Homegrown stole the show in the Crossing & Volley Challenge, scoring all three of his opening shots before Liga MX goalkeeper Nahuel Guzmán sustained an "injury" that forced a stoppage in play.

After the restart, Pepi picked up where he left and led MLS to its second Challenge win of the night.

"It was great, all the guys told me that this is my bread and butter and I can do this," Pepi said after the event. "So I did what I could do and put it out there for the team. That was the goal for the win and we had to win that round and I won it so it felt great. Scoring goals is my thing."

But the Liga MX All-Stars came back with a vengeance, winning the Passing Challenge meaning the winners would be decided by the fifth and final event: the classic Crossbar Challenge.

Pepi was a whisker away from winning it all for MLS but his first effort dropped just over the goal before Liga MX's Jonathan Rodriguez broke the tie by striking the underside of the crossbar.

"That was a tough one," Pepi said. "I feel like I was close two or three times but it was a tough one and they got lucky so we just got to get a win tomorrow honestly."

Pepi will have a chance for revenge Wednesday night when the complete All-Star squads from both MLS and Liga MX square off at 8:30PM CT at Banc of California Stadium and on FS1.