COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) – A former Columbus Crew striker ran wild in Major League Soccer’s All-Star game, but it wasn’t the one everyone expected.

Jeff Cunningham scored twice in the final five minutes Saturday to help the MLS All-Stars defeat England’s Fulham FC 4-1.

Cunningham came on as a substitute in the 68th minute and scored from 8 yards off a header to his foot from D.C. United midfielder Christian Gomez with 5 minutes left. Four minutes later, New England’s Shalrie Joseph passed to Cunningham, who dribbled in and beat goalkeeper Jaroslav Drobny.

The crowd of 23,309 roared at the late goals from Cunningham, a longtime Crew standout who went to Colorado in the offseason.

By contrast, the much-hyped return of former Crew striker Brian McBride didn’t pan out. McBride started as Fulham’s captain but wasn’t a factor. He and Fulham’s other American, Carlos Bocanegra, came out 15 minutes into the second half.

The MLS All-Stars struck 23 minutes in, when Landon Donovan wound up with the ball following a Fulham turnover. Donovan slipped a pass into the box past U.S. national team teammate Bocanegra to New England forward Taylor Twellman, who slid to put a foot on it and beat goalkeeper Mark Crossley.

Drobny entered the game when Crossley left with a knee injury a few minutes later.

Donovan and Twellman nearly connected again four minutes after the goal, but Twellman’s shot from the right side flew wide left. Twellman, whose shot in the second half hit the near post, was named MVP.

Fulham tied the game in the 36th minute when Chris Albright was whistled for knocking down Luis Boa Morte in the penalty box as Boa Morte dribbled toward goal.

“I know I touched him. I don’t think I fouled him,” said Albright, an L.A. Galaxy defender.

Claus Jensen’s ensuing penalty kick caught New England keeper Matt Reis moving the wrong way. That was Fulham’s lone good chance of the first half, however, as the MLS side owned the midfield with Donovan and New England teammates Clint Dempsey and Joseph controlling possession.

MLS took back the lead in the 56th minute when Dallas’ Ronnie O’Brien deflected a shot from Dempsey just inside the left post for the score.

“The defender cleared it out and my eyes just lit up when I saw it falling down (at my feet),” Dempsey said.

“Certainly in the second half, you could see we were nowhere near as fit as the MLS boys,” Fulham coach Chris Coleman said. “They’re a good team, and I think they got stronger and stronger as the game went on, and we got weaker and weaker.”

Dempsey nearly put the MLS on the board in the 3rd minute, controlling a high ball with his back to the goal, then turning and firing from about 8 yards out. Bocanegra stepped into an open goal mouth and cleared it for Fulham.

Notes: Besides the 18 MLS players who suited up and the five who sat out with injuries, nine others earned “All-Star” honors, according to the league. The players’ contracts contain bonuses for making the squad; the “honors” allow more players to collect the bonuses because the game no longer features an East-West conference matchup. … Fulham defender Moritz Volz was carded for a hard takedown of Dempsey in the first half. Cunningham picked up the MLS’ only yellow card for game disrepute after ripping off his jersey to celebrate the last goal. … Weather in Columbus at game time was 82 degrees under steady sun; weather in Fulham’s home of London was 61 degrees and drizzling. … Fulham starts play in the English Premier League in two weeks.


Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or to participate in the conversation. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.