All-Star: Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola defends his refusal to shake hands with MLS coaches
PORTLAND, Ore. -- The footage is pretty clear.
After the final whistle of Wednesday night's AT&T MLS All-Star Game, a 2-1 win for MLS, Bayern Munich coach Pep Guardiola wagged his finger at the MLS bench — a clear indication there would be no customary, sportsmanlike handshakes with Caleb Porter and his staff.
But Guardiola forgot all about his finger wag by the time he got to his post-game press conference.
"I didn’t see them," Guardiola said in reference to the MLS coaching staff. "I shook hands with my players and the players from the opposing team."
The flash point? An 89th-minute foul by Portland Timbers captain Will Johnson on German World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger which left him with an ankle injury, according to Guardiola. Johnson received a caution card on the play.
"I think in America they play like this … It's ok, I hope," Schweinsteiger told reporters after the match in reference to his ankle.
"We were a bit upset because Basti is injured," Guardiola later admitted. "Eight players [World Cup participants] came here 12 hours [flight] just to play this game and to play as best as possible. And we tried to respect the rules of the game and fair play and play as best as possible."
"We pressured," Alonso said about the second-half performance by the MLS side. "We knew it was as friendly, but in soccer there are no friendlies. We know they were in preseason, but we wanted to win and I came out to give my best and that's my mentality."
Porter downplayed the controversy -- "There's no reason to make that the story," he said — but he also didn't necessarily defend either of the two yellow-card fouls.
"Well you never like when a tackle goes wrong," Porter said in his post-game press conference. "I thought the tackles that happened were unfortunate. It wasn't like I was happy about them. But there are things that happen in a soccer game. There was no ill-intent in those plays.
"I understand the frustration completely because they're in preseason," he continued. "I understand completely why there was some emotion there, but we certainly didn't mean to do anything negative in the game. We have the utmost respect for Bayern, their players, Pep. This guy is an idol of mine. I think there were a couple of tackles that went wrong."
But his idol, Guardiola, refused to acknowledge Porter on the field as well as in the press conference. The Bayern coach made like he didn't know who Caleb Porter was when the name of the Timbers coach came up in a reporter's question.
And Guardiola also delivered a final salvo before departing the press conference room and heading back home for next week's German Super Cup. He wants revenge.
"Congratulations to MLS for this victory," Guardiola said. "I expect they [MLS] are going to invite us next year to make the revenge and I'm going to prepare a little bit better. Now we will be sure what's going on, so we'll prepare much better. Then we'll do it. I hope our invitation is coming."
"Good. I look forward to it. I won't be the coach," Porter responded with a hearty laugh. "So I can go down on top against Pep."
That grudge match may have lost some of its edge, however, after what US Soccer president Sunil Gulati tweeted late Wednesday night:
All good with Pep Guardiola and Caleb Porter. With them for nice handshake outside the locker room after the game. #MLSAllStar
— Sunil Gulati (@sunilgulati) August 7, 2014