Minnesota United and MLS All-Star Game coach Adrian Heath felt a little out of place working sold-out Allianz Field's other end in Wednesday's 2-1 victory over Mexico's Liga MX stars.
But his Loons goalkeeper, Dayne St. Clair, felt right at home, cradling afterward the game's MVP trophy earned for a half-hour's work.
Los Angeles FC's Carlos Vela and Seattle second-half sub Raul Ruidiaz scored the goals that staked MLS to a 2-0 lead it never lost, even after Liga MX defender Kevin Alvarez's strike in the 84th minute.
St. Clair made the saves — namely a sprawling two-hander that kept the 2-0 lead — that got him a glass trophy after starter Andre Blake from Philadelphia handed him the game after 32 minutes. St. Clair in turn gave it to New York City FC's Sean Johnson in the 61st minute.
In a game that featured superstars Vela and Chicharito from L.A., MLS goal leader Sebastian Driussi, Seattle's Jordan Morris and the Loons' own Emanuel Reynoso, St. Clair was considered the night's star. Then there's Liga MX's team, too.
"I was definitely surprised," said St. Clair, who finished with four saves. "So many good players here on our team and their team. Normally it's the guys who contribute to the goals who get the award. I'm definitely happy to be awarded with it."
Last month, Heath made Reynoso and St. Clair two of 12 captain's picks gifted him for being the home-team coach. He lost the sport coat Wednesday night and worked the night in a dress shirt on the field's north end sideline opposite the south-end sideline that he roams every other night.
"It was a bit strange," Heath said. "I got a bit of stick from people behind me. I'm used to people being on my side on that side. Let's get back to where we normally are."
The teams played in Los Angeles a year ago in a game the MLS team won in penalty kicks after a 1-1 draw. It was compelling and competitive enough that MLS and Liga MX decided to do it again Wednesday on a glorious summer's night that featured a Blackhawk helicopters national-anthem flyover and a large remote-control loon that swooped through the stadium before the opening kick.
There also was a sellout crowd announced at 19,797.
"I knew the people would turn out," Heath said. "It shows how far we've come in six years."
Heath started started Reynoso in a three-man midfield with MLS leading scorer and fellow Argentine Sebastian Driussi and a player Heath long has admired, Columbus' Darlington Nagbe.
Up top, he started a superstar three-man front with LA Galaxy's Chicharito and Vela — both Mexicans representing MLS against their home country — alongside each other.
Vela scored after just three minutes, turning LAFC teammate Diego Palacios' crossing pass into the net with a header from the back post and from just outside the six-yard box.
Afterward, Heath was asked about coaching two stars such as Vela and Chicharito on the same team.
"Well, you can leave them here if you want," Heath said. "They're quality players, quality people. Their careers are there for all to see. Great quality and great goals as well."
St. Clair's shutout stint came after he gifted Colorado goals in last week's 4-3 loss at Colorado.
"The good thing after the game on the weekend, he knows it wasn't his best game," Heath said. "It was probably the worst game since he has been here with us. For him to come out and show the composure he did and the couple big save he made, that speaks volumes about his attitude, his professionalism and also his mental state."
On Wednesday, he held that trophy in a season when he became the starter only after veteran Tyler Miller became ill before the season's third game. St. Clair started that game and every game since then.
He applauded the Allianz Field fans as he left the game.
"To have a performance like this in front of the fans that support us every week has been a true honor," he said.
St. Clair left a postgame news conference holding that trophy.
"I've got to find a spot for it," he said. "Probably on a ledge somewhere, just to remind me what I'm capable of."