2017 MLS All-Star Game
The MLS All-Star Game is an annual exhibition match that showcases the best talents the MLS has to offer. Since 2005, the MLS has invited a European club team to serve as the opponent for the league’s own top players. The game represents a chance for American fans to see some of the best players in the world, while also providing an opportunity for the elite players in the MLS to see how they measure against preeminent global powers.
MLS All-Star Game History
In 2005, English side Fulham played against the MLS All-Stars at the home venue of the Columbus Crew, Mapfre Stadium – then known as Columbus Crew Stadium. The MLS All-Stars reigned supreme with an emphatic 4-1 victory, and each summer since then, an increasingly renowned opponent has come to the United States to play in the high-profile match. In 2006, the MLS All-Stars defeated Chelsea – currently the champions of the English Premier League – by a narrow 1-0 margin. The Chelsea squad featured the likes of Frank Lampard, Didier Drogba, and Shaun Wright-Phillips, all of whom would go on to play in the MLS. The MLS All-Stars defeated iconic Scottish powerhouse Celtic 2-0 in 2007 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park, home of the Colorado Rapids, and then faced a string of opponents from the English Premier League from 2008 to 2012. In both 2010 and 2011, Manchester United, one of the most popular teams in global soccer, was the opponent. Unfortunately for the MLS All-Stars, these matches were lost in a lopsided fashion, with the 2010 event at Reliant Stadium, home of the NFL’s Houston Texans, finishing 4-0 in favor of the Red Devils, and the 2011 game at Red Bull Arena, home of the New York Red Bulls, ending in a 5-2 score line with United on top. The MLS All-Stars played Chelsea once again in 2012, and managed to keep their unbeaten record against the Blues intact with a thrilling 3-2 win that took place at the Philadelphia Union’s PPL Park. The MLS All-Stars have won two of the past four events, with losses against Roma in 2013 and Arsenal in 2016, and impressive victories over Bayern Munich in 2014 and Tottenham in 2015.
Some of these past opponents – including Manchester United, Roma, and Tottenham – can be seen in action in the United States this summer as part of the International Champions Cup.
2017 MLS All-Star Game Preview
The 2017 MLS All-Star Game will feature the most high-profile opponent yet – Real Madrid. The Spanish giants have been champions of their domestic league, La Liga, a record 33 times, and are also 12-time champions of Europe, also a record. Real Madrid won each of these competitions this past season, and are unquestionably the most dominant team in world soccer at the moment. Led by manager and legendary former midfielder Zinedine Zidane, Madrid, known as “Los Blancos,” feature the likes of Portuguese icon Cristiano Ronaldo, Welsh winger Gareth Bale, and French striker Karim Benzema. Fans will also be eager to see Spanish defender Sergio Ramos, Brazilian left back Marcelo, and midfield stalwarts Toni Kroos, Luca Modric, and Casemiro. Young talents, including Marco Asensio, Raphael Varane, Mateo Kovacic, and Isco, will also be on display.
Real Madrid can also be seen in action throughout the United States earlier in the summer as part of the International Champions Cup.
The roster for the MLS All-Stars will likely include a strong contingent of Americans, including iconic goalkeeper Tim Howard, defenders DaMarcus Beasley and Greg Garza, midfielder Michael Bradley, and the legendary Clint Dempsey in attack. Other notable players likely to feature are Ashley Cole, Bastian Schweinsteiger, David Villa, and Kaka, all of whom played at elite levels for European clubs – with Kaka spending four seasons at Real Madrid. Electric Italian forward Sebastian Giovinco should also take part in the match, and exciting Atlanta United youngsters Miguel Almiron and Josef Martinez could be part of the squad as well.
The 2017 MLS All-Star Game will take place at Soldier Field, the home stadium of the NFL’s Chicago Bears, on Wednesday, August 2 at 8:00 pm local time.