It’s a fantastic time to be a soccer fan. Over the course of about 70 days this summer, we’ve been treated to a fantastic Champion’s League Final, are currently enthralled with one of the least predictable World Cups in quite some time, and we have the MLS All-Star Game to look forward to once the World Cup has wrapped up.

Even though Major League Soccer has experienced tremendous growth in North America over the past decade, there are plenty of fans of the sport who aren’t totally well-versed in all things MLS. If you’re one of those people we’ve got you covered–here’s everything you need to know about this year’s All-Star Game.

Where and When is the 2018 MLS All-Star Game?

The 2018 rendition of the MLS All-Star game is set to take place on August 1 at 7:30 P.M. EST at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, GA – home of Atlanta United.

The venue itself is gigantic, with a seating capacity that exceeds 70,000. It’s safe to say the place will be packed full of rabid fans, making for an unforgettable experience.

What is the All-Star Game’s Format?

Major League Soccer’s All-Star format is truly unlike any other league in the world. The league moved away from the traditional “Eastern Conference” versus “Western Conference” format back in the mid-2000s, opting to have just one squad of All-Stars that takes on a European team in a friendly.

Given the fact that the date of the game always falls during the pre-season for European squads, the MLS has had no problem attracting top-tier European teams to play. In the past four years alone, Bayern Munich, Tottenham, Arsenal and Real Madrid have all played the star-studded MLS squad.

Who Are the MlS-All Stars Facing This Year?

This year’s team is set to face off against Italian side Juventus. The Bianconeri, or The Black and Whites as they’re known in Italy, finished first in the Serie A this season and have made the Champions League Final twice in the last four years.

However, the MLS All-Star teams have proven to be anything but pushovers in the recent past, having won 8 out of the 12 total games they’ve faced off against European competition.

Get Tickets to the MLS All-Star Game

How Are Spots on the All-Star Team Awarded?

Spots on the team are awarded a few different ways – a fan vote, a video game challenge, a media vote and selections from the commissioner of the league.

The fan vote is self-explanatory as fans can vote for which players they want to see make the squad. The “Fan XI” also features the winner of the EA Sports “More Than A Vote Challenge” which grants a spot on the All-Star team to the player who has the most goals scored with their player in the FIFA Soccer video game. Each goal scored using the pre-determined players counts as a vote, and the player with the most goals wins a spot on the squad.

In addition to the fan votes, the media also vote on which players they think are worthy of a spot on the squad. On top of that, league commissioner Don Garber can hand pick two players of his choosing to make the team.

2018 MLS All-Star Game Predictions

Even though the MLS All-Stars have lost their past two games, I think they’ll be able to beat Juventus on August 1. The crowd should be electric in Atlanta, a city that has demonstrated that they’re one of the best fanbases in the league despite having existed as a club for less than two years. The roster should feature plenty of Atlanta United players thanks to the team’s fans stuffing the voting boxes, which will give the local fans an extra incentive to cheer even louder for the MLS All-Stars.
Buoyed by a fantastic crowd, the MLS All-Stars will defeat Juventus 3-2.