MLS All-Stars vs. Juventus | 2018 MLS All-Star Game Preview
MLS All-Stars vs. Juventus
2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target
Mercedes-Benz Stadium — Atlanta
August 1 - 7:30 pm ET
WATCH: ESPN, UniMás, TVAS, TSN 1/3/4/5
Mercedes-Benz Stadium will be the epicenter of the soccer universe Wednesday night as the MLS All-Stars line up to play one of Europe’s most decorated squads in Juventus, the reigning Serie A and Coppa Italia champions.
There’s plenty of familiar names for Juventus, including Sami Khedira, Emre Can, Giorgio Chiellini and Claudio Marchisio, and they will meet one of the most talented MLS All-Star squads assembled, including former Juventus forward Sebastian Giovinco from Toronto FC as well as five players who competed in the World Cup in Russia this summer.
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The MLS All-Stars will look for their first win since a 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in 2015, and Atlanta United coach Tata Martino will have plenty of firepower at his disposal on Wednesday night.
In fact, it’s probably an embarrassment of riches in the attacking third and it starts with the Five Stripes' own Josef Martinez, who set an MLS record with his sixth hat trick this season en route to scoring 24 goals in his club’s first 23 games — three goals shy of the regular season record for goals set by Bradley Wright-Phillips, Chris Wondolowski, and Roy Lassiter.
Fresh off becoming the fastest player in MLS history to score 100 regular season goals, Wright-Phillips of the New York Red Bulls was selected for his second MLS All-Star Game. Mexican international Carlos Vela from LAFC was voted the captain of the MLS All-Stars, joins Giovinco and Darwin Quintero of Minnesota United FC as the other forwards on a stacked squad.
There’s also playmakers and many more additional scoring threats in the midfield, led by Atlanta’s own Miguel Almiron and Ezequiel Barco, newly-signed Bayern Munich phenom Alphonso Davies from Vancouver Whitecaps FC and the 2017 Landon Donovan MLS MVP Diego Valeri of the Portland Timbers among others.
Established in 1897, Juventus are the most decorated club in Italy and one of the most revered in global soccer, having won more Serie A and Coppa Italia titles than any other Italian club. Led by coach Massimiliano Allegri, Juventus are coming off a record seventh straight Serie A title, which was clinched four days after a 13th overall and fourth consecutive Coppa Italia championship, when the Old Lady defeated AC Milan, 4-0.
Captained by legendary Italian defender Giorgio Chiellini, Juventus might not have their biggest and most expensive summer signing with them, as Cristian Ronaldo is resting following the World Cup, but there’s a star-studded lineup as part of their American tour, with German midfielders Sami Khedira and Emre Can, as well as Italian midfielder Claudio Marchisio.
The Bianconeri come into the game off back-to-back wins in the International Champions Cup. Young forward Andrea Favilli struck for a pair of goals eight minutes apart in a 2-0 win over Bayern Munich at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia last Wednesday, and then Luca Clemenza struck for a late equalizer before Juve beat Benfica 4-2 on penalties Saturday afternoon at Red Bull Arena.
After playing in the MLS All-Star Game, Juventus will meet Real Madrid at FedEx Field on Saturday to cap their American tour, before opening their Serie A campaign at Chievo Verona on Aug. 19.
All-Star Game History
Juventus are the second Serie A squad to participate in the MLS All-Star Game; Roma played the MLS All-Stars in 2013, winning 3-1 at Children’s Mercy Park.
This is the first ASG match to be played in Atlanta and it could be the largest crowd in All-Star history, as it tries to break the record of the 70,728 who packed Houston’s Reliant Stadium to watch the MLS All-Stars take on Manchester United in 2010.
This year’s All-Star Game will be the 14th straight to pit MLS against a European opponent. The MLS All-Stars are 7-4-2, with a pair of shootout losses (to Everton in 2009 and Real Madrid a year ago). The All-Stars won the 2014 and 2015 matchups against Bayern Munich and Tottenham before falling to Arsenal in San Jose in 2016.
Prior to 2005, MLS experimented with several different formats for the All-Star Game. The most common was a traditional East vs. West matchup, though the league did have one-off All-Star Games that pit American players against MLS internationals, as well as the 2002 edition which pitted the All-Stars against the US national team in 2002, before hosting Mexican side Chivas Guadalajara in 2003.
MLS All-Star History
(vs. European Opponents)