MLS All-Stars vs. Atletico Madrid | 2019 MLS All-Star Game Preview
MLS All-Stars vs. Atletico Madrid
2019 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target
Exploria Stadium — Orlando
July 31 - 8:00 pm ET
TV: FS1, UniMás, TVAS, TSN 1/4/5
Exploria Stadium will be the site of one of the year's most anticipated games Wednesday night as the MLS All-Stars line up to play one of Europe’s most decorated squads in Atletico Madrid.
There’s no lack of superstars on either squad with Atleti boasting 19-year-old superstar goalscorer João Felix, Mexican World Cup veteran Hector Herrera, emblematic Spanish midfielder and Atleti captain Koke, Spanish forward Diego Costa and defender Kieran Trippier, who arrived from Tottenham Hotspur and is the club's first English player in 95 years.
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A year after losing to Juventus on penalty kicks after the teams played to a 1-1 draw, the MLS All-Stars will look for their first win since a 2-1 victory over Tottenham Hotspur in 2015, and Orlando City SC coach James O'Connor will have plenty of firepower at his disposal Wednesday night.
O'Connor has his pick of world-class strikers with the reigning Golden Boot winner Josef Martinez from Atlanta United, whose 31 goals last year is a single-season record, this year's leader in LAFC's Carlos Vela, who was voted captain of this year's squad, Swedish icon Zlatan Ibrahimovic from the LA Galaxy, D.C. United's Wayne Rooney, who has 11 goals and seven assists this year, and San Jose's Chris Wondolowski, who became the MLS goals king earlier this season.
There’s also playmakers and many more additional scoring threats in the midfield, including the Atlanta duo of Ezequiel Barco and Pity Martinez, Orlando's own Nani, MLS assist leader Maxi Moralez from New York City FC and dueling Los Angeles standouts Jonathan dos Santos and Mark-Anthony Kaye. Need some bite? Look no further than one of the league's best defensive midfielders in Portland's Diego Chara.
The reigning Europa League champions, Atletico Madrid close out a successful preseason run in the United States against the MLS All-Stars. Diego Simeone's squad come off a stunning 7-3 win over rival Real Madrid in the International Champions Cup at MetLife Stadium Friday night. Costa struck for a first-half hat trick in a four-goal performance, Felix, Angel Correa and Vitolo each scored for Atleti, which raced out to a 6-0 lead after 51 minutes.
After playing in the MLS All-Star Game, Atletico, which also beat Chivas de Guadalajara on penalty kicks following a scoreless draw, will meet Atletico San Luis in Mexico before taking on Juventus, last year's MLS All-Star Game participant, in Stockholm as part of the ICC.
All-Star Game History
Atletico becomes just the second team from La Liga to appear in the event, after crosstown rivals Real Madrid played in the 2017 edition in Chicago.
This year’s All-Star Game will be the 16th time that an elite international club has played the MLS All-Stars. The MLS All-Stars are 8-4-3 record against some of the world’s most decorated clubs.
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)