The Bianconeri will be heading stateside this summer to face the MLS All-Stars at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta and for our fans who may not be familiar with this annual summer showcase, here are ten things to know about the MLS All-Star Game:
10 things to know about the MLS All-Star Game
The MLS All-Star game is a spectacle of everything you’d except from an American summer sporting centerpiece. Get ready for fireworks, a half-time show and much more around this big-time match.
This is the 14th year in a row for the All-Stars to face an international side and they’ve got a 7-2-4 record having beaten teams like Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Tottenham and Celtic.
The 2018 MLS All-Star Game will be one of the biggest events yet at the newly-opened Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The home of Atlanta United FC and the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons is set to host the next Super Bowl in February 2019 and cost more than $1.5 billion to build.
The stadium features two unique aspects, an eight-panel retractable roof that opens and closes similar to a pinwheel, and a one-of-a-kind halo video board above the pitch that measures 18 by 335 meters.
A city that has long been one of the centers of American football, soccer has taken over the ATL with the introduction of Atlanta United FC. Beginning play in MLS last season, United broke the MLS single-season average attendance record averaging over 48,000 fans per match.
In 2018, the crowds have gotten even bigger as they broke their own MLS single-match attendance record just a few weeks ago with 72,035 tickets sold for an 11 March game against D.C. United.
Not only will this match be shown nationally across the United States on ESPN, the biggest sports network in the country, but it will be shown internationally in more than 170 countries around the world.
Two Juventus players have featured in an MLS All-Star Game before as both Miralem Pjanic and Medhi Benatia started Roma’s 3-1 win over the All-Stars in the 2013 edition. Benatia played all 90 minutes while Pjanic played 63 minutes.
Last year’s All-Star team that drew 1-1 against Real Madrid featured plenty of players who will be familiar to Bianconeri including Juventus academy product Sebastian Giovinco as well as former Roma midfielder Michael Bradley.
Long-time Spanish forward David Villa and Brazilian legend Kaka also featured on the team as well as German World Cup winner Bastian Schweinsteiger. This year’s MLS All-Star squad will be named in the summer in the weeks before the match.
The host city of the match will be Atlanta, the capital of Georgia, a metropolitan area of nearly six million people. Atlanta will perhaps be best-remembered as the host of the 1996 Olympic Games while the city has long played a prominent role in the American civil rights movement.
If you’ve flown into the United States, odds are that you’ve perhaps flown through Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport which, given the central location, has been the world’s busiest airport since 1998.
As with most summer friendlies, if there’s one thing you can bank on it’s plenty of goals. The last ten All-Star Games have averaged 3.8 goals scored.
MLS will host a week of events in Atlanta surrounding the game, including concerts, community service initiatives, player appearances, as well as an additional showcase match featuring the best young players from across the league.