Major League Soccer All-Star Game

The Major League Soccer All-Star Game is an annual soccer game held by Major League Soccer featuring selected players from the league against an international club. MLS initially adopted a traditional all-star game format used by other North American sports leagues where the Eastern Conference squared off against the Western Conference. This eventually evolved into the current system where the league annually invites a club from abroad to play against a league all-star team in a friendly match. The MLS All-Stars hold a 9–7 record in the competition marking the season's midpoint. Players are awarded rosters spots through a combination of fan voting and selections by the appointed manager and league commissioner.

MLS All-Star Game
Founded1996
RegionMajor League Soccer (CONCACAF)
Number of teams2
Current championsUnited StatesCanada MLS All-Stars (10th title)
Most successful club(s)United StatesCanada MLS All-Stars (10 titles)
Television broadcastersESPN, FS1, UniMás, Univision, TSN, TVA Sports
2021 MLS All-Star Game

In case of a tie after full-time, the game does not use a 30-minute extra time period; instead it goes straight to a penalty shoot-out. The match is preceded by a skills challenge tournament, which was introduced in 2018 and features three-player teams competing in various events. The All-Star Game also runs parallel to the Major League Soccer Homegrown Game, which debuted in 2014.[1]

HistoryEdit

Major League Soccer's first all-star game was played at Giants Stadium in the summer of 1996. The game, using an East–West format with players handpicked by the coaching staffs to emulate other American leagues, was the first game of a doubleheader with the Brazilian national team defeating a team of FIFA World All-Stars.[2][3] The matchup between divisions would only be used for six seasons as MLS tried experimenting with different formats. The 1998 All-Star Game placed a team of American MLS players against MLS players from abroad. The 2002 game, the first to use a league-wide all-star team is the only game to feature a national team opponent.[citation needed]

Since then (except in 2004), every opponent has been a foreign club invited by the league. The MLS All-Stars won their first six games before falling to Everton in penalties in 2009. All games from 2005 to 2019 have been against teams from Europe, the majority of which have been from England's Premier League. The European league schedule runs from fall to spring, allowing for a fixture against the MLS All-Stars during the preseasons of teams.[4] The 2020 All-Star Game was to be the first to feature the all-star team from another league, Liga MX; however, that game was cancelled.[5]

The roster is chosen using a mix of fan votes, nominations from the coach, and commissioner's pick. Some players, including English midfielders Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard in 2015, have been picked to participate in the All-Star Game despite not playing in club matches.[6] Players who are picked to play in the All-Star Game but refuse to join the team are suspended from one league match.[7]

RosterEdit

For 2014, ten players were chosen by All-Star Game coach Caleb Porter, eleven players were chosen by fan voting (subject to Porter's approval), and two were selected by MLS commissioner Don Garber.[8]

Skills ChallengeEdit

The modern incarnation of the MLS All-Star Skills Challenge, introduced in 2018, is a freestyle soccer event that features three-player teams competing against each other in minigames, including a touch-and-volley goal showcase, a shooting accuracy competition, and a passing-and-shooting challenge.[9] The older version of the skills challenge was retired in 2001 and featured other events, including "goalie wars" and soccer tennis.[10]

Results by teamEdit

Team Winner Runner-up Total
   MLS All-Stars 10 8 18
  MLS East 5[a] 1 6
  MLS West 2[a] 4 6
  Manchester United 2 2
  Arsenal 1 1
  Everton 1 1
  Juventus 1 1
  Roma 1 1
  Atlético Madrid 1 1
  Real Madrid 1 1
  MLS USA 1 1
  Chelsea 2 2
  Fulham 1 1
  Tottenham Hotspur 1 1
  West Ham United 1 1
  Bayern Munich 1 1
  Guadalajara 1 1
  Celtic 1 1
  MLS World 1 1
  United States 1 1
  Liga MX __ 1 1
Notes
  1. ^ a b One tie that is counted as a shared win.

Results by nationEdit

Team Winner Runner-up Total
  USA 17 14 31
  England 4 5 9
  Italy 2 2
  Spain 2 2
  Germany 1 1
  Mexico 2 2
  Scotland 1 1
  World 1 1

Results by yearEdit

"East vs. West" (1996–1997)Edit

"MLS USA vs. MLS World" (1998)Edit

August 2, 1998 1998 MLS All-Star Game MLS USA   6–1   MLS World Citrus Bowl, Orlando, Florida
T. Ramos   5'
Lalas   15'
McBride   16'
Preki   40'
Lassiter   78'
Jones   83'
Report M. Ramos   89' Attendance: 34,416
Referee: Esse Baharmast
MVP: Brian McBride

"East vs. West" (1999–2001)Edit

July 17, 1999 1999 MLS All-Star Game MLS East   4–6   MLS West Qualcomm Stadium, San Diego, California
Lassiter   1'
Moore   62' (pen.)
Valderrama   73'
John   83'
Report Preki   13'38'
Kosecki   32'
Jones   36'
Wright   84'
Cerritos   89'
Attendance: 23,227
Referee: Sandra Hunt
MVP: Preki
July 29, 2000 2000 MLS All-Star Game MLS West   4–9   MLS East Columbus Crew Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Razov   17'22'
Cienfuegos   19'
Nowak   44'
Report Mathis   2'
Moreno   36'
Valencia   39'
Chung   51'
Diallo   59'61'
Heaps   65'
Washington   67'
McBride   76'
Attendance: 23,495
Referee: Paul Tamberino
MVP: Mamadou Diallo
July 28, 2001 2001 MLS All-Star Game MLS West   6–6   MLS East Spartan Stadium, San Jose, California
Donovan   3'7'19'90+2'
Graziani   26'
Kovalenko   69'
Report Chacón   28'
McBride   34'39'
Diallo   53'
Rooney   84'
Catê   87'
Attendance: 23,512
Referee: Noel Kenney
MVP: Landon Donovan

"All-Stars vs. Guest" (2002–2003)Edit

August 3, 2002 2002 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars   3–2   United States RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.
Kreis   59'
Etcheverry   72'
Ralston   81'
Report Donovan   58'
Jones   76'
Attendance: 31,096
Referee: Brian Hall
MVP: Marco Etcheverry
August 2, 2003 2003 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars   3–1   Guadalajara Home Depot Center, Carson, California
Razov   57'
Ruiz   68'
Beasley   83'
Report Garcia   66' Attendance: 27,000
Referee: Kevin Terry
MVP: Carlos Ruiz

"East vs. West" (2004)Edit

July 31, 2004 2004 MLS All-Star Game MLS East   3–2   MLS West Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, Massachusetts
Guevara   20'22' (pen.)
Eskandarian   74'
Report Ching   43'
Kreis   89'
Attendance: 21,378
Referee: Michael Kennedy
MVP: Amado Guevara

"All-Stars vs. Europe" (2005–2019)Edit

July 30, 2005 2005 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars   4–1   Fulham Columbus Crew Stadium, Columbus, Ohio
Twellman   23'
O’Brien   56'
Cunningham   85'89'
Report Jensen   66' (pen.) Attendance: 23,309
Referee: Ricardo Valenzuela
MVP: Taylor Twellman
August 5, 2006 2006 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars   1–0   Chelsea Toyota Park, Bridgeview, Illinois
De Rosario   70' Report Attendance: 21,210
Referee: Abbey Okulaja
MVP: Dwayne De Rosario
July 19, 2007 2007 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars    2–0   Celtic Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colorado
Ángel   36'
Toja   44'
Report Attendance: 18,661
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
MVP: Juan Pablo Ángel
July 24, 2008 2008 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars    3–2   West Ham United BMO Field, Toronto, Ontario
Gómez   27'
Blanco   45'
De Rosario   70' (pen.)
Report Ashton   26'67' Attendance: 20,844
Referee: Mauricio Navarro
MVP: Cuauhtémoc Blanco
July 29, 2009 2009 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars    1–1
(3–4 p)
  Everton Rio Tinto Stadium, Sandy, Utah
Davis   26' Report Saha   12' Attendance: 20,124
Referee: Ricardo Salazar
MVP: Tim Howard
Penalties
Donovan  
Davis  
Arnaud  
Johnson  
Casey  
Ljungberg  
  Vaughan
 
  Baines
  Neville
  Lescott
  Rodwell
July 28, 2010 2010 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars    2–5   Manchester United Reliant Stadium, Houston, Texas
Ching   64'
De Rosario   90'
Report Macheda   1'13'
Gibson   70'
Cleverley   73'
Hernández   84'
Attendance: 70,728
Referee: Jorge Gonzalez
MVP: Federico Macheda
July 27, 2011 2011 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars    0–4   Manchester United Red Bull Arena, Harrison, New Jersey
Report Anderson   20'
Park Ji-sung   45'
Berbatov   52'
Welbeck   68'
Attendance: 26,760
Referee: Jair Marrufo
MVP: Park Ji-sung
July 25, 2012 2012 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars    3–2   Chelsea PPL Park, Chester, Pennsylvania
Wondolowski   21'
Pontius   73'
Johnson   90+1'
Report Terry   32'
Lampard   58'
Attendance: 19,236
Referee: Baldomero Toledo
MVP: Chris Pontius
July 31, 2013 2013 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars    1–3   Roma Sporting Park, Kansas City, Kansas
20:30 Gonzalez   90+1' Report Strootman   4'
Florenzi   47'
Tallo   68'
Attendance: 21,175
Referee: Hilario Grajeda
MVP: Alessandro Florenzi
August 6, 2014 2014 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars    2–1   Bayern Munich Providence Park, Portland, Oregon
Wright-Phillips   51'
Donovan   70'
Report Lewandowski   8' Attendance: 21,733
Referee: Jair Marrufo
MVP: Landon Donovan
July 29, 2015 2015 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars    2–1   Tottenham Hotspur Dick's Sporting Goods Park, Commerce City, Colorado
Kaká   20' (pen.)
Villa   23'
Report Kane   37' Attendance: 18,671
Referee: Ismail Elfath
MVP: Kaká
July 28, 2016 2016 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars    1–2   Arsenal Avaya Stadium, San Jose, California
Drogba   45+2' Report Campbell   10' (pen.)
Akpom   87'
Attendance: 18,000
Referee: Chris Penso
MVP: Chuba Akpom
August 2, 2017 2017 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars    1–1
(2–4 p)
  Real Madrid Soldier Field, Chicago, Illinois
Dwyer   87' Report Mayoral   59' Attendance: 61,428
Referee: Allen Chapman
MVP: Borja Mayoral
Penalties
Dwyer  
Dos Santos  
Valeri  
Almirón  
  Benzema
  Bale
  Kovačić
  Marcelo
August 1, 2018 2018 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars    1–1
(3–5 p)
  Juventus Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta, Georgia
Martínez   26' Report Favilli   21' Attendance: 72,317
Referee: Robert Sibiga
MVP: Josef Martínez
Penalties
Zusi  
Yotún  
Valeri  
Wright-Phillips  
  Fagioli
  Beltrame
  Kastanos
  Fernandes
  De Sciglio
July 31, 2019 2019 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars    0–3   Atlético Madrid Exploria Stadium, Orlando, Florida
Report Llorente   43'
Félix   85'
Costa   90+3'
Attendance: 25,527
Referee: Drew Fischer
MVP: Marcos Llorente

"All-Stars vs. Liga MX All-Stars" (2021–present)Edit

August 25, 2021 2021 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars    1–1
(3–2 p)
  Liga MX All-Stars Banc of California Stadium, Los Angeles, California
Murillo   53' Report Rodríguez   20' Attendance: 21,000
Referee: Armando Villarreal
MVP: Matt Turner, GK New England Revolution
Penalties
Note: Originally scheduled for July 29, 2020; postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[11]
August 10, 2022 2022 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars     v   Liga MX All-Stars Allianz Field, Saint Paul, Minnesota
TBA

Television coverageEdit

Since 2015,[12][13][14] English-language rights for the MLS All-Star Game have alternated between ESPN[15][16] and Fox.[17][18] In even numbered years, ESPN has broadcast the All-Star Game[19] while Fox would broadcast the MLS Cup. Likewise, in odd numbered years, Fox would be slated to broadcast the All-Star Game[20][21] while ESPN or its sister network, ABC beginning in 2019, would broadcast the MLS Cup. This arrangement[22][23] will stay in place until at least, the 2022 season.

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ Tansey, Joe (July 30, 2019). "MLS rallies from behind to win Homegrown Game". Pro Soccer USA. Retrieved December 19, 2019.
  2. ^ Stephenson, Colinwas (July 14, 1996). "Soccer Fans Get Their Kicks With 2 All-star Games Today". NY Daily News. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  3. ^ Yannis, Alex (July 16, 1996). "SOCCER REPORT". The New York Times. Retrieved July 15, 2012.
  4. ^ Tansey, Joe (August 1, 2019). "MLS All-Stars ponder adjustments to All-Star Game format". Pro Soccer USA. Retrieved December 19, 2019.
  5. ^ Baxter, Kevin (November 18, 2019). "MLS All-Stars will play top Liga MX players next summer at Banc of California Stadium". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 19, 2019.
  6. ^ Williams, Bob (July 14, 2015). "Frank Lampard and Steven Gerrard selections for MLS All-Star Game 2015 make perfect sense". The Telegraph. Archived from the original on July 18, 2015. Retrieved December 19, 2019.
  7. ^ Mendola, Nicholas (July 30, 2018). "Zlatan suspended one match for skipping MLS All Star Game". NBC Sports. Retrieved December 19, 2019.
  8. ^ "MLS announces 2014 MLS All-Star Game roster". US Soccer Players. July 21, 2014. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  9. ^ "New MLS All-Star Skills Challenge presented by Target" (Press release). Major League Soccer. July 1, 2019. Retrieved December 19, 2019.
  10. ^ "MLS brings back the skills challenge". US Soccer Players. July 30, 2019. Retrieved December 19, 2019.
  11. ^ "MLS All-Star Game, Leagues Cup and Campeones Cup canceled for 2020" (Press release). Major League Soccer. May 19, 2020. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  12. ^ "FOX Sports Sets Announcers for 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star Game". Fox Sports. July 24, 2015.
  13. ^ Yoder, Matt (July 31, 2015). "MLS All-Star Game takes a big hit on Fox Sports 1". Awful Announcing.
  14. ^ "EPL club Tottenham Hotspur announced as opponents for 2015 AT&T MLS All-Star Game" (Press release). Major League Soccer. April 15, 2015. Retrieved April 15, 2015.
  15. ^ Nwulu, Mac (July 25, 2016). "ESPN Presents the 2016 MLS All-Star Game". ESPN Press Room.
  16. ^ "San Jose's Avaya Stadium to host 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Game" (Press release). Major League Soccer. May 28, 2015.
  17. ^ "Global Soccer Icons Ronaldo, Villa, Bale & Kaka Collide at 2017 MLS All-Star Game on FS1". Fox Sports. July 20, 2017.
  18. ^ Zeitlin, Dave (February 1, 2017). "Chicago's Soldier Field unveiled as location for 2017 MLS All-Star Game". Major League Soccer. Retrieved February 1, 2017.
  19. ^ Nwulu, Mac (July 26, 2018). "ESPN Presents 2018 MLS All-Star Game from Atlanta". ESPN Press Room.
  20. ^ "MLS All-Stars Mic'd Up for Live In-Game Broadcast". Fox Sports. July 31, 2019.
  21. ^ "MLS announces Atletico Madrid as opponent for 2019 MLS All-Star Game". www.mlssoccer.com.
  22. ^ "MLS, U.S. Soccer sign landmark TV and media rights partnerships with ESPN, FOX & Univision Deportes". MLSSoccer.com. Major League Soccer. May 13, 2014. Retrieved May 18, 2014.
  23. ^ "MLS's big play". Sports Business Journal. Retrieved March 8, 2015.