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 or selected players from another league. 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 9–8 record in the competition, which generally marks the season's midpoint. Players are awarded roster spots through a combination of fan voting and selections by the appointed manager and league commissioner.

MLS All-Star Game
RegionMajor League Soccer (CONCACAF)
Number of teams2
Current championsEngland Arsenal F.C.
(2nd title)
Most successful club(s)United StatesCanada MLS All-Stars (11 titles)
Television broadcastersMLS Season Pass
2023 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 MLS Next All-Star Game, which debuted in 2014 as the Homegrown Game.[1]

History edit

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 Brazil 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, was 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]

In August 2005, an 18-player all-star team squad named the "MLS Select Team" competed in the Trofeo Santiago Bernabéu, a friendly hosted by Real Madrid at the Santiago Bernabéu Stadium in Madrid. The All-Star team, coached by Steve Nicol, lost 5–0 after being given only two days to prepare between normal league matches.[6]

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.[7] Players who are picked to play in the All-Star Game but refuse to join the team are suspended from one league match.[8]

Roster edit

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.[9]

Skills Challenge edit

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.[10] The older version of the skills challenge was retired in 2001 and featured other events, including "goalie wars" and soccer tennis.[11]

Results by team edit

Team Won Lost Total
   MLS All-Stars 11 9 20
  MLS East 5[a] 1 6
  MLS West 2[a] 4 6
  Arsenal 2 2
  Manchester United 2 2
  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 All-Stars 2 2
  1. ^ a b One tie that is counted as a shared win.

Results by nation edit

Team Winner Runner-up Total
  United States 17 16 33
  Canada 11 9 20
  England 5 5 10
  Italy 2 2
  Spain 2 2
  Germany 1 1
  Mexico 2 2
  Scotland 1 1
  World 1 1

Results by year edit

"East vs. West" (1996–1997) edit

July 14, 1996 1996 MLS All-Star Game MLS East   3–2   MLS West Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, New Jersey
Ramos   14'
Savarese   69'
Pittman   88'
Report Preki   33'
Kreis   37'
Attendance: 78,416
Referee: Kevin Stott
MVP: Carlos Valderrama

"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 García   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 RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.
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
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
Dos Santos  
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
  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" (2021–2022) 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
Note: Originally scheduled for July 29, 2020; postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[12]
August 10, 2022 2022 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars     2–1   Liga MX All-Stars Allianz Field, Saint Paul, Minnesota
20:30 ET
Attendance: 19,727
Referee: Joe Dickerson
MVP: Dayne St. Clair

Recent editions edit

July 19, 2023 2023 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars     0–5   Arsenal Audi Field, Washington, D.C.
20:30 ET Report
Attendance: 20,621
Referee: Ted Unkel
MVP: Bukayo Saka

Future editions edit

2025 2025 MLS All-Star Game MLS All-Stars     v TBD Q2 Stadium, Austin, Texas
--:-- ET

Most Valuable Player edit

As of 2023[14][15]
Ed. Winner Nationality Position Team MLS club
1996 Carlos Valderrama   Colombia Midfielder   MLS East Tampa Bay Mutiny
1997 Carlos Valderrama   Colombia Midfielder   MLS East Tampa Bay Mutiny
1998 Brian McBride   United States Forward   MLS USA Columbus Crew
1999 Preki   United States Midfielder   MLS West Kansas City Wizards
2000 Mamadou Diallo   Senegal Forward   MLS East Tampa Bay Mutiny
2001 Landon Donovan   United States Forward   MLS West San Jose Earthquakes
2002 Marco Etcheverry   Bolivia Forward   MLS All-Stars D.C. United
2003 Carlos Ruiz   Guatemala Forward   MLS All-Stars LA Galaxy
2004 Amado Guevara   Honduras Midfielder   MLS East NY/NJ Metrostars
2005 Taylor Twellman   United States Forward   MLS All-Stars New England Revolution
2006 Dwayne De Rosario   Canada Midfielder   MLS All-Stars Houston Dynamo
2007 Juan Pablo Ángel   Colombia Forward    MLS All-Stars New York Red Bulls
2008 Cuauhtémoc Blanco   Mexico Forward    MLS All-Stars Chicago Fire
2009 Tim Howard   United States Goalkeeper   Everton
2010 Federico Macheda   Italy Forward   Manchester United
2011 Park Ji-sung   South Korea Midfielder   Manchester United
2012 Chris Pontius   United States Midfielder    MLS All-Stars D.C. United
2013 Alessandro Florenzi   Italy Defender   Roma
2014 Landon Donovan   United States Forward    MLS All-Stars LA Galaxy
2015 Kaká   Brazil Midfielder    MLS All-Stars Orlando City SC
2016 Chuba Akpom   England Forward   Arsenal
2017 Borja Mayoral   Spain Forward   Real Madrid
2018 Josef Martínez   Venezuela Forward    MLS All-Stars Atlanta United FC
2019 Marcos Llorente   Spain Midfielder   Atlético Madrid
2020 Canceled due to COVID-19 pandemic[16]
2021 Matt Turner[17]   United States Goalkeeper    MLS All-Stars New England Revolution
2022 Dayne St. Clair[18]   Canada Goalkeeper    MLS All-Stars Minnesota United FC
2023 Bukayo Saka[19]   England Forward   Arsenal

Broadcasting edit

Since 2023, rights for the MLS All-Star Game have been held by Apple TV+. The match and associated events are broadcast in English, French, and Spanish on MLS Season Pass;[20] the 2023 edition was made free to stream.[21]

The U.S. broadcast in English alternated between ESPN and Fox from 2015 to 2022, with the networks also alternating the MLS Cup.[22][23] In even numbered years, ESPN has broadcast the All-Star Game[24] while Fox would broadcast the MLS Cup. Likewise, in odd numbered years, Fox would be slated to broadcast the All-Star Game[25][26] while ESPN or its sister network, ABC beginning in 2019, would broadcast the MLS Cup.

References edit

  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. ^ Froh, Tim (September 23, 2015). "When the MLS all-stars played Real Madrid: 'We got set up for failure'". The Guardian. Retrieved January 1, 2023.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ Mendola, Nicholas (July 30, 2018). "Zlatan suspended one match for skipping MLS All Star Game". NBC Sports. Retrieved December 19, 2019.
  9. ^ "MLS announces 2014 MLS All-Star Game roster". US Soccer Players. July 21, 2014. Retrieved August 7, 2014.
  10. ^ "New MLS All-Star Skills Challenge presented by Target" (Press release). Major League Soccer. July 1, 2019. Retrieved December 19, 2019.
  11. ^ "MLS brings back the skills challenge". US Soccer Players. July 30, 2019. Retrieved December 19, 2019.
  12. ^ "MLS All-Star Game, Leagues Cup and Campeones Cup canceled for 2020" (Press release). Major League Soccer. May 19, 2020. Retrieved May 19, 2020.
  13. ^ "MLS vs. LIGA MX: 2024 MLS All-Star Game set for July in Columbus". March 4, 2024. Retrieved March 4, 2024.
  14. ^ Elias Sports Bureau, Stats Perform (January 2023). "2023 Fact and Record Book". Major League Soccer. pp. 161–167. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  15. ^ "How the MLS All-Star Game works". Arsenal F.C. March 21, 2023. Retrieved December 19, 2023.
  16. ^ "MLS All-Star Game, Leagues Cup and Campeones Cup canceled for 2020". May 20, 2020. Archived from the original on November 23, 2022. Retrieved July 21, 2023.
  17. ^ "Matt Turner named MLS All-Star Game MVP pres. by Target after PK heroics". August 26, 2021. Archived from the original on January 7, 2023. Retrieved July 21, 2023.
  18. ^ "Dayne St. Clair Named MVP at the 2022 MLS All-Star Game". Canada Soccer. August 10, 2022. Archived from the original on July 21, 2023. Retrieved July 21, 2023.
  19. ^ "Arsenal F.C. Defeats MLS All-Stars in the 2023 MLS All-Star Game". July 20, 2023. Archived from the original on July 21, 2023. Retrieved July 21, 2023.
  20. ^ "MLS Season Pass Will Provide Enhanced Coverage for the 2023 MLS All-Star Game and All-Star Skills Challenge vs. Arsenal FC at Audi Field in Washington, DC" (Press release). Major League Soccer. July 10, 2023. Retrieved July 20, 2023.
  21. ^ Reineking, Jim (July 18, 2023). "MLS All-Star Game vs. Arsenal: Rosters, game time, how to watch on live stream". USA Today. Retrieved July 20, 2023.
  22. ^ Yoder, Matt (July 31, 2015). "MLS All-Star Game takes a big hit on Fox Sports 1". Awful Announcing.
  23. ^ Nwulu, Mac (July 25, 2016). "ESPN Presents the 2016 MLS All-Star Game". ESPN Press Room.
  24. ^ Nwulu, Mac (July 26, 2018). "ESPN Presents 2018 MLS All-Star Game from Atlanta". ESPN Press Room.
  25. ^ "MLS All-Stars Mic'd Up for Live In-Game Broadcast". Fox Sports. July 31, 2019.
  26. ^ "MLS announces Atletico Madrid as opponent for 2019 MLS All-Star Game".