The 2018 Major League Soccer All-Star game took place last night in front of a sold-out crowd in Atlanta as the all-stars faced off against a Juventus team that has won four straight Coppa Italia titles and seven straight Serie A titles.
Juventus struck first as Andrea Favilli hit a beautiful header in off a cross from Matheus Pereira. The goal came moments after goalkeeper Brad Guzan told the commentators that the all-stars could not give up free crosses.
Five minutes later Josef Martinez, who has 43 goals in two seasons in the MLS, finished a header himself in quite a theatrical way. The ball crossed into the back post, then headed across the front of the goal twice before Martinez put it in the net.
Thirty-two minutes in, Gerardo Martino subbed in two of the biggest stories in the MLS. Seventeen-year-old Alphonso Davies and nineteen-year-old Ezequiel Barco both came on the pitch to loud applause.
It didn’t take long for Barco to make his presence known as he nearly put the all-stars ahead with a volley in the 39th minute. The goalkeeper made a phenomenal save to keep the score tied.
The first half ended with the score knotted at one as the MLS all-stars maintained the better portion of possession.
Alberth Elis almost started the second half off with a goal for the all-stars as he received a pass right in front of the goal, but he buried the shot directly into the goalkeeper’s arms.
The game saw a slower pace after the 46th minute as the two teams shared a bit of back and forth possession. Both teams had chances on goal to go ahead, but penalties were ultimately needed to determine the winner.
Each team had perfectly placed penalty kicks until Bradley Wright-Phillips hit the left post allowing Juventus to go on to win the match 1 (5)- 1(3).
For the MLS to garner such a poor reputation, especially compared to European leagues, the all-stars competed very well against one of the top tier clubs from Europe. They led the game in possession, passing accuracy, and duels won.
The MLS season will resume play on August 4th with Atlanta versus Toronto FC at 3 p.m. CT.
Author: Madison Parham
Madison Parham received a B.S. in Sport and Recreation Management from the University of North Alabama in 2018. She has played soccer for fifteen years, including two years of collegiate ball at the JuCo and DII levels. She has become a regular guest of the Mississippi Sports Talk Today radio show with Craig Horton where she has interviewed legendary coaches and professional athletes from the South. She will continue at North Alabama as a graduate assistant while working toward a Master of Science in Health and Human Performance with a concentration in Sports Management. She will also direct sporting events for ESPN and Lion Vision.