It has arrived, the most polarizing day in the Major League Soccer season: the MLS All-Star game. Many fans vocally dislike the game, and there is some truth that the league has grown past needing to have this sort of exhibition to promote its players.
There is also a strong argument that in a Gold Cup year where eleven of the players originally called up for All-Star game festivities (including Homegrown game) just returned from the tournament. Leagues like the NHL take All-Star breaks during Olympic years, after all.
However, setting all of that aside and in recognizing that tonight’s game will happen regardless, it is kind of cool to see MLS players measure up against the World’s best. Real Madrid come into this game fresh off a season where they won the UEFA Champions League, La Liga title and FIFA Club World Cup.
Sure, they aren’t bringing Cristiano Ronaldo, and the stars who do play will do so at less than full pace. But playing against that calibre of player is always a good test.
Toronto FC Angle
Toronto FC, as has become a seemingly annual tradition, is sending all three of its designated players to the 2017 MLS All-Star game. The main goal from a club perspective is keeping all three healthy, especially Sebastian Giovinco who has been dealing with injuries all season.
Beyond that, it should be fun to see how Toronto’s attackers mesh with other stars from around the league. Seeing David Villa and Giovinco together in particular would be quite the sight.
Michael Bradley, on the other hand, has a nice cast of midfielders to play alongside as well including US men’s national team teammates Dax McCarty and Kellyn Acosta. Seeing Bastian Schweinsteiger and Bradley together is another dream combo. That is the fun in these games, after all.
Major League Soccer
Goalkeepers: Tim Howard, Andre Blake, Stefan Frei
Defenders: DeMarcus Beasley, Greg Garza, Hernán Grana, Matt Hedges, Johan Kappelhof, Michael Parkhurst, Jelle Van Damme, Graham Zusi
Midfielders: Kellyn Acosta, Miguel Almirón, Michael Bradley, Giovani Dos Santos, Kaká, Dax McCarty, Ignacio Piatti, Bastian Schweinsteiger, Diego Valeri
Forwards: Jozy Altidore, Dom Dwyer, Sebastian Giovinco, Nemanja Nikolić, David Villa
Goalkeepers: Keylor Navas, Kiko Casilla, Rubén Yáñez, Luca Zidane
Defenders: Sergio Ramos, Dani Carvajal, Raphaël Varane, Nacho, Marcelo, Theo Hernàndez, Luismi Quezada, Àlvaro Tejero, Achraf Hakimi, Manu Hernando
Midfielders: Toni Kroos, Casemiro, Luka Modrić, Isco, Mateo Kovačić, Marco Asensio, Óscar, Frachu
Forwards: Karim Benzema, Gareth Bale, Lucas Vázquez, Dani Gómez
Stadium: Soldier Field Chicago, Illinois
Kick-Off time: 8:00 P.m. Eastern
TV: TSN, FS1, Univision, TVAS
Streaming: TSN Go