2017 MLS All-Star Game: MLS All-Stars vs Real Madrid
Soldier Field, Chicago – Wednesday, August 2nd – 20:30 ET (01:30 BST)
Match Odds: MLS All-Stars 21/5 – Draw 3/1 – Real Madrid 7/10
MLS All-Stars vs Real Madrid: Preview
The 2017 MLS-All Stars take on Real Madrid on Wednesday night in the 22nd annual MLS All-Star game. North America’s finest soccer talents will have to try and topple the current European champions, with the sides clashing at Soldier Field in Chicago.
Real Madrid’s outlook
It’s the first time the best of MLS will come up against Spanish opponents, and Real Madrid arrive as the best club side in world football. That’s proven by the fact they’ve won back-to-back Champions League titles. They also won their first La Liga title in five years in 2016/17. They became the first side to score in every La Liga game on their way to glory.
Wednesday’s game will be Real Madrid’s final preseason warmup before they return to competitive action. Zinedine Zidane’s side face Manchester United in the UEFA Super Cup next Tuesday. They then face Barcelona over two legs for the Spanish Super Cup before the new La Liga season begins on August 20.
The haven’t had the best of summers, in terms of preseason results. They failed to win any of their three International Champions Cup matches. A penalty shootout loss to Manchester United in Santa Clara was followed by a 4-1 defeat to Manchester City in Los Angeles. They then fell 3-2 to Barcelona in Miami before flying to Chicago to prepare for the All-Star game.
MLS All-Stars outlook
The MLS All-Stars lost their first game since 2013 last year. They fell 2-1 to Arsenal in San Jose and will want to bounce back with a win against the Spanish giants here.
Major League Soccer is continuing to improve with every season. The quality of the league gets better with each season. The All-Star game is the best chance for the league to showcase that to the world.
— Paul Tenorio (@PaulTenorio) July 31, 2017
Chicago Fire head coach Veljko Paunovic will lead the star-studded MLS All-Stars this year. He is enjoying a fine season in charge of Chicago. But he now has to try and beat the world’s best team with a squad of players that have had just three days to prepare for the game together.
Ultimately, this is an exhibition game. But the stars of MLS will want to show the world how far the league has come. The All-Stars are expected to lose. But a win would further highlight the giant strides being made across the Atlantic.
MLS All-Stars vs Real Madrid: Team News
Veljko Paunovic has a mix of world-renowned talent, US national team heroes and young stars to represent the best of MLS. Commissioner Don Garber has picked Dom Dwyer and Kellyn Acosta to represent the All-Stars, and they form part of a strong 24-man squad. Former Real Madrid galactico Kaka has never played against Real Madrid, so Wednesday’s match will be a special occasion for him. David Villa was a long-time rival to Real Madrid during his time with Valencia, Atletico and Barcelona. He has played 28 games against Real – more than against any other club in world football. Bastian Schweinsteiger will captain the All-Stars.
|Position||MLS All-Stars Squad|
|Defenders||Beasley, Garza, Grana, Hedges, Kappelhof, Parkhurst, Van Damme, Zusi|
|Midfielders||Acosta, Almiron, Bradley, Dos Santos, Kaka, McCarty, Piatti, Schweinsteiger, Valeri|
|Forwards||Altidore, Dwyer, Giovinco, Nikolic, Villa|
Real Madrid won’t be able to call on star man Cristiano Ronaldo. The current Ballon d’Or holder hasn’t been apart of the team’s preseason tour. That’s because of his participation in the Confederations Cup with Portugal. However, the European champions still have some of the world’s finest talents to call on. The likes of Sergio Ramos, Marcelo, Toni Kroos, Luka Modric, Gareth Bale and Karim Benzema are all set to play at Soldier Field on Wednesday. Several young players have been used by Zidane on the tour and they will be expected to see some action in the later stages of the match.
|Position||Real Madrid Squad|
|Goalkeepers||Navas, Casilla, Yanez, L. Zidane|
|Defenders||Carvajal, Ramos, Varane, Nacho, Marcelo, Theo Hernandez, Quezada, Tejero, Achraf, Manu|
|Midfielders||Kroos, Casemiro, Modric, Isco, Ceballos, Kovacic, Oscar, Franchu|
|Forwards||Benzema, Bale, Vazquez, Gomez, Mayoral|
MLS All-Stars vs Real Madrid: Key Points
MLS All-Stars last five games: W/L/W/W/L
Real Madrid’s last games: W/W/D/L/L
Key Stat: The MLS All-Stars have scored in 11 of their 12 All-Star games against European opponents since the format was introduced in 2005. The only year in which they failed to score was 2011 in a 4-0 loss to Manchester United.
Key Player: Sebastian Giovinco – Picking one player as the key man in a game that will be littered with stars is almost impossible. But Giovinco comes into the game having set an MLS record with his 10th free-kick goal in Sunday’s 4-0 win over NYCFC. That was also his 50th MLS goal. He has set Major League Soccer alight since moving to Toronto in 2015. If anyone is likely to tear the Madrid defence apart it’s The Atomic Ant.
Giovinco's overall #MLS record (inc. playoffs) is just breathtaking…
🐜 85 Games.
⚽️ 54 Goals.
🎯 40 Assists.
— MLSGB (@MLSGB_) July 31, 2017
MLS All-Stars vs Real Madrid: Prediction
MLS All-Stars 2-1 Real Madrid – The absence of Ronaldo will obviously be huge for Real Madrid. He’s their best player and is arguably the best in the world. But Real Madrid are still incredible strong without him. The worry for the visitors is that they have been in poor form on their US tour this summer. The All-Stars will look to take advantage of that. They are in the middle of the MLS season, meaning they are at optimum fitness. They also have a huge array of talent to call on. Don’t be surprised to see them beat Los Blancos on Wednesday night.