MLS All-Stars vs Juventus: 2018 MLS All-Star Game Preview and Prediction

2018 MLS All-Star Game: MLS All-Stars vs Juventus

Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Atlanta – Wednesday, August 1st 2018 – 19:30 ET (00:30 BST)

UK TV Coverage: Live on Sky Sports Main Event

MLS All-Stars vs Juventus: Preview

The best in MLS will take on Italy’s finest club side in the 2018 MLS All-Star Game in Atlanta on Wednesday. This will be the 23rd annual All-Star game and could break the attendance record with a full house expected at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. The current All-Star attendance record is 70,728, set back in 2010 when fans packed into Houston’s Reliant Stadium to watch the MLS All-Stars take on Manchester United.

The MLS All-Stars are looking to win the game for the first time in three years after losing on penalties to Real Madrid this time last year. Prior to that, they fell 2-1 to Arsenal. The All-Stars last won the game in 2015, beating Spurs 2-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

This year’s All-Star team is stacked with attacking talent, even after Zlatan Ibrahimovic and David Villa have had to pull out. The likes of Atlanta’s own Josef Martinez, Miguel Almiron and Ezequiel Barco will look to link up with fellow attackers Carlos Vela, Bradley Wright-Phillips and former Juventus star Sebastian Giovinco.

Head coach Tata Martino will set his side up to attack Juventus – a team renowned for their defensive prowess The Bianconeri have added a monumental attacking threat of their own this summer in Cristiano Ronaldo but the 33-year-old will not be ready to make his debut on Wednesday.

Juve are busy preparing for the 2018/19 Serie A season as they will look to retain their league title for the eighth successive year. They are also the reigning Coppa Italia champions and only the second Serie A side to ever take on the All-Stars, following AS Roma in 2013 – a game the All-Stars lost 3-1.

This will be the third of four Juventus preseason games in the United States. They have played two of their three International Champions Cup matches, beating Bayern Munich 2-0 before drawing 1-1 with Benfica, a game they won 4-2 on penalties. They will round off their ICC games when they face Real Madrid on Saturday but all focus is on the All-Star game ahead of that.

Ibrahimovic pulled out of the All-Star game on Sunday night after scoring his first hat-trick for LA Galaxy. That was as a result of playing three matches in a week. David Villa also misses out with injury. Minnesota United’s Darwin Quintero and New York Red Bulls’ Tyler Adams are the replacements.

MLS All-Stars vs Juventus: Team News

MLS All-Stars

Position 2018 MLS All-Star Squad
Goalkeepers Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew)
Defenders Francisco Calvo (Minnesota United), Laurent Ciman (LAFC), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls), Michael Murillo (New York Red Bulls), Michael Parkhurst (Atlanta United), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Midfielders Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United), Ezequiel Barco (Atlanta United), Alphonso Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Jonathan Dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Alberth Elis (Houston Dynamo), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact), Alexander Ring (New York City FC), Ilie Sanchez (Sporting Kansas City), Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers), Yoshimar Yotún (Orlando City SC), Wilfried Zahibo (New England Revolution)
Forwards Giovani Dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Josef Martinez (Atlanta United), Darwin Quintero (Minnesota United), Carlos Vela (LAFC), Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls)Juventus

Juventus

Position 2018 Juventus Preseason Squad
Goalkeepers Wojciech Szczesny, Mattia Perin, Carlo Pinsoglio, Mattia Del Favero
Defenders Mattia De Sciglio, Giorgio Chiellini, Mehdi Benatia, Alex Sandro, Mattia Caldara, Andrea Barzagli, Joao Cancelo, Daniele Rugani, Pietro Beruatto, Roman Macek, Grigoris Kastanos
Midfielders Miralem Pjanic, Sami Khedira, Claudio Marchisio, Emre Can, Leandro Fernandes, Matheus Pereira da Silva, Alessandro Di Pardo, Nicolo Fagioli
Forwards Federico Bernardeschi, Luca Clemenza, Stefano Beltrame, Andrea Favilli

MLS All-Stars vs Juventus: Key Stats

MLS All-Stars’ last five: L/L/W/L/D

Juventus’ preseason form: W/D

Key stat: Both sides have scored in each of the past six MLS All-Star games. There have been 29 goals scored in the past eight editions of the match – an average of 3.6 per game.

MLS All-Stars vs Juventus: Prediction

MLS All-Stars 3-2 Juventus: This has all the makings of being a spectacle. The All-Stars have an abundance of attacking talent and will have to set up to attack the Italian giants. However, that could lead to an open game and Juventus have more than enough weapons themselves to unleash. Either way, this should be full of goals and we think the All-Stars have enough to edge it. Don’t be surprised to see former Juve man Giovinco score the decisive goal…

Advertisements

Would this £50m striker answer Manchester United’s goalscoring problems?

Manchester United‘s goalscoring problems have been well documented by pundits and fans alike throughout this season. The summer transfer window is fast approaching and there have already been plenty of players linked to United.

According to Tuttosport.com, Alvaro Morata is a striker Manchester United are looking into. Any sale of the 23-year-old Spaniard would not come through Juventus directly. Tuttosport highlight United would be prepared to offer a figure around £50 million for the forward.

Morata has a buy-back clause of £24 million from his former club Real Madrid, who could well be tempted into resigning their former man to sell on to potential suitors for profit.

If United are interested in signing Morata as the reports state, Madrid would potentially stand to make a whopping £26 million if they were to exercise their right to buy him back from Juventus.

Embed from Getty Images

But is he the right man to lead Manchester United’s frontline? Lets have a look at his statistics.

Morata vs United forward

Morata 2015/16 league stats compared to Martial, Rooney and Rashford

As we can see, Morata made the most appearances in his domestic league compared to the three United strikers in question above. However, the only area he outperformed any of them was in assists.

Anthony Martial scored the most of the strikers compared with 11 goals coming in three less appearances than the Juve man. Marcus Rashford had the highest shot accuracy, though this is unsurprising given his substantially lower amount of games played. Wayne Rooney had the highest pass accuracy and created more chances than the other three strikers listed.

Manchester United’s Martial had the highest direct involvement with goals for his side, combining with his assists to tally at 15. Morata and Rooney came in joint second, with 14 each and Rashford had the lowest output with seven.

Embed from Getty Images

It is worth mentioning that these comparisons are only an indication of the output all four of the strikers in question, though it is difficult to make an exact comparison given the differing number of appearances.

With the stats presented in mind it would be hard to make a case for United to spend anywhere near £50 million on the Juventus forward and there would more than likely be a number of other candidates whose comparable statistics would provide a better option for the club this summer.

Morata’s strike rate is one goal in every 4.85 games, which in comparison to Rooney – who has had his fair share of critics this season despite an injury-stricken campaign – is worse, as the United captain has averaged a goal in every 3.5 games.

Embed from Getty Images

Martial and Rashford have had far less criticism than Rooney and their statistics better both Rooney and Morata’s. Martial is averaging a goal every 2.8 games, while Rashford’s output is one in every 2.2 outings.

It is clear from the United strikers in question that the squad needs an out-and-out goalscorer in this window. This would take some of the pressure off of the young shoulders of Martial and Rashford but would also give them another quality teammate to learn from.

Given these statistics Morata doesn’t look the right option for United, but as we all know, stats don’t tell the full story in football.

Would Manchester United be wrong to make a move for Morata? Who should they be going after in the summer transfer window?

Is this Juventus legend set for MLS stint and future LAFC involvement?

Juventus legend, Alessandro Del Piero, has been talking up his change of lifestyle since moving to Los Angeles last August.

He attended the proposal for the Los Angeles FC stadium this week and ESPN reported his first interview since he has moved to LA.

Del Piero, 40, said he attended the proposal as a friend of some of the owners. His words are suggestive in potential future involvement in the club, but it will be more likely as a coach or member of staff given that he will turn 43 in LAFC’s proposed first season.

Embed from Getty Images

“I went only as a friend because I know some of the owners. So we haven’t talked about a role for me. It’s been beautiful to see to the birth of the team in these months and to follow up close everything that’s happening since Chivas [USA] left. I didn’t want to miss the chance to see the launch of something as important as a new stadium.”

Del Piero, like many others, has realised the potential of growth in MLS and believes soccer is only on the up.

“They are bringing enthusiasm, jobs and great attention for Los Angeles. I believe Los Angeles will finally have two big teams and I’m convinced that soccer can still get much better in the U.S. and also in Los Angeles.”

Embed from Getty Images

Del Piero’s former Juventus teammate Sebastian Giovinco moved to Toronto this season and has impressed in the early stages of his MLS career and big name players and definitely helping the league’s growth.

The quality of MLS is impressing the all-time leading Juventus appearance maker and goalscorer and he believes soccer is going from strength-to-strength. He is also impressed with how teams deal with the physical demands of MLS and believes the level of players, investment and attention is helping no-end.

“Very physical soccer, demanding because of the road trips, which are very long. There are high-quality players. I’m thinking of Kaka and David Villa, the latest to arrive, and obviously, the national team players, like Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones. I believe the level has improved a lot in recent years. The investments are paying off and the attention they are bringing to soccer [is] great. I’m optimistic about soccer in the U.S.”

Embed from Getty Images

The four-time Champions League finalist has dropped a hint at a possible MLS swansong and is keeping himself in good shape as isn’t ready to hang up his boots just yet.

“I continue to work out. I follow a training program and stay in shape. There are friendlies to play in the coming months for charity and so, we’ll see. One thing is certain: In my heart I want to keep playing. We have to see if I can get the right situation. The options I have now are not right for me at this time. There are places in the world I could go, but there are other considerations, including family. So I apologise to people who are interested in me but maybe I’ll find the right situation in the next month or two. We’ll see.”

Del Piero’s comments are promising for those who are hoping he will have a stint in MLS and he has certainly dropped a hint that he will be involved with LAFC at some point.

Should Del Piero play a season in MLS and is it exciting that yet another legend wants to be involved in the fastest growing league in the world?