MLS All-Star Game

Nathan Denette/The Canadian Press via AP

MLS, Liga MX cancel three major events including MLS All Star Game

Leave a comment

Major League Soccer and Liga MX have canceled three major events as both outfits focus on the possibilities of league play after the coronavirus pandemic.

The MLS All-Star Game against the Liga MX All Stars joins The Leagues Cup and the Campeones Cup in being canceled. All three events were set for July or later on the calendar.

[ VIDEO: Premier League highlights ]

MLS announced that the Leagues Cup and Campeones Cup will return in 2021, and that it is hopeful of hosting the Liga MX All-Stars for the 2021 All-Star Game in Los Angeles.

The league stopped short of guaranteeing the matchup, but said it’s expecting to see the same showcase.

MLS played two match days in March before suspending the season over the coronavirus pandemic, while Liga MX played 10 rounds of its Clausura season before stopping for the same reason.

The CONCACAF Champions League is the next big shoe to drop, as the entire competition was set to finish by May 7. Three of the four quarterfinal first legs were played, with four MLS teams, three Liga MX sides, and Honduras’ Olimpia still in the competition.

It’s by far the most important competition of the four above, as the winner represents CONCACAF in the Club World Cup and there will be two Club World Cups within six months: December 2020 in Qatar and June 2021 in China.

MLS takes big step with All-Star Game update

Major League Soccer
1 Comment

For the first time since 2004, the Major League Soccer All-Star team has a new opponent.

In a press conference in Los Angeles, MLS commissioner Don Garber and Liga MX executive president Enrique Bonilla jointly made the announcement that the 2020 MLS All-Star Game would test the best players from MLS against the top stars in Liga MX, with the match set to take place on July 29 at Los Angeles FC’s Banc of California Stadium.

The news of MLS taking on the Liga MX all-stars is the realization of an idea that has been floated by fans and media members for the last few years. The annual MLS All-Stars vs. club giant had grown stale in recent years, especially since those clubs weren’t ever incentivized to take the game seriously. Big stars might have only played one half, if at all, as they built match fitness for the start of their seasons in Europe, and it ultimately is a bad marker for MLS.

If MLS really wants to compare itself with other top leagues in the world, then there’s no better an opponent than Liga MX. The Mexican first division has continued to basically wipe the floor with MLS clubs in the CONCACAF Champions League, though this season Atlanta United did triumph over Club America in the Campeones Cup.

In addition, MLS may have a decent chance to beat Liga MX in an all-star game. The talent at the very top of MLS is arguably higher than in Mexico, though the Liga MX clubs are stacked with talent in the middle of the rosters, which is where MLS clubs are exploited year after year. However, if it’s Josef Martinez, Carlos Vela, and Nicolas Lodeiro up front for the MLS All-Star squad, they could have a very good shot to succeed.

“We are so pleased to bring the 2020 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target to Los Angeles, one of the great soccer markets in North America,” Garber said in the press conference. “As we celebrate our 25th season, we wanted to deliver an unique and unprecedented format for our annual All-Star Game. Our first ever game between the best of MLS and LIGA MX’s top players is the perfect way to build on the growing relationship between the two top soccer leagues in the region.”

It’s unclear whether this will be a recurring match in the future. However, moving away from the prior all-star game model will help MLS grow as a league and catch up to Liga MX in the long wrong.

Atleti phenom Felix upstages MLS All Stars

Photo by TF-Images/Getty Images
2 Comments

It’s not about the result nor even the action, but Major League Soccer’s All-Stars lost their third-straight outing on Wednesday, a 3-0 defeat to Diego Simeone’s Atletico Madrid.

Really, though, it’s about Joao Felix, the 19-year-old $140 million star who posted a goal and an assist in just over a half hour of play.

[ MORE: Lampard praises Pulisic ]

The All Stars had most of the ball and few of the chances, with Marcos Llorente and Diego Costa joining the score sheet during a wet match in Orlando.

Llorente took a back heel from impressive 19-year-old Rodrigo Riquelme and finished his chance to make it 1-0, but Felix’s second half was the story.

Felix tore into a bouncing ball to swerve a shot off Nick Rimando and into the goal, then sent a delightful ball through to Costa for a suave finish deep in stoppage time.

History of MLS All Star Game
1996: East 3-2 West
1997: East 5-4 West
1998: USA 6-1 World
1999: East 4-6 West
2000: East 9-4 West
2001: East 6-6 West
2002: MLS 3-2 USMNT
2003: MLS 3-1 Chivas Guadalajara
2004: East 3-2 West
2005: MLS 4-1 Fulham
2006: MLS 1-0 Chelsea
2007: MLS 2-0 Celtic
2008: MLS 3-2 West Ham United
2009: MLS 1-1 Everton (Everton wins in PKs)
2010: MLS 2-5 Manchester United
2011: MLS 0-4 Manchester United
2012: MLS 3-2 Chelsea
2013: MLS 1-3 AS Roma
2014: MLS 2-1 Bayern Munich
2015: MLS 2-1 Tottenham Hotspur
2016: MLS 1-2 Arsenal
2017: MLS 1-1 (2-4 PKs) Real Madrid
2018: MLS 1-1 (3-5 PKs) Juventus
2019: MLS 0-1 Atletico Madrid

MLS All-Star Game preview: Joao Felix visits Florida

Photo by Matthew Ashton - AMA/Getty Images
Leave a comment

Some of the biggest generational names of soccer will be in the lineup when the MLS All Stars face Atletico Madrid in Orlando on Tueday, but many eyes will be trained on a teenager.

$134 million teenager Joao Felix will be in the fold for Atleti on Wednesday in Florida, on the heels of a 1-goal, 2-assist performance against Real Madrid and ahead of a La Liga debut in August.

[ MORE: Lukaku, Dybala swap? ]

So while it’ll be pretty cool to see Diego Costa test the MLS All-Stars, and Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Wayne Rooney and Co. go up against Diego Simeone’s stingy defense, there will be a special focus on a youngster getting as much international focus as any teen star not named Kylian Mbappe and Neymar in the past decade.

Once-capped by Portugal, Felix burst into stardom last season with Benfica. Felix scored 20 times in all competitions, including 15 in league play, and earned the big purchase from Atleti.

Now, he’ll show us what a 19-year-old megawatt potential can do against USMNT center back Walker Zimmerman, World Cup champion Bastian Schweinsteiger, and Atlanta United star defender Leandro Gonzalez Pirez.

And if Felix is supposed to be worried about going up against physical defenders, let alone La Liga’s stars, he’s not letting on (via AS):

“Nothing can stop me playing my football. I might not have a lot physically, but I have other things that the rest don’t have. And that will help me a lot.”

The match kicks off after 7:30 p.m. Wednesday.

Atletico Madrid roster for MLS All-Star Game includes Felix

Photo by TF-Images/TF-Images via Getty Images
Leave a comment

Major League Soccer fans will get a good luck at one of the hottest prospects in world soccer when the MLS All Stars take on Atletico Madrid in next week’s MLS All Star Game.

Joao Felix, the $142 million 19-year-old, is among the roster announced by Diego Simeone for the match.

[ MORE: Newcastle in for $28M Saint-Maximin ]

Felix scored 20 times with 11 assists in 40 matches for Benfica before moving to Atleti in the summer. Those numbers include a hat trick against Eintracht Frankfurt in the Europa League quarterfinals first leg.

The other stars will be there, too, provided no transfers happen in the interim. Koke, Thomas Lemar, Diego Costa, and Saul Niguez are in the squad.

New Atleti defender Kieran Trippier and longtime El Tri hero Hector Herrera will also be sure to help drive attendance in Orlando City.

The full roster is here.