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.
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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
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.
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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.
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.
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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.
Atletico Madrid will be the opponent in this summer’s Major League Soccer All-Star Game in Orlando, Florida.
The 10-time La Liga champions are the second team from the Spanish league to play in the showcase after Real Madrid in 2017 in Chicago.
This year’s game is July 31 at Orlando City Stadium.
The game traditionally pits the league’s top players against international clubs and the domestic league is 8-4-3 in the game. Foreign clubs use the game to prepare for their seasons and expand North American fan bases.
Last year, the MLS All-Stars played to a 1-1 draw with Juventus in Atlanta.
“Every MLS All-Star game is a fantastic opportunity,” said Dom Dwyer, forward for host Orlando City. “I think it’s a real enjoyable event. I’ve gotten to play against Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, teams I’ve dreamed of playing against.”
Atletico sits behind leader Barcelona in the Spanish league. The club features forward Antoine Griezmann, who was on France’s World Cup-winning team in Russia. He has 15 goals and nine assists this season.
The All-Star Game will likely reunite Griezmann and LAFC’s Carlos Vela – both played for Real Sociedad. Vela leads MLS with 11 goals in 10 games this season.
“It’s going to be nice to play against the best players in MLS,” Griezmann said. “The league continues to improve every year. I (could) even see myself playing there in the future. It’s a league that I like and it will be nice for us to play them.”
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If Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney thought their days of playing against European powers were over, they’ve got another thing coming according to Sports Illustrated’s Grant Wahl.
Assuming they don’t skip the occasion, of course.
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Atletico Madrid will come to Orlando for the 2019 MLS All-Star Game in July as part of its United States tour, which also features a meeting with Chivas Guadalajara in Texas and a Madrid Derby against Real in New Jersey.
The last six All Star Games occurred July 28 or later.
Presumably, Rooney and Ibrahimovic will be reunited in the MLS side, and fellow former Manchester United player Nani will likely also get the call given his current home stadia.
The format is unchanged despite calls for something fresh, as the last two matches were particularly dull 1-1 draws decided in penalty kicks (Real Madrid and Juventus won).