MLS All-Stars vs Real Madrid – Wednesday 2 August 5:30 PM PT / 8:30 ET – Soldier Field, Chicago
The 22nd annual Major League Soccer All-Star Game is going to kick off on Wednesday at Soldier Field in Chicago. Including the brightest stars of North American soccer the MLS All-Star team will face the current Champions League winner Real Madrid from Spain.
Chicago Fire, who host the event, are represented by head coach Veljko Paunović, who got to select eleven players for his squad. Paunović picked Stefan Frei, Jelle van Damme, Hernán Grana, Matt Hedges, Johan Kappelhof, Michael Parkhurst, Dax McCarty, Diego Valeri, Giovani dos Santos, Ignacio Piatti and Jozy Altidore. Another two players, Dom Dwyer and Kellyn Acosta, were chosen by MLS Commissioner Don Garber and the remaining eleven players, DaMarcus Beasley, Graham Zusi, Greg Garza, Miguel Almirón, Michael Bradley, Kaká, Bastian Schweinsteiger, David Villa, Nemanja Nikolić and Sebastian Giovinco were voted by the fans.
It is indeed a team full of prominent players that was selected by Major League Soccer to face Europe’s best club side. Players like Bastian Schweinsteiger, David Villa and Giovani dos Santos have faced the Galacticos on many occasions. Orlando City’s Kaká in the meantime has played for Real Madrid from 2009 to 2013.
Kaká alongside Villa, Giovinco and Schweinsteiger will, of course, be the most prominent name on this squad. But several other players might not be as familiar to the European audience. Jozy Altidore, for example, has developed into one of the most dangerous players in MLS since he joined Toronto FC in 2015 and he will most certainly want to show the world that he can play against the very best on Wednesday. Another player to watch out for is Atlanta United’s Miguel Almirón. The 23-year-old Paraguayan midfielder could have joined Zenit or Arsenal last winter, but instead decided to join Tata Martino’s exciting Atlanta United project. Almirón has since become one of the most interesting players to watch in the league.
Real Madrid in the meantime go into this game without superstar Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese striker has faced tax avoiding charges in Spain. Furthermore, Cristiano Ronaldo also represented Portugal at the Confederations Cup in Russia this summer and therefore opted to give his body a rest while Real are on tour in the United States.
Even without Cristiano Ronaldo, however, Real will field a strong side that should be able to get a good result against the MLS All-Stars. At the same time, the Galacticos have to be warned. The MLS All-Stars have a winning record against club teams and in recent years have defeated the likes of Chelsea (2012), Bayern München (2014) and Tottenham Hotspurs (2015).
MLS All-Stars vs Real Madrid – Players to Watch Out For
Bastian Schweinsteiger #31 – Chicago Fire
Despite the fact that this is Bastian Schweinsteiger’s first season in Major League Soccer it is his second MLS All-Star game. The former Bayern München midfielder was part of the All-Star game in 2014 when Bayern brought him on in the dying moments of the match. Bayern lost that game, and Pep Guardiola would later heavily criticise the summer tour in the United States. Schweinsteiger on his part was brought on despite having played at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, and it was evident that he was not fresh enough to make an impact. That will not be the case this time. Schweinsteiger has taken MLS by storm, and with him, Chicago Fire are on course for the playoffs for the first time since 2012.
Toni Kroos #8 – Real Madrid
Facing Schweinsteiger will be his former German national teammate Toni Kroos. The Real Madrid midfield maestro has been recently declared fit to play the game against the MLS All-Stars on Wednesday. Kroos might be one of the most underrated names in the world game. The German has won three Champions League titles and a World Cup, but seldom gets mentioned when it comes to Ballon d’Or contention. Kroos is vital to Real Madrid’s game and might be in fact the Galacticos most valuable player.
MLS All-Stars vs Real Madrid – Match Stats
- This will be the 22nd annual Major League Soccer All-Star Game.
- Real Madrid will become the 14th club team to challenge the MLS All-Star team.
- The current format is already the third format of the MLS All-Star game. Previous formats included East vs West (1996,1997, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2004) and MLS USA vs MLS World (1998).
- The MLS All-Stars have won nine out of 13 games against guest club teams.
Futbolgrad Prediction: MLS All-Stars vs Real Madrid 2-5
MLS All-Stars vs Real Madrid – Possible Lineups
Howard – Beasley, Garza, Hedges, Zusi – Almirón, Schweinsteiger, Kaka – Giovinco, Villa, Altidore
Manager: Veljko Paunović
Navas – Hernández, Varane, Nacho, Carvajal – Kroos, Casemiro, Modrić – Bale, Benzema, Vázquez
Manager: Zinedine Zidane
Manuel Veth is a freelance journalist and social media junior editor at Bundesliga.com. He is also a holder of a Doctorate of Philosophy in History from King’s College London, and his thesis is titled: “Selling the People’s Game: Football’s transition from Communism to Capitalism in the Soviet Union and its Successor States,” which will be available in print soon. Originally from Munich, Manuel has lived in Amsterdam, Kyiv, Moscow, Tbilisi, London, and currently is located in Victoria BC, Canada. Follow Manuel on Twitter @ManuelVeth.