The MLS All-Star Game greeted fans in Atlanta with pyrotechnics, and for Josef Martinez, he took up his usual stances by the goal to watch the celebrations begin. For Atlanta, the celebration came to an end after the two teams were tied and the penalty kick stage was over.
The All-Star game saw over 72,300 in attendance as Juventus, and the MLS All-Stars took to the field. At the end of regular time, the two teams were tied 1-1, and it was the penalty kick that was to decide who took the honours of this year’s All-Star Game.
The MLS All-Stars managed to score on three of their five kicks, but Juventus prevailed and scored on all five of their kicks. New York Red Bull’s Bradley Wright-Phillips missed his attempt at scoring, and that left the door open for Juventus – it was one they took after Mattia De Sciglio sent the ball past Zack Steffen into the upper left corner of the goal.
This is the second year in a row that the All-Star game ended in a tie to be left to penalty kicks. Last season it was the Real Madrid that managed to come out on top 4-2 against the MLS All-Stars. Speaking on the experience, Massimiliano Allegri, the coach for Juventus said,
“It was really a wonderful game. It was good preparation.”
The All-Star game was seen more as an exhibition game for the Italian club as they prepare for the beginning of the Serie A. Juventus is a powerhouse that has won the Serie A title seven times back-to-back and are the defending champions going into this season.
Juventus is in the middle of an American tour that has them playing four games. The games were seen as a great opportunity to allow the team to bring a number of younger players who yet have earned a spot on the respected Italian powerhouse. This included Nicolo Fagioli, who at the tender age of 17 scored his penalty kick.
After acquiring Cristiano Ronaldo during the off-season, Juventus chose to leave the star behind in Europe to train and get rest before the new season gets underway. Ronaldo was a major part of Portugal’s World Cup team’s success, although they failed to advance before the knockout stage.
The MLS All-Star team had their own set of challenges and only had a few days to put together the squad from the4 twenty-three teams that make up MLS. One surprise to that squad was Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who previously played for Juventus, declined stating he needed rest after a playing three matches in the previous nine days.
Tata Martino, the coach for Atlanta United and the MLS All-Stars said,
“Taking into account that we only had two days together, I think everyone did an excellent job.”
The All-Star Game was held at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium. At the cost of $1.5 billion, it was an opportunity for the league to showcase the stadium. Since opening, fans have cowed into the stadium to support Atlanta United with attendance numbers averaging over 50,000 per game, including the setting of five attendance records for MLS with each surpassing 70,000.
Juventus scored first after Matheus Pereira went in unchallenged and gave the Italians room to breathe. Pereira sent a pass to Andrea Favilli who sent it past goalkeeper Brad Guzan thanks to a header.That lead wasn’t long after the MLS squad responded and tied the match after Josef Martinez scored to make it 1-1. As the MLS season continues, its popularity is increasing, and attendance records continue to improve. For MLS bettors, there are many opportunities with Canadian friendly MLS sportsbooks that offer excellent odds and promotions for upcoming MLS games. Why not take a look at our recommended list of Canadian MLS sportsbooks, register today and claim a generous sign up bonus. With the season heating up after the All-Star game, there is no reason not to.