Last August, MLS announced that Orlando City Stadium would host the 2019 MLS All-Star game this summer, on July 31.
The announcement felt like somewhat of a salve after being snubbed in favor of Atlanta's ostentatious, 75,000-seat Mercedes-Benz stadium last year. Fine, our lovely little 25,000-seater can't compete in sheer body count, but what we lack in numbers, we make up for in heart. Or something.
Yesterday, the league announced who the MLS All-Star team will be playing at the game: 2014 La Liga champions Atlético Madrid, currently ranked second in the Spanish league. Atlético Madrid is home club of Antoine Griezmann, striker for the French national team, which won the 2018 World Cup in Russia.
There have been calls in recent years to go back to the old-school All-Star Game model, when the vetted "all-stars" from the Western Conference would play the vetted "all-stars" from the Eastern Conference, but it doesn't look like that's going to happen any time soon.
These big European teams (like last year's Italian champions, Juventus, and 2017's juggernaut visitors, Real Madrid) coming to town, unfortunately, are what sells the tickets and puts butts in seats, so commissioner Don Garber will likely keep it that way.
This is the second time Orlando has hosted the All-Star Game. The last time was in 1998, when the Citrus Bowl was the venue of choice. According to a report by ProSoccerUSA.com
, the Camping World Stadium was not considered as a venue for the game this time around.
The game will likely be pricey, and July 31 will probably the hottest day of the damn year, so if that doesn't sound like your cuppa, it'll be on ESPN, too.
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