The MLS All-Star Game has turned into quite the spectacle for American soccer fans. Since 2005, the best in the MLS have come together on one roster to take on one of the best club teams in the rest of the world. The match for the team coming from Europe is a good one, knowing that it serves as a legitimate tune-up against a solid compilation of talent before heading home and getting into the major club soccer season.
This year, the MLS All-Star Game is being played in Soldier Field in Chicago, one of the biggest venues we've ever seen this game at. For the biggest venue comes the biggest team. Real Madrid won the Champions League last year and is definitively one of the best teams in the world. The MLS All-Star Team is going to have its work cut out for it for sure against the European champion from just a few months ago.
It's said that Cristiano Ronaldo won't be in Chicago for this match for the Spanish giants, but it's not like this team isn't any good. Sure, Real Madrid was beaten by Barcelona in El Clasico in Miami. Mato Kovacic and Marco Asensio both scored for Real Madrid in that match, and Gareth Bale had a solid offensive showing as well even though he didn't find the back of the net.
The rest of the stars for Real Madrid are sure to be out. Keylor Navas, Sergio Ramos, Daniel Carvajal, Luka Modric, Karim Benzema… They're all going to be in this match for at least half the game, one would think.
The MLS All-Star Team has a tremendous international flavor. Tim Howard, Miguel Almiron, Kaka, Bastian Schweinsteiger, David Villa and Nemanja Nikolic are all starters for the MLS squad, and they all played overseas at some point in their careers. That said, there are plenty of American homegrown talents as well. Michael Bradley, Graham Zusi, Howard, DaMarcus Beasley and Jozy Altidore are all routinely debutants for the U.S. Men's National Team.
The biggest concern the MLS team is going to have is building that degree of chemistry with each other in a span of just a couple practices. However, this hasn't been a huge problem in the past for the American-based team. The MLS All-Stars are 9-4 in the MLS All-Star Game, and two of the four losses came against Manchester United in consecutive years in 2010 and 2011.
The MLS All-Star Team did lose last year against Arsenal in San Jose, as Chuba Akpom scored the game-winner in the 87th minute to bury the MLS All-Stars.
Typically, the MLS All-Star Game is a higher scoring affair, and Real Madrid shouldn't do anything to deter that. Los Blancos have scored five goals in three preseason fixtures in the International Cup of Champions while allowing eight. This is a talented team that Real Madrid is up against, but the MLS All-Star Team isn't anywhere near as talented as Manchester United, Manchester City and Barcelona.
For the MLS All-Stars, this game is a matter of coming together with enough cohesion to knock off one of the world's best. It's happened before, most notably in 2014 when the team upset Bayern Munich 2-1. It was considered to be a great day in the history of American soccer, especially after the team was beaten 3-1 by AS Roma the year prior and was fresh off of the two losses to Manchester United.
Real Madrid figures to be a comfortable favorite in the MLS All-Star Game, though it should be noted that any spread much more than a half-goal could be alarming since four of the last five editions of this event have been decided by a single goal.
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