There was a big show under the mass I’ve roof in Atlanta on Wednesday night as Juventus faced the 2018 MLS All-Stars in front of 72,312 fans in Mercedes Benz Stadium.
The All-Stars and Juventus played to a 1-1 draw and Juventus won the match 5-3 on penalty kicks. The two sides matched each other shot for shot during the shoout until New York Red Bulls Star Bradley Wright-Phillips dinged his attempt off the post.
The MLS pulled off a great week of events ranging from a 2 Chains Concert to the special Olympics Unified match and Homegrown match at Atlanta FC’s training facilities.
After R&B princess Ashanti sang the national anthem, the excitement of the game began.
The MLS team, loaded with players from Atlanta FC’s team, Including goal keeper Brad Gouzan, Atlanta striker Josef Martinez, was aggressive, solid on defense, and strong in their ball handling. not bad for only two days practice together.
“The team did a good job. We were able to control Juventus with only two days together. They did a good job.”
After a few promising forays forward by the All-Stars Team in the opening minutes, Juventus began testing the MLS All-Stars’ defense, with Brad Guzan pushed into action with two early saves. Aaron Long then had a header off a corner kick bounce off the corner of the post around the quarter-hour mark.
Andrea Favilli put Juventus ahead in the 21st minute, as he headed in Matheus Pereira’s terrific curling cross.
But the MLS All-Stars tied up the game in the 26th minute. Josef Martinez headed a back post cross across the box, with Carlos Vela’s shot forcing a save from Juventus goalkeeper Wojciech Szczesny. Ignacio Piatti then tried to head the ball in from an impossible angle, and Martinez followed up on that chance to knock the ball in the goal.
The final result: MLS All-Stars 1, Juventus 1, with the Italians winning 5-3 in penalty kicks. Bradley Wright-Phillips’ miss off the post on the fourth penalty kick for the All-Stars opened the door. Martinez was named the game’s MVP.
Martinez,an Atlanta United and MLS favorite, was named the games MVP in the loss.
“Everything I have to say is positive,” All-Star coach Tata Martino said through a translator after the match. “The league and Atlanta put on this show together. They were able to show off our beautiful stadium and the amazing crowd we have in Atlanta. I think it was a positive sign for Atlanta as a city and also for the league.”