ORLANDO – The atmosphere at Exploria stadium was as electric as the lightening that delayed the match as the MLS All-Star team lost to Atletico de Madrid 0-3 in front of 25,527 ecstatic soccer fans.
The Atleti squad proved their worth as their 3 stars Joao Felix, Diego Costa, and Hector Harrera all showed their worth in the match. Harerra got the assist as he fed Marcos Llorente to the initial goal. Felix and Costa scored later in the match and the MLS super stars, such as the self proclaimed “God Zlatan Ibrahimović and Atlanta scoring sensation Josef Martinez proved ineffective against the La Liga players defense.
“I think when you look at the league this is the standout game for the league and it gives a great representation of the league.” said MLS All-Star Game coach James O’Connor “It’s a chance for so many more players to test themselves against some of the best players in the world and I think, equally, we have some of the best players in the world in the league. When you look at the quality of those players, there were some exemplary pieces of passages of plays from both teams. I thought it was a very entertaining game.”
MLS is now 8-5-3 vs. international opposition in the MLS All-Star Game. This was the second match against a club from La Liga (losing by penalty shootout following a 1-1 draw with Real Madrid in 2007).
Marcos Llorente of Atlético de Madrid was named MLS All-Star Game Most Valuable Player.
The feisty Orlando crowd wasn’t shy about showing their feelings for the rival Atlanta Five Stripers players, regularly booing goalkeeper Brad Guzan as he covered the goal right in front of the Exploria Stadium supporters section. Martinez also entered the match to a round of boos.
The MLS team had great play from stars Wayne Rooney (DC United), Carlos Vela (Los Angeles FC), Diego Chara (Portland Timbers), and Orlando’s Nani among others.
AS for the future all star game locations, The Washington Post’s Steven Goff on Sunday claims there’s a “tentative” plan for the MLS All-Star Game to be hosted at Los Angeles Football Club’s Banc of California Stadium in 2020 and Washington DC will host the 2021 match.
Orlando provided an great All-star experience, thought with it being hurricane season, the rains that delayed and lingered over the big game e a bit of a downer. The fans remained in place for a great match.