Written by Zach Lowy | Co-founder & Lead Writer at BreakingTheLines.com
It has been 26 years since Major League Soccer became the United States’ premier soccer league. Still, there are plenty of elements from MLS’ inaugural campaign that have been, for lack of a better word, Europeanized. They no longer use a countdown clock – they count up from zero minutes to 90 like every other league in soccer. Games that end in a tie are now settled in a penalty shootout from the standard 12-yard spot, but when MLS kicked off in 1996, the players had 35 yards to dribble down the pitch and beat the goalkeeper – this method was abandoned in the weeks before the MLS Cup and on the cusp of a new century. However, there is one aspect of MLS that remains uniquely American: the MLS All-Star Game.
What is the MLS All-Star Game?
The annual event features the league’s best players in an exhibition soccer game. The format has changed over the years, including a trend in the early 2000s that pitted MLS All-Stars against a European club. However, since 2020, the MLS All-Stars’ opponent has remained the same — the Liga MX All-Stars.
What’s the format for this match?
The only differences from a regular MLS match are that both managers will have unlimited substitutions and the game will head to a penalty shootout if the result is level after 90 minutes.
When and where is this year’s All-Star Game?
The 2022 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target will be played on August 10, 2022, at Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minnesota. Just like other major league All-Star events, there isn’t just one game on display: it’s part of a wider spectacle built around a main event, including the 2022 MLS All-Star Concert presented by Target on August 8, the 2022 MLS All-Star Skills Challenge presented by AT&T 5G on August 9, and the inaugural MLS NEXT All-Star Game presented by Allstate on August 10.
What is the MLS All-Star Skills Challenge?
The All-Star Skills Challenge will pit the best players in MLS against Liga MX’s finest in the annual skills competition on Tuesday, Aug. 9, at 8:30 pm CT at Allianz Field. Each league will present a team of ten players that will compete across five different events: the Shooting Challenge, the Touch Challenge, the Cross & Volley Challenge, the Passing Challenge, and the Crossbar Challenge.
What is the MLS NEXT All-Star Game?
This inaugural match will provide a world-class experience for the best young players in North America to showcase their talent on a national stage. Two teams will compete in an East vs. West format on August 10 at 11:00 am CT at National Sports Center in Blaine, MN. Representing our club will be CITY2 and U17 Academy defender Fritz Volmar, who will be a part of the 23-player West team, coached by Minnesota United FC’s Jeremy Hall and San Fransico Glens’ Antonio Medina. MLS NEXT All-Star Game can be watched on Twitter and mlssoccer.com.
How did the MLS All-Star Game come about?
The MLS All-Star Game sought inspiration from other North American leagues that had enjoyed an increased commercial presence and heightened audience after introducing all-star games such as MLB (1933), NHL (1947), and NBA and NFL (1951). The first MLS All-Star Game was played in 1996 at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. The inaugural match saw the MLS Eastern Conference take on the MLS Western Conference with players handpicked by MLS coaching staffs.
How does the MLS All-Star Voting System Work?
Twenty-six players were selected to this year’s All-Star Game. Twelve were chosen by Minnesota United’s head coach Adrian Heath, two by MLS Commissioner Don Garber, and 12 by a combined vote of fans, media, and players.
Who will represent Team MLS this year?
Garber’s two selections were New York City FC’s American goalkeeper and the reigning MLS Cup MVP Sean Johnson and Montreal Impact’s Canadian center back Kamal Miller, both of whom earned their first-ever All-Star Game call-ups. Heath picked the following 12: Minnesota’s Canadian goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair, Inter Miami right back and USMNT veteran DeAndre Yedlin, Los Angeles FC’s Ecuadorian left-back Diego Palacios, two more USMNT veterans in New York Red Bulls center back Aaron Long, and Columbus Crew midfielder Darlington Nagbe, and Nashville SC forward Hany Mukhtar. Luciano Acosta became the first All-Star selection in FC Cincinnati’s history, with Seattle Sounders’ American striker Jordan Morris and DC United’s Greek attacker Taxiarchis Fountas joining the diminutive Argentine in the coach’s selection, along with two Mexican forwards from either side of Los Angeles: Chicharito and Carlos Vela. Last but not least, Minnesota’s Argentine forward Emanuel Reynoso, leads the club in goals (9) and assists (3) this season.
And as for the players voted in by the media, fans, and players? FC Dallas’ American forward
Paul Arriola is joined by his teammate for club and country Jesús Ferreira, NYCFC’s Argentine striker and reigning MLS Golden Boot winner Valentín Castellanos, and Seattle Sounders’ Peruvian forward Raúl Ruidíaz. The reigning MLS MVP winner, New England Revolution’s Spanish midfielder Carles Gil is joined by his compatriot Ilie Sánchez following an impressive showing at LAFC, another Argentine in Sebastián Driussi, who becomes the first MLS All-Star selection in Austin FC history, and LAFC’s Mexican right back Julián Araujo. The second Peruvian on this list, NYCFC center back Alexander Callens is joined by Philadelphia United’s German fullback Kai Wagner, Nashville SC’s American center back Walker Zimmerman, and the #1 in goal for Philadelphia and Jamaica: Andre Blake.
How can I watch the 2022 MLS All-Star Game?
The 2022 MLS All-Star Game will be broadcast in the U.S. on ESPN and Univision. We also invite you to join us and Purina at our 2022 MLS All-Star Game Watch Party at Bar K St. Louis on Wednesday, August 10, starting at 5:30 pm.