Voices: Greg Seltzer

Handicapping the All-Star Skills Challenge pres. by AT&T 5G

Before we reach opening kick of the first-ever clash between the MLS All-Stars and their Liga MX opposites, the bragging rights fight begins Tuesday with the All-Star Skills Challenge presented by AT&T 5G (9 pm ET | FS1, TUDN in US; TSN, TVA Sports in Canada).

These All-Stars have honed their skills over decades, from the backyard to the playground and all the way to the professional ranks. That means we're in for a treat when some of the finest technicians from both leagues get the All-Star Game party started.

With five different skill competitions on tap, the MLS and Liga MX stars will have plenty of opportunities to make grudge match memories for the fans on their side of the border. But which of these big-time players suit which challenges best? We've tackled that question by tabbing some favorites for each one.

Shooting Challenge presented by AT&T 5G
Players will be shooting at targets from distance with varying values as they look to rack up points for their team

The favorite: Lucas Zelarayan

In this challenge, one should never count out a player who's in scintillating direct free-kick form. Zelarayan fits that bill more than any other Skills Challenge participant by a good margin. Heck, he might even ask if they can give him a wall to shoot around.

The challenger: Rogelio Funes Mori

The Argentine-born marksman has been so deadly during his career in Liga MX that Mexico recently brought him into their national team set up. Having spent part of his youth in Arlington, Texas, and even spending time in the FC Dallas academy, Funes Mori will have added motivation to excel here.

Keep an eye out for: Raul Ruidiaz

The Seattle Sounders striker is red-hot right now, leads the Golden Boot presented by Audi race with 14 goals and won't have to deal with defenders draped all over him in this challenge.

Touch Challenge presented by Old Spice
In this ultimate test of touch, players will have to collect and control balls coming at them from different angles in order to set themselves up to score points in the Old Spice apparatus

The favorite: Ricardo Pepi

Perhaps something of a dark horse for this one but the FC Dallas homegrown has been lighting up MLS of late and is one of a number of technically proficient young players to come through MLS academies of late. When it comes to touch, the 18-year-old striker has what it takes to compete against the best.

The challenger: Rubens Sambueza

A decently-sized part of the Toluca winger's job involves taking down long balls in stride. Sambueza even shines for this skill in Liga MX, where great receiving touches are a nickel per dozen.

Keep an eye out for: Lucas Zelarayan

Another former Liga MX player with skills aplenty. Zelarayan has lit up MLS since his arrival and shown he is more than capable of taking the ball out of the air and stopping it stone dead before firing off a strike of pinpoint accuracy.

Cross & Volley Challenge presented by AT&T 5G
Player’s creativity and skill will be on display, as they connect with a teammate to finish with style. The more style, the more points

The favorite: Rogelio Funes Mori

The Monterrey goal monster hasn't just scored a number of dazzling volley goals in recent years. He's scored them from a variety of angles and methods.

The challenger: Raul Ruidiaz

The Seattle sniper has next-level contact control on one-timers and the agility to adapt to different cross-flight patterns on the fly. Ruidiaz may as well be listed as the co-favorite in this event.

Keep an eye out for: Ricardo Pepi

Were he available, Chicharito would have taken up this slot. He isn't fit, so I'll go out on a hunch-based limb here. We're yet to see Pepi uncork a full volley goal during an FC Dallas career that's only just begun. It just seems like his calm release, body control and presumed eagerness to show he belongs with all the vets in the Skills Challenge may result in some fantastic volleys.

Passing Challenge presented by Crest
With a variety of targets spread across the pitch, players must place their passes with pinpoint accuracy to earn big points

The favorite: Orbelín Pineda

Most of this year's participants make their living somewhere along the front line, leaving the Cruz Azul star as the closest thing to a pick-a-long-pass specialist. It will be an upset if he doesn't take gold here.

The challenger: Lucas Zelarayan

Now that he drives the Columbus Crew attack, the Argentine maestro is more known for dribbling opponents dizzy and his long-range goal threat. But back in his Tigres days, he more often showed off a deft passing touch. Since the MLS side neglected to pick a dyed-in-the-wool midfield distributor type, Zelarayan may be their best hope in this challenge.

Keep an eye out for: Alexis Canelo

Though he's mostly known as a goalscorer, Canelo is the type of forward who's not shy about dropping deep to collect the ball. Because of this, fans often get to see his rather silky passing touch. He's my dark-horse pick here.

Crossbar Challenge presented by Gillette
As the final chance for players to earn points for their teams, this skill will test players' ability to deliver as the final seconds tick down

The favorite: Nani

After seeing what he did two years ago, would you bet against him? In case you need a reminder (Atletico Madrid fans can just skip it, I think)...

The challenger: Alexis Canelo

The Toluca forward is someone who understands that you don't need to blast every shot for power. As such, he's got a measured accuracy in his right boot that fits this challenge perfectly.

Keep an eye out for: Rodolfo Pizarro

The Miami midfielder hits a lofted ball, which is generally the method in this exercise, as well as anyone in the field. Pizarro is a sneaky threat here.