It was an entertaining battle in Major League Soccer's big summer event on Wednesday night, as the MLS All-Star Team played reigning Serie A champion Juventus to a 1-1 draw in the 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target, with Juventus prevailing 5-3 in the subsequent penalty shootout.
The All-Star Game, played in front of a standalone record 72,317 crowd at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, featured two teams looking to put on a show, and they did not disappoint.
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.
Shortly after the halftime break, Alberth Elis forced a save from Juventus GK Mattia Perin, and as the second half wore on Juve forward Luca Clemenza forced a stop from MLS All-Stars goalkeeper Zack Steffen.
Diego Valeri had a late chance, with a last-gasp clearance by Medhi Benatia blocking the goal-bound shot in the 82nd minute. Darwin Quintero then attempted what is quickly becoming a trademark chip, but Perin was up to the task.
- THE BIG PICTURE: We look for entertainment at the All-Star Game, and it was on display here. The MLS All-Stars held their own against the perennial champion of Italy, and perhaps fitting for Juve's history, the defense on both sides was also largely up to the task.
- MOMENT OF THE MATCH: What elevated Martinez's goal above a typical MLS All-Star Game tally was the pure fight put in by all the players involved in the play, not least Martinez himself, launching his body at the ball to get it in the net.
- MAN OF THE MATCH: Martinez was bound and determined to score a goal on Juventus, the crosstown rival of his former club Torino, and he made no mistake in ensuring the All-Stars got on the board in a tidy 32 minutes of action. He was also awarded MVP of the game for his efforts.
MLS All-Star History
(vs. European Opponents)