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2023 MLS All-Star Game set for July in DC

The 2023 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target will return to a familiar format, as Major League Soccer announced English Premier League side Arsenal FC as the MLS All-Stars’ opponent for the marquee showdown on July 19 at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. In addition, on July 18, the night before the All-Star Game, the best of MLS face off against Arsenal FC in the 2023 MLS All-Star Skills Challenge presented by AT&T 5G at Audi Field.

LA Galaxy sign Argentine defender Aude to U22 Initiative deal:

The LA Galaxy have acquired Argentine youth international left back Julián Aude from Lanús. Aude is under contract through the 2027 MLS season. The 19-year-old defender arrives from the Argentine Primera División on a U22 Initiative deal, LA’s second such signing at fullback in the last month. The other addition involved ​​right back Lucas Calegari, who’s on loan from Brazilian powerhouse Fluminense with a purchase option.

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Five reasons to be excited about the 2023 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target

It’s Arsenal. What an exciting moment. Any time you can have a team with such European trophies like the 1970 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup and the 1994 European Cup Winners’ Cup and…that appears to be it actually (aside from 13 league titles and a record 14 FA Cups or whatever), but I’m assuming the 1970 and 1994 wins were like really big deals at the time. I wouldn't know, I wasn’t even born yet. Anyway, how cool is it they’d come and celebrate the 19th anniversary of their last Premier League title in the states? And I guess it’s cool the guy who coached CF Montréal (Thierry Henry I think his name is?) before Wilfried Nancy apparently played for them once.

Believe it or not though, there might be a few more reasons beyond that to already be excited about the 2023 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target. Starting with…

Welcoming the champions of England (?)

Ok, fine, I guess I’ll concede it might be a celebration of the 19th anniversary of their 2004 Premier League title and the one they seem set to win this season. Probably. Most likely. I’ll believe the Manchester City Terminator is dead when the last whistle sounds on the last day of the season.

But this was in the works for a while, and it seems like a nice boost for everyone involved that the Gunners might be coming directly off a title. It should increase interest in the event overall, and it should also make it even cooler if…

What if MLS wins?

Remember last summer? Right around the same time as this year’s All-Star Game? In fact, July 20, 2022 – almost a year to the day, the sun in the sky, birds chirping, the warm summer air enveloping you like a hug from God – Minnesota United and Charlotte both beat Premier League sides. Just a classic mid-year experience.

In case you forgot, Charlotte earned a 1-1 draw against Chelsea that went to penalties, which the Crown won with ease. On the same night, Minnesota United just absolutely thumped Everton 4-0. Perhaps that might have been a teensy bit of an omen for how both English sides' seasons would go, but that doesn’t change the fact that last year’s 11th and 19th-place MLS teams beat this season’s 10th and 15th-place Premier League teams. And it doesn’t change the fact it was also really funny. Like, really funny.

Sure, Arsenal are in first place right now, but if their counterparts in the league can’t even handle mid-level MLS sides, what will Arsenal do against a collection of the league’s best players?

Pseudo-tryout scenario

With so many young MLS players heading to Europe these days, the chemistry of this event has changed. It used to be about growing the exposure of the game in the states, but things are a whole lot different since the MLS last played a European side in 2019. No really, they are. That’s like four whole years ago. And now, there’s a chance we could be looking at something vaguely resembling a tryout for some of the league’s best growing talents.

I’m kind of joking, but also, if a team had any concerns about what a player might look like against top-level competition, this can at least give them a kind of sort of taste of that? For example, feels like this will be a decent moment for Thiago Almada to show out as teams get into the heart of the summer transfer window. If he balls in a 30-minute run out against a version of Arsenal, that’s something close to proof of concept isn’t it?

Yeah, maybe we’re reaching here. Maybe. Look, when he goes for $40 million immediately after scoring a 30-yard stunner in this game, you and I will know why.

No one scoring because Matt Turner!

It feels like this is a game where Matt Turner makes his MLS return. Naturally, kind of feels like it might be a clean sheet for Arsenal. But, in a way, wouldn’t that kind of be cool? A native son returning from abroad with his fancy new team and reminding everyone how good he is at this? A real moment of “Wow MLS has come so far that MLS players are now showing how good MLS actually is while playing for another team against MLS players.”

Gunnersaurus (???)

I’m assuming they’re going to bring Gunnersaurus. In fact, I’m personally demanding they bring Gunnersaurus and that he plays a halftime game against the other MLS mascots. Rapid Man, Crew Cat, Trainy McTrainface, all of them. I’m just saying, how will we ever know if MLS truly measures up to the Prem if Sir Minty can’t mark Gunnersaurus out of a match? I’m trying to think about the future of the league here. Frankly, whether this whole thing lives or dies lies with Sir Minty. We always knew it would come to this, but it almost feels reassuring to know we’ll have an outcome soon. It’s been a fun ride either way, y’all.

Other things

Philadelphia Union extend 2022 MLS Defender of the Year Glesnes: Jakob Glesnes has committed his long-term future to the Philadelphia Union, with the club announcing Tuesday they've signed the 2022 MLS Defender of the Year to a new contract. One of the league's top center backs since joining the Union in 2020 from Strømsgodset, the 28-year-old Norwegian inked a new deal through 2025 with a club option for 2026.

Vancouver Whitecaps striker Córdova sidelined for 6-8 weeks: Vancouver Whitecaps FC will be without striker Sergio Córdova for 6-8 weeks as he recovers from a right hamstring strain. The new Designated Player sustained the injury in last weekend's 1-1 draw at the LA Galaxy, a development that’s ruled him out of Venezuela’s friendlies during the March international window.

Columbus Crew forward Molino out 6-8 weeks with knee injury: Columbus Crew forward Kevin Molino's awful luck with knee injuries has continued, with the club announcing Tuesday the Trinidad and Tobago international will be out 6-8 weeks after undergoing a meniscectomy. The 32-year-old, who has suffered three torn ACLs, made substitute appearances in the Crew's first three matches of the 2023 season before getting the procedure last week.

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Good luck out there. Be aware of a possible Matt Turner encounter at all times. He could be anywhere and you need to be prepared.