ATLANTA -- Both coaches on the touchline during the 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target have impressive resumés, packed full of diverse experiences, triumphs and challenges. That said, both 2018 MLS All-Star Team head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino and Juventus manager Massimiliano Allegri relished a unique opportunity that the All-Star Game provided.
“I wouldn’t say there were any tactical surprises,” Allegri said in this post-match press conference, after Juventus won the penalty shootout 5-3 following a 1-1 draw. “I think it was a beautiful game. I have to congratulate all the players who took part in this great game.”
Allegri and his Juventus side are preparing ahead of the 2018-19 Serie A season, where they will be hoping to defend the league title for a staggering eighth consecutive time.
“I think congratulations are in order for the Atlanta team as well as the MLS for this beautiful event," Allegri continued. "They gave us the opportunity to participate in it. It was really a wonderful game and it was a good preparation for us, so we’re very, very happy.”
Coaching in his second MLS season at the helm in Atlanta, Martino was right at home in front of the MLS All-Star Game standalone record crowd of 72,317.
“This was a team of MLS All-Stars, the best players in the league chosen by the fans and by the coach, so we felt like we had a responsibility to really try and propose our own style in the game,” Martino said in his press conference following the game.
It was clear throughout the week that Martino took his role seriously, utilizing the star players in the best way to showcase the highest tier of quality the league has to offer.
“I think the team as a whole did very well and I think they lived up to the expectations of the fans and they put on a good show, so hopefully the crowd enjoyed it.”
Atlanta United have set multiple single-match attendance records in the league throughout their short history and there was a sense that this match was a reward for that.
If certain sectors of world football did not already know about what’s happening in Atlanta, perhaps the All-Star Game against a European giant in Juventus will go some way in putting the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Atlanta firmly on the map.
“Everything I have to say is positive,” Martino added. “The league and Atlanta put on this show together. They were able to show off our beautiful stadium and the amazing crowd in Atlanta. I think it was a positive sign for Atlanta as a city and also for the league.”