The MLS All-Star Game is staying in the southeast.
After Atlanta hosted the annual summer exhibition in 2018, the match that pits MLS All-Stars against a foreign club is moving to Orlando, with Orlando City Stadium chosen as the host for 2019, the league announced on Thursday.
MLS commissioner Don Garber had stated when Orlando City opened its new stadium in 2017 that the club would host the MLS All-Star Game at some point, stating “I don’t have a date, but we’ve made a commitment. Every time we open a stadium and we meet with the public about getting their support — and there's lots of public support for this even if it's not financial support. There was all sorts of regulatory support and deep, deep commitment from the city mayor, the county mayor and the City Council as much as any other city. As part of those discussions, we've committed to bringing an all-star game here.”
He's made good on his word, though details regarding the game–opponent, date, for instance–remain unclear.
This past summer, MLS played Juventus to a 1-1 draw before losing in penalty kicks in front of over 72,000 fans at Atlanta's Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Next summer's showcase will have an attendance of roughly a third of that, given that OCSC's stadium has a maximum capacity of 25,500.
It will mark the second time the MLS All-Star Game is in Orlando. In 1998, the Citrus Bowl hosted the event, which had the unique format of MLS USA All-Stars vs. MLS World All-Stars. Tab Ramos, Alexi Lalas, Brian McBride, Preki, Roy Lassiter and Cobi Jones scored for the USA team in a 6-1 win.