The annual MLS All-Star game is back and this year the star studded XI will face La Liga giants Atletico Madrid, with the game taking place on Thursday.
While Atletico are still gearing up for the 2019/20 campaign, the MLS players will be in peak condition as they are already well into their season which runs from March to October.
Big names from Major League Soccer will be available, such as Zlatan Ibrahimovic and Wayne Rooney, while Atleti stars like summer signing Joao Felix should feature.
With predictions, info and head to head history, read on for 90min's preview of Thursday's clash.
Where to Watch
|When Is Kick Off?||Thursday 1 August|
|What Time Is Kick Off?||01:00 (BST)|
|Where Is it Played?||Exploria Stadium, Orlando|
|TV Channel/Live Stream?||Sky Sports Main Event/Sky Sports Football|
It is likely Diego Simeone will field a similar side to the one that smashed rivals Real Madrid 7-3. Needless to say, they were very impressive in that game.
There are no notable injuries for the Spanish side but Diego Costa could drop out of the starting XI after getting sent off against Los Blancos for an altercation with Dani Carvajal.
When it comes to the MLS All-Stars, there's not much news on how they will set up. So far just the roster has been announced and most of the stars won't have played together before. However, it will come as no surprise to see either Ibrahimovic or Rooney up front.
|MLS All-Stars||Guzan; Lawrence, Schweinsteiger, Gonzalez Pirez, Zimmerman; Dos Santos, Moralez, Lodeiro, Carlos Vela; J. Martinez, Ibrahimovic.|
|Atletico Madrid||Oblak; Trippier, Hermoso, Savic, Lodi; Koke, H. Herrera, Llorente, Vitolo; Felix, Morata.|
Head to Head Record
The MLS All-Star game is an annual event and the side have faced top European clubs such as Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester United, Bayern Munich, Real Madrid and Juventus.
However, this Thursday will be the first time Atletico have been involved in the fixture.
Even though the MLS stars are well into their season and are probably fitter, the team don't usually play together and are up against a very strong Spanish side that recently demolished Real Madrid.
Atletico have been in sharp pre-season form, picking up the noticeable big victory against Los Blancos and a confident win over Numancia. The team is trying to gel with their new signings like Felix and Trippier, who have impressed so far.
Ibrahimovic and Carlos Vela have both impressed for respective sides LA Galaxy and Los Angeles FC, while Josef Martinez has also been prolific in front of goal for Atlanta United.
MLS All-Stars only play once a year but here's how both teams have performed in their last five fixtures.
|MLS All-Stars||Atletico Madrid|
|Juventus 1-1 (5-3 on Pens) MLS All-Stars (2018)||Atletico Madrid 7-3 Real Madrid (27/7)|
|Real Madrid 1-1 (4-2 on Pens) MLS All-Stars (2017)||Atletico Madrid 0-0 (5-4 on Pens) Guadalajara (24/7)|
|Arsenal 2-1 MLS All-Stars (2016)||Atletico Madrid 3-0 Numancia (20/7)|
|Tottenham 1-2 MLS All-Stars (2015)||Atletico Madrid 1-2 Beitar Jerusalem (21/5)|
|Bayern Munich 1-2 MLS All-Stars (2014)||Atletico Madrid 2-2 Levante (18/5)|
Given the strength Atletico have in various areas of the pitch and the way they performed in their last pre-season game, a win for the Spanish side seems likely.
The players from the MLS will likely show a higher level of fitness, but much depends on how well they gel as a team. Joao Felix and Atleti's other exciting forwards will likely have too much for the MLS All-Stars to handle. Atletico to win.