Juventus won the 2018 edition of the MLS All-star game after a nerve-wracking 5-3 victory on penalties.
The 15th game against international opposition for the All-Stars kicked off without the two marquee players everyone hoped to see — Cristiano Ronaldo and Zlatan Ibrahimovic. Juventus were also missing the rest of their contingent who played at the World Cup in Russia, as they were left in Turin to develop their fitness.
The match was particularly interesting to watch (on ESPN) as All-Stars goalkeeper, Brad Guzan, gave on-field commentary wearing a mic and earphones. This provided some added entertainment and insight, depending on what side of the sport you were watching it from. It was fantastic innovation from ESPN, nevertheless.
Juventus were the first to strike as they took a 21st minute lead via the head of Andrea Favelli. The Italian striker connected to a magnificent left-sided cross from Pereira and directed his header past Guzan.
Five minutes later, though, the All-Stars were back on level terms when Josef Martinez finished off a pinball moment in the Juventus box and headed home from two yards out.
The teams went into the break with a goal apiece.
After the interval, both teams made wholesale changes to their squads, which slightly interrupted the fast-paced football from the first half. Juventus were the more threatening side, but they were constantly denied by second half goalkeeper, Zack Steffen.
After a tight 90 minutes for both teams, the game finished 1-1 and went to penalties.
The shootout was perfect until the All-Stars’ fourth kick. Bradley Wright-Phillips was the only unfortunate penalty taker as he saw his penalty come off the post and out. Mattia Di Sciglio buried Juventus’s fifth penalty and doomed the MLS All-stars to defeat.
The MLS should be proud of the occasion they put on, though. They experienced a record-breaking attendance of 72,317 in Atlanta United’s Mercedes Benz Stadium. Their players fared well against good opposition too. Major League Soccer is looking bright for the future.