Last week, The full 2018 MLS All-Star Game roster was announced by the league.
The ASG, which will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium on August 1, pits a team of some of MLS’ best players against Italian powerhouse Juventus. The fans voted for 10 of their favorite players to take part with the MLS side, comissioner Don Garber picked two additional players, and Tata Martino, who is the coach of the MLS side, selected the other 14 players in the 26-man squad. Although he was voted in by the fans, Darlington Nagbe’s injury will keep him out of the All-Star game and Martino was thus asked to pick one extra player.
Martino made it clear over the past couple of months that he wouldn’t allow the selection of the All-Stars to take too much time away from him and his Atlanta United duties. When asked how much time he spent picking players, the wiley coach responded just as one would expect.
“No more time than necessary.”
Martino did however make sure to represent as many MLS teams as he could in this glorified exhibition match. 16 of the 23 MLS teams are represented.
“I was trying to pick the team according to my personal tastes in players and also trying to spread the players out amongst different teams in the league so there aren’t a lot of guys from the same team.”
The obvious question: Is this a team that can beat Juventus?
“I don’t know. We’ll see. The important thing is to preserve the spirit of the All-Star Game and make it a game that people can enjoy.”
As always, Martino is taking a more process-oriented approach to this game rather than a results-oriented one. It’ll be interesting to see how he preaches this to a group of players who will surely hope to impress against a major club like Juventus.
Be sure to buy tickets to the game and all the other cool All-Star Week festivities here.