Josef Martinez took home MVP honors thanks to a 26th minute goal as the MLS All-Stars and Juventus ended full-time at one goal apiece. In the nobody-will-be-seated-during-the-after-90-minutes-penalty-shootout afterward, Juventus “won” 5-4.
Juventus struck first when a cross found Andrea Favilli in the box. The lead wouldn’t last thanks to MLS’ leading scorer.
Moments after the goal, Martinez did what he does best. Score ugly.
Eat. Sleep. Score goals. That's what Josef does. pic.twitter.com/luGPmy7I12— Dirty South Soccer (@DirtySouthSoc) August 2, 2018
From there out, an exhibition soccer game definitely continued to take place. Five Atlanta United players took the pitch, the most of any MLS team. All this happened before a crowd of 72,312, the second-largest All-Star game in history across all sports in North American history.
”I think that [large of a crowd] is normal now here in Atlanta,” Miguel Almiron said through a translator. “That’s why I just want to say again how much we appreciate the support in Atlanta that we get every single match at home.”
As for the game’s MVP, he was simply happy to play in front of those close to him.
”I enjoyed the minutes I played tonight. I also had to focus a bit on my club and what’s coming up ahead but I think we demonstrated that we can play well and that’s the takeaway I’ll have from this game,” Martinez said through a translator. “I’m just feeling happy inside because my family was here to watch.”
The final whistle capped a massive week of soccer in Atlanta. MLS All-Star and Atlanta United manager said the week, the game and the city presented the league at its best.
”Everything I have to say is positive,” he said through a translator. “The league and Atlanta worked together and they were able to show off our beautiful stadium and the amazing crowd in Atlanta. I think it was a positive for Atlanta as a city and also for the league.”
Martinez, Almiron and the rest of Atlanta United return to Mercedes-Benz Stadium on Saturday afternoon to face off in a game that actually counts against a somewhat resurgent Toronto FC. The match is set to begin at 4 p.m.