Captain Michael Parkhurst was chosen to participate in his fifth Major League Soccer All-Star game and will face current Champions League winner Real Madrid on Aug. 2 at Chicago’s Soldier Field.
“It’s a fantastic honor,” Parkhurst said. “The quality of the league is getting better every year; the quality of the players is improving as well. I get to go out there and represent the team in its first All-Star game and represent the league on a big stage as well. “
Parkhurst said that he’s not sure who he will swap jerseys with but he won’t ask any of Real Madrid’s big name players.
“I’m not a huge jersey swapper, I don’t like asking guys for their jersey but I definitely won’t ask any big-time guys because I’m sure they’ll swap with the big-time players on the All-Star team, which I don’t consider myself,” Parkhurst said. “I’ll be happy with anybody’s jersey to commemorate the game.”
Both Greg Garza and Parkhurst said that Brad Guzan’s addition to the team will make the chemistry even better within the team as Guzan is a player who has a great personality and brings a hard-working attitude.
“One thing that sticks out like a sore thumb in this team is that we are a good group, we have great chemistry and I think he’s the right guy for that as well,” Garza said. “He’s a clown, he’s a jokester in the locker room and we need that so I definitely think that will be a big up on both sides on and off the field.”
Garza said that not having to deal with Cyle Larin on Friday’s matchup is a plus but Orlando is a dangerous team with other high quality players.
“Larin a guy that’s very dangerous, can score goals and is having the season of his life right now so I’m glad he’s with Canada and not with Orlando,” Garza said. “They still have guys like Giles Barnes, Carlos Rivas and Kaka, who can do some damage up top so we definitely have to be on our toes and study them as much as possible before these two games.”
As the opening match at Mercedes-Benz Stadium gets closer and images and videos surface on social media, Parkhurst said that he and the team can’t wait to get in there and see the final product.
59 Days. #HailUnited #HypeDepot #marchuniteconquerrepeat pic.twitter.com/rIiZQynNzS— Resurgence (@ResurgenceATL) July 13, 2017
Views from the Benz @MBStadium | #UniteAndConquer pic.twitter.com/LisW1FaAMf— Atlanta United FC (@ATLUTD) July 16, 2017
“It looks amazing. I think everyone is excited to get in there and see what it’s going to look like and experience the atmosphere that we have at Bobby Dodd inside the new stadium and see if it could possibly be even louder in there,” Parkhurst said.