Rather than pitting the Eastern Conference against the Western Conference, Major League Soccer forgoes the more traditional all-star game setup in favor of inviting a marquee club to take on the best and brightest the league has to offer. For this year’s spectacle, the MLS All-Stars hosted Arsenal Football Club at Audi Field, in Washington, D.C., July 19.
Gabriel Jesus and Leandro Trossard scored first-half goals during the competitive portion of the evening and Jorginho, Gabriel Martinelli and Kai Havertz added as the Premier League powerhouse cruised to an emphatic 5-0 victory over DC United manager Wayne Rooney’s side.
Illustrating just how one-sided this affair was: Arsenal outshot the hosts 16-7 on the night, while the MLS squad set an all-star game record with six yellow cards. In short, as the Gunners raced up and down the pitch creating numerous scoring chances, the All-Stars had little choice but to commit a foul rather than allow yet another easy goal.
Bukayo Saka, in particular, posed a problem the MLS players were ill-equipped to handle. His pace and speed of play were clearly problematic for the home team, which isn’t all that surprising given that he’s one of the best and brightest young talents on the planet.
Declan Rice, Arsenal’s splashiest summer signing at £105 million, didn’t cause nearly the amount of headaches that Saka did during the match, but simply seeing him in an Arsenal kit was exciting enough for those in attendance.
The all-star game was especially noteworthy for the nation’s capital because it marked the event’s return to Washington for the first time in 19 years. And while it wasn’t a very competitive match, it was still highly entertaining and an absolute blast for everyone involved.