Arsenal are just 10 games away from their first Premier League title in 19 years, but any true Gooner will tell you that the piece of silverware they want more than any other is the one they last lifted seven years ago in San Jose, California: the MLS All-Star trophy.
Well, Arsenal will have that opportunity again on July 19 after it was leaked that they'd be the MLS All-Stars' opponents at Audi Field in Washington, D.C. Since the match is taking place at the home of D.C. United, the All-Stars will be managed by Black-and-Red boss Wayne Rooney.
The only worry for Mikel Arteta's team now is that they let their eight-point lead at the top of the EPL slip because they're too focused on what's to come in July.
Jokes aside, this is a brilliant move by the league after two years of MLS versus Liga MX. That was a fun edition of the All-Star game that should be revisited somewhere down the road, but the entire buildup of making it like the USMNT vs. Mexico was incredibly forced, and last year Liga MX brought far too little sauce to Allianz Field. Goalkeeper Carlos Acevedo was probably the biggest Liga MX draw, and nobody attends an All-Star game to watch a shot-stopper.
Arsenal's an entirely different beast with young stars Bukayo Saka, Martin Ødegaard, Gabriel Martinelli and experienced contributors Granit Xhaka, Gabriel Jesus and Thomas Partey. And they can all thrive at the MLS All-Star Game under the tutelage of Matt Turner, who basically became USMNT No. 1 and earned a transfer to Arsenal after winning All-Star Game MVP in 2021.
The match will be broadcast on Apple TV and the buildup will feature all the traditional events of MLS All-Star Week, including the Skills Challenge the night before. Ødegaard's going to annihilate the Touch and Passing competitions.
We're still a long way out from revealing the MLS roster, but I'd argue that one man has already played his way onto the squad: Atlanta United's Thiago Almada. The World Cup winner has four goals and four assists in four games.
OMG Thiago Almada!Absolute world-class strike. pic.twitter.com/cxnCYD0Rky
— Major League Soccer (@MLS) March 19, 2023
Here are the highlights from the 2016 MLS All-Star Game against Arsenal. CONCACAF legend Joel Campbell opened the scoring for the Gunners, Didier Drogba brought the All-Stars level but a late Chuba Akpom penalty won it for Arsenal.