All-Star Coach Gerardo ‘Tata’ Martino makes gameday roster selections for 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target; two selections by MLS Commissioner Don Garber round out 26-man roster for Aug. 1 match vs. Juventus in Atlanta
NEW YORK (Friday, June 29, 2018) – Major League Soccer’s star-studded roster is set for the 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target, and it will showcase the most diverse group in the league’s history. Today, Atlanta United head coach Gerardo “Tata” Martino made 14 selections, while two players were honored as Commissioner’s picks by MLS Commissioner Don Garber, for the highly anticipated event against Italian powerhouse Juventus Football Club on Wednesday, Aug. 1, at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta (7:30 p.m. ET, live on ESPN, UniMás, TSN and TVA Sports).
The MLS All-Stars will feature 10 players with FIFA World Cup experience, including five participants in this year’s tournament, among 17 of the league’s teams. The roster features players from 16 countries – the most in MLS All-Star Game history, eclipsing the previous record of 13 in the 2016 and 2017 MLS All-Star Games.
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Martino’s selections include a combination of young talent that recently featured at the 2018 FIFA World Cup, veteran leadership such as 2010 FIFA World Cup winner David Villa (New York City FC), and an intriguing MLS All-Star Game connection in former Juventus star Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), who led TFC to the 2017 MLS Cup crown and earned MVP in the Concacaf Champions League during the Reds’ runner-up performance. Martino’s midfield corps is headlined by Mexico’s Jonathan dos Santos (LA Galaxy) – one of three MLS players on Mexican side that advanced out of the group stage at this year’s World Cup – and Peruvian Yoshimar Yotún (Orlando City SC) who helped set up his country’s first World Cup goal in 40 years earlier this month in Russia. The defensive group features 23-year-old goalkeeper Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC), who notably shut down Martino’s Atlanta side during the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs with two penalty kick shootout stops en route to the Eastern Conference Championship.
The All-Star Game honorees chosen by Commissioner Garber include 17-year-old Canada National Team phenom Alphonso Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), who was the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup Golden Boot winner, and two-time MLS Golden Boot winner Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls).
Martino selected additional players to the roster to replace Atlanta United midfielder Darlington Nagbe, who was voted to the 2018 MLS All-Star Fan XI presented by Target, but will be unavailable for the match due to injury.
The MLS All-Star Fan XI, nominated by media and selected by fans, features Mexican star forward Carlos Vela (Los Angeles Football Club – EA SPORTS™ “More Than a Vote” Challenge), who propelled Mexico into the Knockout Round of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The Fan XI also includes Atlanta United’s young attacking trio of Miguel Almirón, Ezequiel Barco and current MLS Golden Boot frontrunner Josef Martínez, and Sweden great Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy).
The 2018 MLS All-Stars will face Italian giants Juventus, who won their seventh consecutive Serie A title earlier this year. Juventus is the most decorated club in Italy, winning more Serie A and Coppa Italia titles than any other Italian club. Juventus also reached the UEFA Champions League final in two of the past four years (2015, 2017). The team is managed by Massimiliano Allegri, who just completed his fourth season with the club.
Tickets to the 2018 MLS All-Star Game against Juventus are now on sale by visiting Ticketmaster.com. Tickets start as low as $35.
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Media planning to cover the 2018 MLS All-Star Game presented by Target may apply for credentials by CLICKING HERE. Without exception, credential applications must be received by Wednesday, July 18.
2018 MLS All-Star Game Roster by Position
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan^ (Atlanta United), Zack Steffen* (Columbus Crew SC)
Defenders: Francisco Calvo* (Minnesota United), Laurent Ciman^ (Los Angeles Football Club), Alphonso Davies# (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Matt Hedges* (FC Dallas), Aaron Long* (New York Red Bulls), Michael Murillo* (New York Red Bulls), Michael Parkhurst^ (Atlanta United), Graham Zusi^ (Sporting Kansas City)
Midfielders: Miguel Almirón^ (Atlanta United), Ezequiel Barco^ (Atlanta United), Jonathan dos Santos* (LA Galaxy), Alberth Elis* (Houston Dynamo), Ignacio Piatti* (Montreal Impact), Alexander Ring* (New York City FC), Ilie Sanchez* (Sporting Kansas City), Diego Valeri^ (Portland Timbers), Yoshimar Yotún* (Orlando City SC), Wilfried Zahibo* (New England Revolution)
Forwards: Sebastian Giovinco* (Toronto FC), Zlatan Ibrahimović^ (LA Galaxy), Josef Martínez^ (Atlanta United), Carlos Vela^ (Los Angeles Football Club), David Villa* (New York City FC), Bradley Wright-Phillips# (New York Red Bulls)
^Fan XI selection
*Gerardo “Tata” Martino selection
#Commissioner Don Garber selection
2018 MLS All-Star Game Roster by Team
Atlanta United (5): Miguel Almirón, Ezequiel Barco, Brad Guzan, Josef Martínez, Michael Parkhurst
Columbus Crew SC (1): Zack Steffen
FC Dallas (1): Matt Hedges
Houston Dynamo (1): Alberth Elis
LA Galaxy (2): Jonathan dos Santos, Zlatan Ibrahimović
Los Angeles Football Club (2): Laurent Ciman, Carlos Vela
Minnesota United FC (1): Francisco Calvo
Montreal Impact (1): Ignacio Piatti
New England Revolution (1): Wilfried Zahibo
New York City FC (2): Alexander Ring, David Villa
New York Red Bulls (3): Aaron Long, Michael Murillo, Bradley Wright-Phillips
Orlando City SC (1): Yoshimar Yotún
Portland Timbers (1): Diego Valeri
Sporting Kansas City (2): Ilie Sanchez, Graham Zusi
Toronto FC (1): Sebastian Giovinco
Vancouver Whitecaps FC (1): Alphonso Davies
Bios for 2018 MLS All-Star Game Roster:
Brad Guzan | Goalkeeper | Atlanta United | Nationality: USA | Born: September 9, 1984
A member of the U.S. Men’s National Team, Guzan was named to his country’s 2010 and 2014 FIFA World Cup rosters, competed in the 2007 and 2015 Concacaf Gold Cups, the 2007 Copa America and the 2016 Copa America Centenario, where he was the starting goalkeeper. In his first season with Atlanta United in 2017, Guzan made 14 starts and finished with the third-best goals-against average (0.71) in the league. In addition, he also recorded the sixth-longest shutout streak in MLS at 541 minutes. Guzan was previously named to the MLS Best XI in 2007 and was the starting goalkeeper for the U.S. U-21 team in the 2008 Beijing Olympics. This is Guzan’s second MLS All-Star selection (2007, 2018).
Zack Steffen | Goalkeeper | Columbus Crew SC | Nationality: USA | Born: April 2, 1995
Steffen has been dubbed the future of goalkeeping for the U.S. National Team, notably posting seven saves to earn a draw against France earlier this year. The 23-year-old with 30 saves in 14 appearances this regular season is tied for a league-best seven shutouts, including five clean sheets and 17 saves from May 5-27. Steffen leads MLS with the lowest goals-against average (0.79) among goalkeepers appearing in nine or more games in 2018. His 19 saves during the Audi 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs were instrumental in Crew SC’s postseason run to the Eastern Conference Championship. This is Steffen’s first MLS All-Star Game selection.
Francisco Calvo | Defender | Minnesota United FC | Nationality: Costa Rica | Born: July 8, 1992
The captain of Minnesota United FC and a member of the Costa Rica National Team, Calvo earned a trip to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Calvo tallied two goals and an assist in 27 games during his inaugural MLS season in 2017. A versatile player who can play multiple defensive positions, Calvo has earned his first MLS All-Star Game selection.
Laurent Ciman | Defender | Los Angeles Football Club | Nationality: Belgium | Born: August 5, 1985
A member of the Belgium National Team, Ciman was a part of the squad in the 2014 FIFA World Cup in Brazil. In his inaugural year in MLS, he brought Montreal to the Concacaf Champions League final and the MLS Cup Playoffs and earned Impact Defensive Player of the Year. In addition, Ciman was named to MLS Best XI in 2015 and was awarded MLS Defender of the Year. This is Ciman’s third selection to the MLS All-Star Game (2015, 2016, 2018).
Matt Hedges | Defender | FC Dallas | Nationality: USA | Born: April 1, 1990
The 2016 MLS Defender of the Year, Hedges has become one of the most important players to the FC Dallas team and defense. Hedges was previously named to the MLS Best XI in 2015 and 2016. He has also earned five caps with the U.S. National Team. This is Hedges’ second MLS All-Star Game selection (2017, 2018).
Aaron Long | Defender | New York Red Bulls | Nationality: USA | Born: October 12, 1992
After winning the 2016 USL Cup and earning USL Defender of the Year with the New York Red Bulls II, Long has made a smooth transition to the Red Bulls back line for the past two MLS seasons. From 2017-18, Long has started in 43 of 46 games with three goals in regular-season play. He also made three starts during the 2017 MLS Cup Playoffs. This is Long’s first MLS All-Star Game selection.
Michael Murillo | Defender | New York Red Bulls | Nationality: Panama | Born: February 11, 1996
A member of the Panama National Team, Murillo has most recently taken his talents to the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. Murillo originally played for San Francisco FC’s youth academy in Panama, eventually transferring to the club’s first division team. This is Murillo’s first MLS All-Star Game selection.
Michael Parkhurst | Defender | Atlanta United | Nationality: USA | Born: January 24, 1984
The six-time MLS All-Star selection (2005, 2007, 2008, 2014, 2017, 2018) is one of the most celebrated defenders in MLS. Parkhurst has played for the U.S. Men’s National Team, earning 25 caps and winning the 2007 and 2013 Concacaf Gold Cup. He was awarded MLS Rookie of the Year in 2005, Defender of the Year in 2007, and was named to the MLS Best XI in 2007. Parkhurst became the first team captain for Atlanta United.
Graham Zusi | Defender | Sporting Kansas City | Nationality: USA | Born: August 18, 1986
The U.S. National Team defender has made 55 international appearances and was an integral player for the 2014 FIFA World Cup. Zusi has excelled for Sporting Kansas City, spending the entirety of his 10-year career with the team, and has helped Sporting earn the current top spot in the Western Conference. He is second in club history with 57 assists. Zusi was also previously named to the MLS Best XI in 2012 and 2013. This is Zusi’s sixth MLS All-Star selection (2012, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2017, 2018).
Miguel Almirón | Midfielder | Atlanta United | Nationality: Paraguay | Born: February 10, 1994
A member of the Paraguay National Team, Almirón starred for his country in the 2013 FIFA U-20 World Cup before breaking out in 2016 at the Copa America Centenario. The 24-year-old had an impressive first season, recording nine goals and 14 assists. On the 2018 season, he currently has six goals and seven assists. He was named the 2017 MLS Newcomer of the Year, was ranked No. 1 in the 2017 MLS 24 Under 24 list, was named to the 2017 MLS Best XI and was a finalist for 2017 Most Valuable Player. This is Almirón’s second MLS All-Star selection (2017, 2018).
Ezequiel Barco | Midfielder | Atlanta United | Nationality: Argentina | Born: March 29, 1999
The Argentina youth star, despite an early-season injury, has showcased his talent to the tune of three goals and an assist since early May to lead the club to first place in the Eastern Conference. He has played for Argentina’s U-20 team and made eight appearances. Before playing for Atlanta this season, Barco played for Independiente, and made appearances in Copa Sudamericana and Copa Argentina. This is Barco’s first MLS All-Star selection.
Alphonso Davies | Midfielder | Vancouver Whitecaps FC | Nationality: Canada | Born: November 2, 2000
The Canada National Team phenom and one of the youngest active MLS players in the league, Davies had an impressive 2017 with Vancouver. Davies also earned international acclaim when he won the 2017 Concacaf Gold Cup Golden Boot and was named to the tournament’s Best XI at age 16. During the 2018 MLS season, Davies ranks third in assists with seven. This is Davies’ first MLS All-Star Game selection.
Jonathan dos Santos | Midfielder | LA Galaxy | Nationality: Mexico | Born: April 26, 1990
A member of the Mexico National Team, dos Santos has most recently represented his country in the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia, as well as the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup. Dos Santos signed with the LA Galaxy in 2017 as a Designated Player after playing for Barcelona and Villarreal. This is his first MLS All-Star Game selection.
Alberth Elis | Midfielder | Houston Dynamo | Nationality: Honduras | Born: February 12, 1996
A member of the Honduras National Team since 2014, the 22-year-old Elis has been a budding member of the Dynamo since his 2017 debut. Elis scored 10 goals and four assists in 2017, and he is on his way to an even stronger 2018 MLS campaign. This year he has tallied eight goals and five assists in just 15 matches. During Concacaf Champions League play, Elis was named the tournament’s Best Young Player when he was competing for Olimpia. Elis earns his first MLS All-Star Game selection.
Ignacio Piatti | Midfielder | Montreal Impact | Nationality: Argentina | Born: February 4, 1985
The Montreal Impact star is once again putting together strong season in 2018 with eight goals and six assists. Piatti was named the Impact team MVP the past three seasons (2015-17). A model of consistency, Piatti recorded 17 goals and six assists in both the 2016 and 2017 seasons. He was named to the MLS Best XI in 2016. This is Piatti’s third MLS All-Star Game selection (2016, 2017, 2018).
Alexander Ring | Midfielder | New York City FC | Nationality: Finland | Born: April 9, 1991
A member of the Finland National Team, Ring has earned 44 appearances while scoring two goals in international play. Ring was selected as New York City FC’s Newcomer of the Year in 2017, posting four assists in 29 regular-season games after a successful career with FC Kaiserslautern. This is Ring’s first MLS All-Star Game selection.
Ilie Sanchez | Midfielder | Sporting Kansas City | Nationality: Spain | Born: November 21, 1990
Sporting Kansas City’s Newcomer of the Year in 2017 had a strong first season, appearing in 33 regular season games while adding two assists and helping contribute to 11 shutouts. This year, Sanchez has recorded two goals and three assists in 16 games as SKC leads the Western Conference. This is his first selection to the MLS All-Star Game.
Diego Valeri | Midfielder | Portland Timbers | Nationality: Argentina | Born: May 1, 1986
The 2017 Landon Donovan MLS MVP, Valeri finished last season with 21 goals and 22 assists and has starred for the Portland Timbers in all six years in the league, winning the Golden Boot in 2013, his first year with Portland. Valeri, who has made three appearances for the Argentina National Team, holds the record for the fastest goal in MLS Cup history and was previously named to the MLS Best XI in 2013, 2014 and 2017. This is Valeri’s fifth MLS All-Star Game selection (2013, 2014, 2016-2018).
Yoshimar Yotún | Midfielder | Orlando City SC | Nationality: Peru | Born: April 7, 1990
A starter and difference-maker for both club and country, Yotún played a heavy part in Peru’s run to the 2018 FIFA World Cup, as well as the buildup toward Peru’s first World Cup goal in 40 years. Yotún started in all three group matches in Russia. For Orlando City SC, Yotún has three goals and five assists this season. The creative midfielder has the versatility to also play as an attacking left back. This is Yotún’s first MLS All-Star Game selection.
Wilfried Zahibo | Midfielder | New England Revolution | Nationality: France | Born: August 21, 1993
In his inaugural season with the New England Revolution, Zahibo has three goals and four assists in 16 games played. After seven professional seasons in France and Spain, Zahibo made the transition to MLS from Valencia CF and La Liga. This is Zahibo’s first MLS All-Star Game selection.
Sebastian Giovinco | Forward | Toronto FC | Nationality: Italy | Born: January 26, 1987
Giovinco led Toronto FC to a historic treble in 2017 – the Supporters’ Shield, MLS Cup crown and the Canadian Championship title. A game changer since his MLS debut in 2015, Giovinco’s opening campaign included a record-breaking tally of combined goals and assists as he collected MLS Golden Boot, Newcomer of the Year, and Landon Donovan MLS MVP honors. Earlier in 2018, Giovinco was named the MVP of the Concacaf Champions League, leading Toronto to a runner-up finish. This is Giovinco’s fourth MLS All-Star Game selection (2015-18).
Zlatan Ibrahimović | Forward | LA Galaxy | Nationality: Sweden | Born: October 3, 1981
Signing with the Galaxy earlier this year, Ibrahimović stormed into the league with two late goals during his LA Galaxy debut on March 31. For 2018, he has tallied seven goals and three assists in 11 games played. The former Juventus player is Sweden’s all-time leading goal scorer with 62 goals in 116 games. Ibrahimović has played in two FIFA World Cups (2002, 2006). This is Ibrahimović’s first MLS All-Star Game selection.
Josef Martínez | Forward | Atlanta United | Nationality: Venezuela | Born: May 19, 1993
The top goal scorer in MLS for the 2018 season, Josef Martínez, had a wondrous first season in 2017 with recording 19 goals – the most ever by a player on an expansion team. In 2018, Martinez has scored a league-leading 14 goals. The 24-year-old was awarded both MLS Player of the Month and MLS Player of the Week two times in 2018. Martinez is a member of the Venezuela National Team in which he has been capped 42 times. This is Martínez’s first MLS All-Star selection.
Carlos Vela | Forward | Los Angeles Football Club | Nationality: Mexico | Born: March 1, 1989
A crucial member of the Mexico National Team, Vela has played in two World Cups (2010, 2018) and has won the Concacaf Gold Cup on two occasions. Before coming to LAFC, Vela played for such teams as Arsenal, Salamanca, Osasuna and Real Sociedad. He earned the Real Sociedad Player of the Year in 2011-12 and 2013-14. Now playing for LAFC, Vela has a team-leading seven goals and five assists. Vela has earned his first MLS All-Star selection.
David Villa | Forward | New York City FC | Nationality: Spain | Born: December 3, 1981
The 2016 Landon Donovan MLS MVP and captain of New York City FC, Villa was also an integral member for the Spain National Team in three FIFA World Cups (2006, 2010 and 2014); he scored five goals in leading Spain to its first World Cup crown in 2010. In 2018, Villa has tallied eight goals and four assists as New York City FC is once again among the top teams in the Eastern Conference. This is Villa’s fourth consecutive MLS All-Star Game selection (2015-18).
Bradley Wright-Phillips | Forward | New York Red Bulls | Nationality: England | Born: March 12, 1985
A two-time MLS Golden Boot Winner, Phillips has spent the entirety of his MLS career with the Red Bulls since 2013. In the 2018, he has netted 11 goals, which ranks second among the league leaders. In 2017, Wright-Phillips became the first player in Red Bulls history to reach 100 goals among all competitions – MLS regular season and postseason play, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and Concacaf Champions League. He was named to the MLS Best XI in 2014 and 2016. This is his second MLS All-Star Game selection (2014, 2018).