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Orlando to host 2019 MLS All-Star Game

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By Agence France-Presse

Orlando will host the 24th Major League Soccer All-Star Game next year, pitting a collection of talent against a top European club, league commissioner Don Garber announced Thursday.

It will mark the fourth All-Star event in the Florida vacation wonderland after the 1992 and 2012 NBA All-Star Games and the 1998 MLS All-Star Game, in which a lineup of US MLS standouts beat their international MLS rivals 6-1.

The match will be played at Orlando City Stadium, the 25,500-seat venue completed in time for the start of the team’s 2017 campaign. The Lions average more than 24,000 spectators a match, fifth-best in the 23-team league.

“We worked for years to get this beautiful stadium and said it was about taking this city and expressing it to the world,” Garber said.

“From day one, ownership said, ‘When are we going to get our All-Star Game?’ We waited for the right time for the team and the fans to be ready and have the passion when we take on the world.”

Exactly which team the MLS All-Stars will face next year was not revealed.

“It will be a secret for us to build anticipation,” Garber said.

Last month, the MLS All-Stars held Italian champions Juventus to a 1-1 draw in Atlanta before losing on penalties. Real Madrid won on penalties after a 1-1 draw in 2017 at Chicago.

Other European sides to face the MLS elite have included Manchester United, Chelsea, Roma, Bayern Munich, Celtic, Arsenal and Tottenham.

“We couldn’t be prouder of our fans for embracing our club and creating the passionate atmosphere that is giving us the opportunity to bring this event to Orlando,” team chairman Flavio Augusto da Silva said.