The 2018 All-Star festivities came to an end last night, as the best from MLS fell just short after they were beaten by European giants, Juventus, on penalties. It was enjoyable, despite watching from afar, but it is still an event which leaves many people opinionated about its format.
Here’s my view: Make the All-Star game East vs West or abolish it. As well as that, schedule the game to take place once the MLS season has concluded.
Major League Soccer is currently on a steep upwards trajectory and the league is starting to be taken very seriously – especially in Europe. Just look at the recent Alphonso Davies transfer to Bayern Munich as an example. Not long ago, you would be considered insane for believing a European powerhouse would be prepared to pay what could rise to $22million for a 17-year-old from MLS. Times are changing.
It’s my personal belief that having a mid-season friendly against a big European club undermines Major League Soccer at this stage, and I don’t think the league needs to do it this way anymore. In some way, it’s begging these clubs for a piggyback and help in regards to publicity. I can see why in past years, games against the likes of Bayern Munich and Real Madrid can bring the spotlight to a young league, but MLS is in a good place right now.
The ideal scenario for me would be to schedule the All-Star game for the end of the year, and make the game East vs West. It could become a huge weekend-long celebration for the league. You could even have it before the season if weather concerns are an issue. Create a Friday to Sunday event and allow MLS fans to meet and greet players from all over the league. Make it ALL about Major League Soccer, rather than a European club who, in reality, don’t care about the league at all.
So what are the chances of the All-Star game becoming East vs West?
Don Garber, the MLS Commissioner, was actually speaking about this last night during an interview with ESPN. He mentioned that East vs West is something they’re looking at, so there is potential. He also mentioned the possibility of MLS taking on a Liga MX All-Stars. Not something that appeals to me, personally, too CONCACAFy for my liking.
What changes would you like to see implemented, or would you keep it the same? I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on this!