Atlético Madrid is looking forward to making its debut in the 2019 MLS All-Star Game at Orlando City Stadium.
The storied Spanish La Liga side will face top MLS players July 31 in Orlando. MLS plans to officially announce the matchup Thursday morning. Atlético Madrid’s lineup features stars Antoine Griezmann, Diego Costa, Álvaro Morata and Jan Oblak.
“We want the people to come and enjoy,” Griezmann said. “Of course, we are going to enjoy this, too, because it’s something unique. This is the first time we are going to do this and we hope to have a good, exciting game. We want everyone to have a good time.”
Greizmann even suggested he could one day line up on the other side of the all-star matchup.
“It’s going to be nice to play against the best players in MLS,” he said. “The league continues to improve every year. I [could] even see myself playing there in the future. It’s a league that I like and it will be nice for us to play them.
The opponent for the 2019 All-Star game was first reported by SI.com’s Grant Wahl.
Orlando City SC season ticket holders will get priority pre-sale access for tickets to the game. The pre-sale begins Friday at 10 a.m., with tickets on sale to the general public on May 9 at 10 a.m. on Ticketmaster.com.
The match marks the 16th time an international club will face the MLS all-stars and the second time the match will feature team from La Liga.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to grow the big, upcoming names in the league,” said Orlando City striker Dom Dwyer. “And also, it’s an opportunity for them to test their skills against some of the best teams in the world.”
July’s match will be the second time in MLS history the league’s all-star game is hosted in Orlando. The city previously hosted the game in 1998 at what was then known as the Citrus Bowl. That venue, now called Camping World Stadium, wasn’t considered for the 2019 all-star game.
The 2018 All-Star Game against Serie A titan Juventus at Mercedes-Benz Stadium – built for both the Atlanta Falcons of the NFL and MLS side Atlanta United – drew a record announced crowd of 72,317. Orlando City Stadium seats just over 25,500.
“The atmosphere in Orlando is ridiculous,” Dwyer said. “… Even before I came here, it was something that, you know, a team normally joins the league and struggles to fill their stadium for a while. Orlando doesn’t have that issue. It’s bumping, it’s loud and it doesn’t sound like 20,000, it sounds like 40 [thousand].”
MLS newcomer and Orlando City star Nani said he’s expecting a fun celebration when the game comes to Orlando.
“Orlando is fantastic,” Nani said. “The atmosphere in our stadium, it’s amazing.”
Orlando City majority owner Flávio Augusto da Silva said Orlando City Stadium landing the all-star game marks the culmination of a five-year journey for the franchise.
MLS bringing one of its marquee events to Orlando is about more than just the match itself. The league also hosts the Homegrown Game, which is a showcase of some of the youngest talent in the league, and fan festivities, such as the MLS All-Star Concert.
MLS Works, the league’s community outreach initiative, also holds events in the host city, which is adorned in banners and signs.
“We will do the best All-Star Game ever,” da Silva said when the game announced.