On August 1st, the MLS All-Star team will face off against one of Europe's powerhouses, Juventus. The match will take place at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of Atlanta United.
If you've been following MLS All-Star voting news, you'll be well aware that Atlanta United fans have taken over the voting this year. Six of the 10 players voted into the All-Star Game by the fans were Atlanta United players. Fortunately, the entire team is not voted on by fans as both the coach of the team (Tata Martino) and the Commissioner of the league (Don Garber) also have a say in the 26-man roster.
Since entering the league in 2015, David Villa has been New York City FC's main man. First signing, captain, all-time leading goalscorer, and now, four-time All-Star. Not to the surprise of many, Tata Martino selected David Villa to the All-Star Team. However, in his three previous trips to this celebration of the league, he has only been joined by an NYCFC teammate once, when Andrea Pirlo joined him in 2016.
Now, two years later, another central midfielder will be joining him. Alex Ring, often overlooked when discussing the best midfielders in MLS, was not overlooked by Tata Martino. The Finnish midfielder has quickly become a fan favorite in the Big Apple and that is thanks to his ability on the field, his willingness to do whatever it takes to win, and his love for the club.
For just the second time, David Villa will have an NYCFC teammate with him at the All-Star Game. As for Alex Ring, maybe he is finally starting to get the respect he deserves. After all, if Tata Martino thinks you're a good player, you're probably a pretty good player.
Full All-Star Team below.
Goalkeepers (2): Brad Guzan (Atlanta United), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC).
Defenders (7): Francisco Calvo (Minnesota United FC), Laurent Ciman (LAFC), 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 (11): Miguel Almiron (Atlanta United), Ezequiel Barco (Atlanta United), Alphonso Davies (Vancouver Whitecaps), Jonathan dos Santos (LA Galaxy), Alberth Elis (Houston Dynamo), Ignacio Piatti (Montreal Impact), Alex Ring (New York City FC), Ilie Sánchez (Sporting Kansas City), Diego Valeri (Portland Timbers), Yoshimar Yotún (Orlando City SC), Wilfried Zahibo (New England Revolution).
Forwards (6): Sebastian Giovinco (Toronto FC), Zlatan Ibrahimović (LA Galaxy), Josef Martinez (Atlanta United), Carlos Vela (LAFC), David Villa (New York City FC), Bradley Wright-Phillips (New York Red Bulls).