Which team should MLS All-Stars face in 2018?

Real Madrid’s Karim Benzema, left, and MLS All-Stars’ Michael Parkhurst vie for the ball during the second half of the MLS All-Star Game, Wednesday, Aug. 2, 2017, in Chicago. Real Madrid won the game. (AP Photo/Nam Y. Huh)

If Atlanta and Atlanta United were to host the 2018 MLS All-Star game, who would the opponent be?

It’s certainly fun to speculate.

The All-Stars were beaten by Real Madrid in penalty kicks in Chicago on Wednesday. In past years, the All-Stars have hosted some of world’s best club teams: Arsenal, Everton, Roma, Chelsea, Bayern Munich, Celtic, Fulham, Chivas, Tottenham Hotspur and West Ham.

Atlanta United manager Gerardo Martino, who would likely manage the All-Stars if he remains with the club and the city hosts the game, said he would like to see Newell’s Old Boys, a club he played for and managed in his native Argentina, be the opponent.

He said they would definitely fill 70,000 seats in Rosario, Argentina, but not sure if that would happen at Mercedes-Benz Stadium. More than 61,000 attended the game in Chicago.

“At this point it’s just a possibility that the game would come here,” Martino said. “I’m going to leave that to the league because they’ve done a good job bringing in big teams the past few years. I’m just going to keep working on my job in Atlanta.”

Atlanta United defender Michael Parkhurst didn’t know which team he would like the All-Stars to potentially face next. He did know which team he wouldn’t want to face: Barcelona, which Martino managed in 2013-14.

“They are a team that you can’t prepare in a day-and-a-half,” said Parkhurst, who appeared in his fifth All-Star game in Chicago. “The way the press and keep the ball, it wouldn’t be fun.”

Martino said Barcelona “would be good.”

NOTE: The teams included in the poll are from my imagination and not on-the-record possibilities.

 


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