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Real Madrid announced as opponent for MLS All-Star Game at Soldier Field

Real Madrid announced as opponent for MLS All-Star Game at Soldier Field

It has been more than two months since Major League Soccer announced that the 2017 MLS All-Star Game would be coming to Soldier Field in Chicago, but now the opponent is finally known.

Real Madrid was announced as the team that will take on the MLS All-Star team on Wednesday, Aug. 2, with an 8 p.m. kickoff. Madrid becomes the first Spanish club to be included in the MLS All-Star Game.

Madrid has won the UEFA Champions League a record 11 times, including winning the competition last season. The team features a collection of some of the best talent in the world, including Cristiano Ronaldo, Gareth Bale, James Rodriguez and Sergio Ramos.

With the Chicago Fire serving as host for the All-Star Game, coach Veljko Paunovic will lead the MLS All-Stars in the game.

"It is an honor to represent Major League Soccer and to work with our league's great players in a match against one of the top clubs in the world," Paunovic said in a statement released by the Fire. "I know how special it is to compete against Real Madrid and I think our players and fans will enjoy the experience."

During his playing career, Paunovic played for one of Real Madrid's chief rivals, Atletico Madrid.

"That's a fantastic and very important event for the city, for the club and we are very grateful that we have this honor to play the MLS game against Real Madrid, one of the best teams in the world," Paunovic said after the Fire's 3-0 win against New England. "For everyone in the city I think it's a great opportunity to show how well we are prepared, how we can organize and how we can welcome everyone who is coming to watch the game. Also, we want to give all the fans around the world the opportunity to see a fantastic spectacle. I think that's our objective. We want to play well, we want to build a team and we want to give the fans the opportunity to enjoy in the United States, but broader, too. All around the world I think it's going to be a soccer holiday and we are very excited about it."

There will be a presale offering through the Fire, but tickets will go on sale to the public on May 4.

The MLS All-Star Game comes with a number of other events leading into the match, including the league's Homegrown Game which pits homegrown players from around the league against another youth team. Further details around those events have not yet been announced.

MLS announces return to play plan for tournament at Disney World

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USA Today

MLS announces return to play plan for tournament at Disney World

MLS soccer is coming back this summer.

The league announced a plan to have all 26 MLS clubs resume play on July 8 with a league-wide “MLS is Back Tournament.”

The games will be played at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World, without fans in the stands.

Here’s how it will work:

Clubs can arrive in Orlando to begin training on June 24. Then a group stage will begin July 8 followed by a knockout stage, starting July 25.

There will be six groups, three for each the Western and Eastern Conferences. The group stage draw will occur on June 11 at 2:30 p.m. CT.

Each team will play three group stage matches, and the results from those games will count in the 2020 MLS regular season standings.

Then the top two teams from each group, plus the four best third-place finishers will advance to the knockout stage. That stage starts with a round-of-16, followed by quarterfinals, semifinals and then the championship game. The championship game will be played on August 11.

In case of a tie at the end of regulation in the knockout stage, games will proceed directly to a penalty kick shootout.

The winner of the tournament will earn a berth in the 2021 Concacaf Champions League.

At the conclusion of the tournament, MLS will resume its regular season followed by the MLS Cup Playoffs and MLS Cup.

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MLS cancels three marquee events in wake of coronavirus, reschedules for 2021

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USA TODAY

MLS cancels three marquee events in wake of coronavirus, reschedules for 2021

Major League Soccer announced Tuesday the cancelation of three marquee 2020 events in wake of the coronavirus pandemic.

The 2020 MLS All-Star Game, Leagues Cup and Campeones Cup have all been canceled, the league announced Tuesday. Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles, Calif. was set to host the All-Star game on July 29, and MLS said the 2021 event is now expected to take place at the same venue. 

MLS will resume negotiations with LIGA MX with hopes of squaring off in the 2021 exhibition match.

The second annual Leagues Cup tournament was set to occur between July and September, featuring top MLS and LIGA MX teams. The two leagues canceled the event in a joint decision and plan to play the tournament next year.

Similarly, MLS and LIGA MX jointly canceled the Campeones Cup, which features the reigning MLS champion against the LIGA MX's Campeón de Campeones winner. The 2020 event was scheduled for Aug. 12 at CenturyLink field, home of Seattle Sounders FC. It will return in 2021.