A big crowd packed Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the MLS all-star game. (John David Mercer-USA TODAY Sports)
ATLANTA — An MLS stand-alone record of 72,317 watched the Major League Soccer all-star game at Mercedes-Benz Stadium Wednesday night.
The match broke the stand-alone MLS all-star game attendance record of 70,728, which was set in Houston in 2010, when the best in MLS took on Manchester United.
“I think everything I have to say is positive,” said Atlanta United head coach Tata Martino, who guided the MLS all-star squad. “The league and Atlanta put on this show together. They were able to show off our beautiful stadium, the amazing crowd they have in Atlanta, and I think it was a positive sign for Atlanta as a city and also the league.”
Well, not everything was positive. MLS lost to Juventus in a shootout, 5-3, after the teams played to a 1-1 tie over 90 minutes. There was no extratime.
Still, the result did not the overall environment of the game or the atmosphere at the stadium.
“I think that’s normal now here in Atlanta regarding the records with the number of people we get,” Atlanta midfielder Miguel Almiron said. “That’s why I just want to say again how much we all appreciate the support here in Atlanta that they provide to us every single match at home.”
Vancouver Whitecaps FC defender Alphonso Davies agreed.
“It was loud, very loud,” he added. “The atmosphere was good. Playing in front of 72,000 people is I think the largest crowd that I’ve ever played in front of so far in my career. They made tonight really special.”
The all-time MLS all-star game record was set in 1996, when 78,416 jammed into Giants Stadium in a doubleheader that also featured the Brazil Olympic team against the FIFA World Stars. Several weeks later, Brazil earned a bronze medal at the Atlanta Summer Olympics.
Top attendances for stand-alone MLS all-star games
|YEAR||MLS ALL-STAR RESULTS||VENUE||ATT.|
|2010||2-5 L vs. Manchester United||Reliant Stadium, Houston||70,728|
|2017||1-1 D (2-4 PK) vs. Real Madrid||Soldier Field, Chicago||61,428|
|1998||MLS USA 6, MLS World 1||Citrus Bowl, Orlando||34,416|
|2002||3-2 W vs. U.S. MNT||RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.||31,096|
|2003||3-1 W vs. Chivas de Guad.||The Home Depot Center, Carson, Calif.||27,000|
MLS All-Star doubleheaders
1996: MLS All-Star Game (East 3, West 2) was part of a doubleheader at Giants Stadium (78,416) that also featured Brazil vs. the FIFA World Stars
1999: MLS All-Star Game (West 6, East 4) was part of a doubleheader at Qualcomm Stadium (23,227) that also featured Chivas de Guadalajara vs. Universidad Catolica