The MLS All-Star game is always a fun time to give some of the players an opportunity to face a big time club that loves to visiti the USA and try to get their season in gear as they start their pre-season in late July begining of August.
This season Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia will host the 2018 MLS All-Star Game as the league invited Serie A Champions Juventus to be this years opponent. But joining the All-Stars and representing the Red Bulls are two defenders and one striker.
Aaron Long & Michael Murillo were selected by Atlanta United manager Gerardo “Tata” Martino to be apart of the group while Commissioner Don Garber used his lone selection to add Bradley Wright-Phillips to the squad.
Currently sitting at 97 league goals and scored 115 in all competitions, BWP has shown consistency when he is attacking the net and converting his chances in many spectacular ways in the run of play, headers and bicycle kicks in his nearly five and a half seasons with the club.
Of course we can’t forget the goal he scored in Portland in that All-Star game back in 2014 when he played in the second half and ripped a beautiful top shelf shot against German side Bayern Munich that began the comeback for the All-Stars.
“They let you know that you’ve had a decent season so far, if I’m being honest I’m more happy for Aaron (Long) & Michael (Murillo). They had a good season and they deserve it.” said Wright-Phillips.
“It’s going to be good to test yourself against these top sides around the world and it’s always god to see where you are at. I think it would be good for them to see what this league is all about.”
For Murillo and Aaron Long, both men have been playing solid as two of the four members of that backline has played strong and making fantastic run back defending to prevent others from converting their chances, but they have scored some nice goals as well.
“I guess it’s a special moment and relish it a little bit and it’s a big thing in my career.” said Long, “It’s something that I have always dreamt of, most young American kids dream about playing for a top team in Europe.
There isn’t a lot of opportunities to do that, so getting called up to play in this All-Star game to take on Juve, which is a historical side from Italy is for sure an amazing moment.”
And of course we need the thoughts from the Head Coach of the Red Bulls in Jesse Marsch and need to know what he thinks about his three players making the selection for the All-Star Game.
“I am very happy for those three I think Amir has emerged as a really good player in this league as he has done well for us this year. For Bradley it’s a continuing acknowledgement as to how great he has been for five years and he is atop of or second on the leaderboard in scoring so no surprise there.
And there is Aaron Long who has put in a lot of good work for these past three years here and it’s nice to see him finally acknowledged for how he’s playing, how he’s doing and I think this will be one of many accolade's that will come his way in the near future and we are very happy for him.”
Said Jesse Marsch
“On top of that I think that there are a lot of other guys that could’ve been easily named as well so when you see the overall group we believe their could’ve been at least nine guys that could be all-stars.
So that’s a reflection on how the teams playing and how the individuals are playing and that game is a lot of fun, I know from being at it once that you play with guys that you compete against and facing Juventus will be a lot of fun.”
Congratulations to Bradley Wright-Phillips, Michael Murillo and Aaron Long for being selected to the MLS All-Star Team that will face Italian Serie A champions Juventus down in Atlanta, Georgia for a fun evening of soccer before the regular season resumes.