MLS All-Stars vs. Liga MX All-Stars: Notable Storylines Surrounding Key Players

Joe TanseyAugust 9, 2022

MLS All-Stars vs. Liga MX All-Stars: Notable Storylines Surrounding Key Players

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    The Major League Soccer and Liga MX All-Stars will meet for the second straight year in the MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday at Allianz Field in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

    The MLS side come into the exhibition with a 1-0 record against the best from the Mexican first division after winning on penalties in 2021 at Banc of California Stadium in Los Angeles.

    The stars on both rosters will likely play no more than 45 minutes, so they have a smaller window to make an impact than in their usual games.

    Add in the fact that most of the All-Stars have not been on the same team in their careers, and you have the potential for the game to lack goals.

    However, talent finds talent and it may not take long for the likes of Carlos Vela to link up with other starters.

    The Los Angeles FC forward is one of the main attractions on both rosters, but he will not be the only impact player on the field for MLS.

    Sebastian Driussi of Austin FC is the front-runner to win the Most Valuable Player award, and he has a chance to continue his dominant season with an All-Star Game win on the line.

    The Liga MX roster may not have a ton of household names, but their top players could be as dangerous as Vela, Driussi and the other top scorers in the MLS squad.

All Eyes on Carlos Vela...Again

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    Carlos Vela is the primary name that sticks out on the MLS All-Star roster.

    The former Mexico international is the most recognizable name on the MLS All-Star team, with only Javier Hernandez able to challenge him for that title.

    Vela is not on a 34-goal pace, as he was in 2019, but he is still an important piece of an LAFC squad that sits atop the Supporters' Shield standings in MLS.

    The 33-year-old enters All-Star week with seven goals and will be one of the favorites to find the back of the net in Minnesota.

    As we noted, the All-Star Game only allows for 45-minute shifts for most stars because the managers will try to get as many players on the field over 90 minutes. There are unlimited substitutions in the contest.

    Vela has an edge over most of the forward line because he has been through the All-Star festivities twice before in his career. The rigors of media appearances and building chemistry with new teammates could take a toll on some of the new All-Stars.

    The ex-Real Sociedad star, who captained the 2018 and 2019 MLS All-Star teams, does not have a goal in the exhibition match and that is one of the last individual achievements he has not reached in the league.

    Expect Vela to be on the ball often while he is on the field, which could lead to a few significant chances.

Sebastián Driussi Looking to Continue Breakout Season

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    MLS Golden Boot leader Sebastián Driussi may be the most anticipated player to watch in the All-Star Game outside of the big names on the roster.

    The Argentine forward has scored 16 goals for Austin FC to take the second-year side into second place in the Western Conference. They sit six points back of LAFC for the Supporters' Shield.

    Driussi has been a goal-scoring machine for Austin and will get a chance to flex his attacking might alongside Vela, Chicharito and some of the league's other top scorers.

    In fact, the 26-year-old could come away from the exhibition game as the player most fans are in awe of. Some supporters of Eastern Conference teams, or ones that tune in just for the All-Star Game, may not be aware of how dynamic he is.

    Driussi will not have an extended time to make an impact, but as he has shown with Austin, all he needs is one moment of brilliance to deliver a memorable goal.

    The MLS roster boasts a handful of other top scorers, including FC Cincinnati's Brandon Vazquez and FC Dallas' Jesus Ferreira, but when you lead the league in goals, you are expected to perform at a high level whether the match is an exhibition or not.

Which Players Will Break Out for Liga MX Team?

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    The Liga MX roster looks a bit different compared to the 2021 edition.

    Mexico internationals Guillermo Ochoa and Rogelio Funes Mori are not on the roster, and most of the El Tri members of the All-Star squad are relatively new to the national-team picture.

    For some players, the MLS All-Star Game could serve as an introduction of sorts to the USA fanbase. Kevin Alvarez, Luis Chavez, Erik Lira, Fernando Beltran and Uriel Antuna were all in the most recent Mexico roster for the CONCACAF Nations League in June. Antuna is the only member of that group with more than 15 international appearances.

    The biggest breakout stars from the Liga MX could be the Argentine contingent, led by forward Germán Berterame, who scored 16 goals for Atletico San Luis last season.

    The 23-year-old used his big season to earn a move to Monterrey, where he has three goals in five matches in the new league campaign.

    Berterame is one of three double-digit scorers from the last Liga MX campaign to be included in the All-Star squad. Atlas teammates Julián Quiñones and Julio Furch scored 11 goals each last season.

    Berterame is one of the top scorers in the Liga MX season, and he may be tasked with leading the line since the likes of André-Pierre Gignac and Henry Martin are not in the All-Star squad.

    Other players could break out with a goal or a star performance in defense, but based off recent form, the South American contingent in the Liga MX squad are likely to have the biggest impact.

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