The MLS has announced what top-flight European club will face its All-Star squad this July: Atlético Madrid.
— Planet Fútbol (@si_soccer) April 1, 2019
MLS All-Star Game Details
The 2019 MLS All-Star game takes place on July 31st at Orlando City Stadium.
Atlético Madrid, who will be in the middle of their 2019 ICC schedule, should provide very challenging match for the All-Stars. Atléti playing at anything near their full defensive capabilities will make it impossible for the MLS squad to score. And while Atléti aren’t quite the global brand as their La Liga peers Barcelona and Real Madrid, they still have plenty of star power, including striker Antoine Griezmann, Thomas Lemar, Koke, Diego Costa, Álvaro Morata, and Saúl Ñíguez if Manchester City don’t buy him first.
Last year’s game against Juventus (sans Ronaldo) in Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium drew a record crowd of 72,317.
A rare midweek matchday in La Liga will see Real Madrid, Barcelona and Atlético Madrid heavily favored — with one exception, which we’ll get to later — so let’s talk, again, about the race for fourth place (and the ’19-20 Champions League).
Last weekend, fourth-place Getafe, fifth-place Alavés and sixth-place Sevilla all suffered shutout losses. Disappointing results, obviously, but less so because none of those teams are any further from UCL qualification than they were before matchday 29.
The team that should be most concerned is Getafe, whose 2-0 loss to Leganés was difficult to see coming. While losing by a score of 4-0 is embarrassing, Alavés’ result against Atleti was understandable considering the opponent. Sevilla’s 1-0 loss to Valencia means the race is now more crowded, as the gap between Getafe (46 points) and Valencia, which is tied with Sevilla with 43 points, could be closed by the end of this week.
Key La Liga Match-Ups
Here are quick breakdowns of what’s next for each of these UCL hopefuls.
- Getafe at Espanyol – today, 2:30 p.m. Eastern: A must-win game for the current leaders of this race, who cannot afford another loss to a team in the bottom half of the standings. Espanyol is coming off a loss to Barcelona and has won just one of its last five matches. Getafe, which has not lost back-to-back games all season, will need to remain resilient over the final nine games of the season.
- Alavés at Sevilla – Thursday, 1:30 p.m. Eastern: Alavés entered the loss to Atlético somewhat of an enigma. Was this team much better than what metrics like goal-differential seemed to indicate? Or was it a matter of time before it was exposed as a pretender? The 4-0 loss to Los Rojiblancos was not a good sign, but Alavés has a great opportunity to bounce back in a pivotal game against Sevilla. I like Sevilla – which has lost three of five – to win this one at home, but this is the most compelling match-up of the week.
- Valencia vs. Real Madrid – Wednesday, 3:30 p.m. Eastern: If Valencia can upset Real Madrid at home, we might have a new favorite in this race – and it could be a team we’ve barely mentioned until now. Los Blancos are hard to predict with the way Zinedine Zidane is shuffling lineups. Will we see more of his son in goal? Valencia is quietly the hottest team in Spain outside of the big three, as it is unbeaten in league play since Jan. 5, with five wins and six draws since. They’ll most likely need to pile up more wins than draws in their final nine to qualify for the UCL, but they deserve your attention right now. FiveThirtyEight, FWIW, gives Valencia a 44 percent chance to win, while saying that a Real Madrid victory (32 percent) is more likely than a draw (24 percent).
Premier League Matchday 33 kicks off on Tuesday with one of the better games on the slate, as Wolverhampton host Manchester United.
In between Tuesdays games (Watford also hosts Fulham), some straggler games from Matchday 27 (Chelsea vs. Brighton) and Matchday 31 (Tottenham host Crystal Palace) take place. Manchester City also vie to overtake pole position in the Premier League on Wednesday in their Matchday 33 fixture against Cardiff City.
Matchday 33 Betting Lines Preview
All listed odds from March 31 on BetStars NJ.
|Wolverhampton +290||Draw +235||Manchester United +100|
|Watford -150||Draw +300||Fulham +400|
|Manchester City -1600||Draw +1100||Cardiff +3500|
|Southampton +650||Draw +350||Liverpool -225|
|Bournemouth +110||Draw +250||Burnley +245|
|Huddersfield Town +375||Draw +260||Leicester City-133|
|Newcastle United +155||Draw +210||Crystal Palace +195|
|Everton +220||Draw +260||Arsenal +115|
|Chelsea -250||Draw +380||West Ham +700|
Odds & Ends
- Current league leaders Liverpool travel to Southampton on Friday April 5th. This game is no given for the Reds. Southampton have three wins in their last five. While they’re five clear of relegation, they’re fighting to stay clear of the bottom three.
- Manchester City, on the other hand, look to regain their status atop the table with what looks like a tap in against Cardiff. FiveThirtyEight gives Cardiff less than a 1% chance to win and oddsmaker agree, listing them at an impossibly long +3500.
- The Wolverhampton +290 line is interesting. They’re at home. Manchester United may be due for an emotional letdown after making the wise hire of Ole Gunnar Solskjaer. You could do worse than the +290 or +235 for the draw.
- And Huddersfield Town continue their march to the most losses in Premier League history. Leicester City find themselves as a road favorite, though FiveThirtyEight give Huddersfield a 29% shot at winning.