Arsenal to be opponent for 2016 MLS All-Star Game

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by RYAN BRISTER

Having hosted their North London rivals for last year’s All-Star Game, Major League Soccer will face off against Arsenal this year. The game will be played July 28th at Avaya Stadium in San Jose.

The announcement made today signals that MLS is not straying from its All-Star Game tradition of hosting European clubs for the mid-season friendly. The league has done so every year since 2005, but poor ratings for last year’s event led some in the media to question whether the practice had outlived its purpose.

While other Premier League teams have made U.S. tours a staple of the summer training for years now, Arsenal has generally avoided North America. Their friendly at Red Bull Arena in 2014 marks their sole appearance stateside since 1989. This is despite the fact that the Gunners are one of the most-supported clubs among American Premier League fans.

Arsenal’s ties to the U.S. include the presence of young U.S. international Gedion Zelalem, who is currently on loan with Rangers in Scotland.

Avaya Stadium, which opened last year, holds 18,000 people. San Jose last hosted the All-Star Game in 2001, when it was played at Spartan Stadium.