Summer 2024 will see the annual return of the Major League Soccer All Star game, with a European giant likely to play the best and brightest from around the North American top flight.
The All Star game is a truly unique event in football. The MLS squad is made up of players from across the league, chosen by fans’ votes and selections by the team’s manager and the league commissioner. This team then plays a top quality opponent.
With the exception of 2020-2022, every summer since 2005 this opponent has taken the form of a European opponent. And the All Stars have recorded some big victories, besting Bayern Munich, Chelsea and Tottenham in recent years.
The game also crowns an MVP, which has included some stellar names down the years, including Landon Donovan, Kaka, and most recently Bukayo Saka.
2024 MLS All Star game betting
As such a high-profile game, there will be myriad markets to place wagers on. In this article, we’ll take a look at some key markets and see what past All Star games can tell us.
Over 2.5 goals
One thing the All-Star game almost always provides is goals.
Since the All-Stars started playing foreign sides in 2005, there has been an average of 2.83 goals per game. Arsenal scored five against the All Stars in 2023’s edition. This is a pretty sure-fire wager.
Both teams to score
In-keeping with goalscoring, most All Star games also see both sides score. Since 2005, there have only been five clean sheets in 18 editions, though Arsenal did keep one in the most recent All-Star game as they won 5-0.
Winning margin of 2+ goals
The All Star game is a close affair the majority of the time, as the home side usually has a fitness edge which closes the quality gap. But, there are occasionally some blowouts, and on seven occasions, the All Star game has had a side win by two or more goals.
Messi to score 2+ goals
The 2024 All Star game will arguably see the biggest football star of all time take to the pitch: Lionel Messi.
The Argentine genius has been phenomenal since moving to Inter Miami, and has been filling out stadiums with just his presence.
The All Star game exists somewhere between competitive and friendly, like many super-cups that raise the curtain before the season gets going in Europe. Messi has scored seven goals in super-cups across his career. With the extra motivation of showing Europe’s best that he’s still got it, don’t bet against Messi scoring at least two.
Who will play for the MLS all stars?
The All Star game always brings together Major League Soccer’s finest footballers. Here are our pick for who will play, as well as some projected odds on their inclusion.
Lionel Messi – 1/15
The biggest star in MLS is, of course, Lionel Messi. Providing he is fit, the 36-year-old is near certain to play. A big part of why Messi is the best-paid player in MLS history is to raise the profile of the league in games like this.
Luciano Acosta – 1/2
Another player very likely to play is Messi’s fellow Argentine, Luciano Acosta. The diminutive attacking midfielder was named the MLS 2023 MVP after a stunning season at FC Cincinnati, in which he scored 19 and assisted 12, as his side won the title. The only obstacle to Acosta’s starting place is Messi, as they both play off a more traditional striker.
Denis Bouanga – 1/5
Gabonese winger Denis Bouanga has seen a remarkable uptick in his career since joining LAFC in 2022. The 29-year-old was top scorer last season with 25, and is now a regular for his country. As Bouanga largely starts from the left wing, he is near certain to start.
Walker Zimmerman – 2/3
30-year-old Walker Zimmerman is an MLS stalwart. Zimmermann has been in the MLS team of the year for five years in a row, and his experience and skill will be essential to trying to keep out the All Stars’ opponents. The only factor against Zimmerman is that the fans may opt for a fresh face.
Jordi Alba – 1/4
Lionel Messi has brought some old friends along from Barcelona. Sergio Busquets, Luis Suarez and Jordi Alba have all joined Messi at Inter Miami. Alba is still a top-drawer left-back, has a telepathic connection with Messi and is well-versed in dealing with the best wingers Europe has to offer.
Our other picks:
Here is our complete XI prediction for the 2024 MLS All Stars, in a 4-2-3-1 formation.
- Roman Burki
- Santiago Arias
- Matt Miazga
- Walker Zimmerman
- Jordi Alba
- Hector Herrera
- Riqui Puig
- Luciano Acosta
- Lionel Messi
- Denis Bouanga
- Cucho Hernandez
We feel that Roman Burki starts in goal, as he was named MLS goalkeeper of the year. Former Atletico Madrid pair Santiago Arias and Hector Herrera will provide steel in deep areas, and Matt Miazga has matured into an excellent defender since his Chelsea spell.
Riqui Puig has been a rare bright spot in some dark times at LA Galaxy, and few midfielders can match his technical quality. Leading the line, we have selected Cucho Hernandez. The Colombian forward had a terrific 2023, and scored 21 goals for Columbus Crew, plus eight assists. That said, do not be surprised if Luis Suarez makes an appearance from the bench.