Fan Guide to MLS All-Star Week at Loons’ Allianz Field

Minnesota will host its first MLS All-Star Game on Wednesday at Allianz Field, a game pitting the best players in MLS against the best in Mexico’s Liga MX.

Here’s a fan guide to the game and the events leading up to it:

MONDAY

MLS Works All-Star Service Day

9am-4pm, Target Center Plaza Commons

Give back with a family celebration featuring food, music, entertainment and games that will cook 100,000 healthy meals for children and families in need.

MLS All-Star Concert

7:30 p.m., The Communes

Five-time Grammy nominee Khalid performs Monday at the Commons across from US Bank Stadium in downtown Minneapolis. Twin Cities-based singer Miloe is set to open. General admission tickets are $25 on SeatGeek.com. Doors open at 6 p.m.

TUESDAY

MLS All-Star Football Celebration

Tuesday and Wednesday, 3-7 p.m., Allianz Field Great Lawn

This sports festival features interactive fan zones, games, autograph sessions, giveaways and appearances by MLS players on the Great Lawn at Allianz Field ahead of Tuesday’s All-Star Skills Challenge and Wednesday’s game evening. It also includes musical performances by Minnesota hip-hop artist Nur-D (Tuesdays at 6:10 a.m.) and singer-writer-dancer Tinashe (Wednesdays at 5:45 a.m.).

Soccer Celebration is free whether or not you have tickets for Tuesday’s Tech Challenge and Wednesday’s game. It takes place from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesday and Wednesday.

MLS All-Star Skills Challenge

7:30 p.m., Allianz Field

Tickets: Available from $15 on SeatGeek.com

TV: ESPN2

Players from MLS and Liga MX meet in a competition designed to showcase their skills. Minnesota United midfielder Emanuel Reynoso and goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair are on the MLS 10-man roster.

They will join other MLS All-Stars such as Chicharito of LA Galaxy, reigning MVP Carles Gil of New England, Sebastian Driussi of Austin FC, Hany Mukhtar of Nashville SC and MLS Cup MVP 2021 Sean Johnson of New York City FC.

The MLS team will play for Special Olympics Minnesota and the Special Olympics Unified Football Team while the Liga MX All-Stars will play for the Sanneh Foundation.

Liga MX won last year in a competition that this year will include these five events:

All-Star Shooting Challenge

Three players from each team will shoot at 11 targets of varying value, from two points to a moving target worth 20 points. One player at a time shoots for 60 seconds in each of the three rounds.

All-Star Touch Challenge

Two setters and one receiver from each team participate in each round. The receiver recovers a ball chipped by his teammates or thrown high in the air. The receiver controls and redirects each ball to one of four targets with varying point values.

All-Star Cross & Volley Challenge

Six outfield players and two goalkeepers go head-to-head in a cross-passing and finishing contest intended to reward creativity and style. Fan votes add points.

All-Star Passing Challenge

One player per team participates in a head-to-head competition. Each player tries to hit four targets in 60 seconds.

All-Star Crossbar Challenge

Seven players from each side compete simultaneously in a final showdown that determines the overall skill champion. Three players line up 18 yards from goal, four more line up from 40 yards and points are awarded for hitting the crossbar from distance.

WEDNESDAY

Next MLS All-Star Game

11 a.m., National Sports Center Stadium

North American players of the future – 44 of them – will play in a free-to-the-audience east-west format in Blaine. Loons academy defender Carlos Leatherman, who plays with MNUFC2, will play for the West. MNUFC2 assistant coach Jeremy Hall will coach the West. He can be seen on Twitter, mlssoccer.com and the MLS app.

Special Olympics Unified All-Star Game

3:30 p.m. National Sports Center Stadium

Players with an intellectual disability (Special Olympics athletes) and without (Unified Partners) will play in a competitive 11-on-11 game. Video on ESPN3, mlssoccer.com and the MLS app.

MLS All-Star Game

7:30 p.m., Allianz Field

Tickets: Balance expected, but finally available from $90 on Ticketmaster.

TV: ESPN

Fans, coaches and media voted 12 players for the game and Minnesota United’s Adrian Heath, as home coach, selected a dozen more. MLS commissioner Don Garber has picked the bottom two for a 26-man roster that will face Mexico’s Liga MX All-Stars for a second consecutive summer.

The MLS stars won last year on penalties.

This time, Heath chose two of his own, star midfielder Emanuel Reynoso and goalkeeper Dayne St. Clair.

Heath also picked two superstar Mexican strikers from Los Angeles – Chicharito and Carlos Vela – to face the best in their premier league as well as Seattle star Jordan Morris among his 12 picks.

The poll picked Dallas FC stars Jesus Ferreira and Paul Arriola, Austin FC’s Sebastian Driussi and US national team defender Walker Zimmerman among its 12 while Garber’s picks included NYCFC goalkeeper Sean Johnson.

The Liga MX All-Stars include three players – Chivas’ Alexis Vega, Cruz Azul’s Uriel Antuna and Leon’s Angel Mena – who are likely to feature in November’s World Cup in Qatar.

Heath faces a unique challenge as coach of his first MLS All-Star Game.

“I’m trying to figure out how you get 26 in 11,” he said. “Maths have never been my strong point.”

Heath expects to play his 26 MLS All-Stars if healthy, but no longer than 45 minutes. “It’s not easy to sort everything out,” he said.

All-Star eats

There will be new additions to the star menu at Allianz Field for the game:

Tater-tot hotdish calzone, chicken in a waffle cone, sweet and sour chicken, elote (roasted corn with mayo/sour cream cheese, ancho powder, lime) and Philly cheesesteak.

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