English powerhouse Arsenal to face MLS All-Stars at Audi Field this July

English Premier League side Arsenal returns to the D.C. region once again but this time as an adversary to the MLS All-Stars.

The London-based club will visit D.C. during its preseason this summer to take part in the MLS All-Star exhibition game at D.C.’s Audi Field, the home of the District’s two soccer clubs — D.C. United and the Washington Spirit. The game is scheduled to take place on July 19 and both teams will participate in the All-Star Skills Challenge on July 18.

Arsenal legend Kieran Gibbs and D.C. United and MLS All-Star head coach Wayne Rooney with the 2023 MLS All-Star Game Scarf at Audi Field. (Courtesy MLS)

“As our league, clubs, partners, and fans converge in D.C. for a week of events, a matchup between Arsenal and the best of MLS is the perfect way to celebrate the sport and culture of soccer in North America,” MLS Deputy Commissioner Gary Stevenson said in a statement.

News of Arsenal’s involvement in Major League Soccer’s second marquee event was first reported by The Athletic Sunday evening.

Arsenal, coached by former Spanish midfielder Mikel Arteta, currently sits in first place in the English Premier League and features a multitude of international stars including Bukayo Saka, Jorginho, Granit Xhaka and Martin Ødegaard. In the club’s history, Arsenal has won 13 first division titles in England and 14 FA Cups.

U.S. men’s national team starting goalkeeper Matt Turner joined the Gunners before the start of the premier league season. The former New England Revolution keeper gave a FAQ on MLS to his teammates in a social media post as part of the All-Star game announcement.

D.C. United head coach Wayne Rooney will guide the MLS All-Stars team, making his third appearance in the annual contest.

“The opportunity to lead the best our league has to offer against a top Premier League club like Arsenal will be a highlight for me personally and an unforgettable experience for our passionate fanbase here in DC,” Rooney said in a statement.

DC United head coach Wayne Rooney explains his thoughts on becoming the MLS All-Star team coach.

During the All-Star game announcement last June, Commissioner Don Garber confirmed that the exhibition game would feature an international club team, a format previously used throughout the last two decades. In the past, MLS All-Stars have played against the likes of the U.S. men’s national team, English Premier League side Chelsea and Spain’s Real Madrid.

Last year, the All-Stars faced off a Liga MX All-Star team from Mexico in St. Paul, Minnesota.

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND — JULY 16: Members of Arsenal celebrate a first half goal against Everton during a preseason friendly at M & Bank Stadium on July 16, 2022 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images)

Arsenal will be making its third appearance in the D.C. region in the last five summers, including a friendly against Real Madrid in FedEx Field in 2019 and a preseason exhibition in Baltimore last year against Everton.

Tickets for the All-Star game will go on sale on Tuesday, March 28, at 10 a.m. Fans can register with Ticketmaster to receive information about a future presale. Tickets for the skills competition are already on sale online.

D.C. United season ticket holders will have priority in purchasing tickets for the game as well as for related events surrounding All Star festivities.

José Umaña

José Umaña is a digital editor for WTOP. He’s been working as a journalist for almost a decade, covering local news, education and sports. His work has appeared in The Prince George’s Sentinel, The Montgomery Sentinel, Orlando Sentinel, PressBox and The Diamondback.

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