The best players from the MLS will look to post their third consecutive match victory against a European soccer stalwart when league's selected All-Stars square off against Arsenal of the English Premier League in the 2016 AT&T MLS All-Star Game on Thursday at Avaya Stadium in San Jose.
The MLS side is stocked with offense -- the league's top three goal scorers (David Villa of New York City FC, Ignacio Piatti of the Montreal Impact and Sebastian Giovinco of Toronto FC) and its two best assist providers (Sacha Kljestan of the New York Red Bulls and FC Dallas' Mauro Diaz).
Then there are the familiar names from the United States Men's National Team in forward Clint Dempsey of the Seattle Sounders FC and midfielders Jermaine Jones of the Colorado Rapids and Real Salt Lake's Kyle Beckerman.
But it may be the MLS All-Stars' youthful players that make the difference. The side's two goalkeepers, San Jose Earthquakes' stopper David Bingham and Philadelphia's Andre Blake, and two rookie defenders in Philadelphia's Keegan Rosenberry and Chicago's Brandon Vincent, will get the chance to show their mettle in a pressure-packed settling.
Add in the likes of Columbus midfielder Wil Trapp and Orlando City striker Cyle Larin, and there is certainly an infusion of youth among MLS All-Stars.
Arsenal, which finished in second place in the English Premier League table last season, is in the midst of its preparations of the upcoming campaign, which kicks off Aug. 14 at home against Liverpool.
Arsenal manager Arsène Wenger believes the attention his side's visit to the United States has generated is evidence of "football waking up" in the country.
"My first impression (of the US) is that there are more and more people who love football and know our players, and that's a good sign that football is taking off in the States," Wenger said. "We start in mid-August so we have to make the absolute maximum of each game we play. That's why it will be a very interesting game for us on Thursday."
© 2016 by STATS LLC and Associated Press.