Arsenal set for MLS All-Star Game
Arsenal's Eddie Nketiah (centre) celebrates after scoring his side's opening goal during their English Premier League match against Manchester United at Emirates Stadium in London, England, on Sunday, January 22.(Photo: AP)

NEW YORK (AP) — Arsenal will play Major League Soccer's (MLS) All-Stars at Audi Field in Washington, DC, on July 19, the first European opponent in the game since before the novel coronavirus pandemic.

The Gunners, pursuing their first Premier League title since 2004, also were the All-Star opponents in 2016. They won 2-1 at Avaya Stadium in San Jose, California, on goals by Joel Campbell and Chuba Akpom. Didier Drogba, then playing for Montreal, scored for MLS.

MLS announced this week it was returning to its most-used All-Star format.

The league began having its top players face a European opponent in 2005, then announced in November 2019 that it was changing to its All-Stars against those of Liga MX in Mexico. The 2020 match in Los Angeles was cancelled because of the pandemic, but the format was used the following two years, with MLS winning on penalty kicks in Los Angeles in 2021, and 2-1 last year at St Paul, Minnesota.

Arsenal will become the third European club to appear in two MLS All-Star Games after Manchester United (2010 and '11) and Chelsea (2006 and '12). The previous European opponents were Atlético Madrid, who won 3-0 in 2019 at Orlando, Florida.

The Gunners have an eight-point lead over defending champions Manchester City in the Premier League. Arsenal have 10 games remaining and City have 11.

MLS's All-Star Game had an East versus West format in 1996 and '97, from 1999-2001 and in 2004. Its American players met its international players in 1998, and MLS All-Stars played the US national team in 2002 and Mexico's Chivas in 2003.

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