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Schweinsteiger aims to show ‘best of MLS’ against Atletico

Orlando (AFP) – Bastian Schweinsteiger hopes Atletico Madrid’s final game of their US tour won’t descend into a flurry of mayhem and red cards when the MLS All-Stars take on Diego Simeone’s team on Wednesday.

Atletico’s 7-3 win over Real Madrid in New Jersey on Friday saw both La Liga clubs reduced to 10 men in an unusually highly charged pre-season encounter.

Atleti continue their preparations for the forthcoming La Liga season when they take on the best of Major League Soccer in Orlando, with a near sell-out crowd of 25,000 expected at Exploria Stadium.

German World Cup winner Schweinsteiger, who plays in MLS for Chicago Fire, believes Simeone’s side were fired by the presence of Los Blancos and is adamant his team-mates, coached by Orlando City’s James O’Connor, can prosper without kicking lumps out of the opposition.

“Intense games are always good but the other night I am sure the rivalry between the teams also played a part,” Schweinsteiger, the former Bayern Munich and Manchester United midfielder, told AFP.

“I think this will be different — we don’t want to hurt anyone, we just want to play our way and we want to show what is the best of MLS.”

The All-Star game in MLS, like those in the NBA and Major League Baseball, is designed as a mid-season exhibition respite.

Although with Simeone preparing for a strong challenge in La Liga and the Champions League, the Spaniards —  who have spent upwards of 219 million euros ($240 million) this summer following the departures of Antoine Griezmann, Lucas Hernandez and Rodri — will be very competitive.

“I like this All-Star concept a lot, you play with the best players in the league, have a different coach — this one is Irish — and we are playing against a top team from Europe so will be a good test,” Schweinsteiger said.

“They have invested a lot of money in new players, they are very strong, very tough and they have a very good coach. It won’t be easy but if we show our quality  we can definitely compete.

“Their approach is dictated by Simeone. He’s done an amazing job over the last five years and they have become one the top teams in Europe. That’s why it will be interesting.”

– Focus on Felix –

Atletico, who take their tour to Mexico at the weekend, remain angry with Barcelona over the sale of French star Antoine Griezmann, whose 120 million euro ($135 million transfer was contested by Atleti.

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