Soccer icons from 15 different countries across the globe make Sunday’s showcase one with international intrigue. Among those international players are several World Cup participants, including Robbie Keane (Ireland), Giovani dos Santos (Mexico), Steven Gerrard (England), Frank Lampard (England), David Villa (Spain), and Andrea Pirlo (Italy). The players on hand have represented the likes of Barcelona, Chelsea, Liverpool, Juventus, Tottenham, Villarreal, Atletico Madrid, and AC Milan on the club stage. NYCFC’s cast of stars boasts an impressive lineup of hardware, including a pair of World Cup trophies (Pirlo, 2006; Villa, 2010) and four UEFA Champions League titles (Pirlo, AC Milan, 2002-03, 2006-07; Villa, Barcelona, 2010-11; Lampard, Chelsea, 2011-12).
Individuals aside, this game has significant playoff implications, especially for NYCFC. After upsetting the number one team in the Eastern Conference, D.C. United, at Yankee Stadium last week, the club will play Columbus Crew SC on Wednesday before heading cross-country to LA. NYCFC needs to earn positive results in both matches as the club sets its sites on a playoff spot amid a tight race in the East. A road win over a red-hot LA Galaxy team gunning for its sixth MLS Cup would go a long way in helping NYCFC as they look to climb the rankings in the East.