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MLS should consider moving All-Star Game date - Atlanta United's Tata Martino

ATLANTA -- Atlanta United manager Tata Martino says MLS should look into scheduling the All-Star Game at a time of year that will have less of an impact on the MLS playoff race.

Speaking at a news conference ahead of Wednesday's MLS All-Star Game against Juventus, Martino, who will manage the MLS All-Stars, expressed concern about potential injury and how that could affect the teams that have players participating in this year's edition.

Last year, Atlanta lost defender Greg Garza to injury during the 2017 All-Star Game against Real Madrid.

"In reality I recognize that it's a little bit of a challenge for all the [MLS} coaches who have players participating," he said with the help of a translator. "Some of the players are coming from a week where they played three games. Others had a very long trip to get here like Vancouver.

"I understand it's a beautiful spectacle for the league and for the U.S. but what we'll have to look at in the future is that we can have it at a different time -- either before or after -- because a lot of teams are at a very important place in their season and fighting for their final positions.

"Some are fighting at top of league, others are fighting to make playoffs, so we have to make sure players arrive here in good condition and are also returning to their teams in good condition."

That said, Martino acknowledged that the All-Star Game is one that everyone involved should relish.

"This is a game for all the fans to enjoy, for the players to enjoy, also for the coaches, we're going to enjoy it as well. Second I think it's very good for MLS that a team with quality of Juventus comes to this event to participate. I understand it's very important for city of Atlanta and the state of Georgia to be able to have this game here in our own city."

Martino declined to be drawn into any speculation surrounding the vacant managerial post for the U.S. men's national team.

"I've nothing to say because I'm in a very beautiful situation here [in Atlanta]," he said. "I feel very comfortable. I think it would be imprudent to say anything about the coaching vacancy with the U.S."

During an exclusive interview with ESPN FC, Martino said he had not been contacted by the USSF about becoming the next U.S. manager.

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