MLS Friendlies: LA Galaxy To Play Manchester City

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Los Angeles Galaxy To Play Manchester City In 2011 World Football Challenge

The 2011 Herbalife World Football Challenge continues to grow as another match has been announced today by Major League Soccer and CAA Sports. The Los Angeles Galaxy will take on Manchester City on Sunday, July 24 at The Home Depot Center.

"It was very important to our club to host an international friendly here at The Home Depot Center for our fans, especially those who come to this stadium week in and week out to support the Galaxy. We are very excited to welcome Manchester City, a team that is challenging for the FA Cup and that has just secured a spot in next season's UEFA Champions League," Galaxy President Tom Payne said. "Our stadium offers fans the unique experience of feeling like you are right on top of the action. We all remember the amazing atmosphere inside the stadium two years ago for our match against AC Milan. We look forward to having the same type of crowd on July 24."    

The Galaxy are already slated to play Real Madrid on Saturday, July 16 at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Manchester City's other World Football Challenge games include a game against the Vancouver Whitecaps on July 18 at Empire Field. 

The game against Manchester City is included in Galaxy full season ticket plans as Bonus Game 2. A special ticket pre-sale will take place in the near future for all current Galaxy ticket plan holders wishing to add additional tickets at a discounted price.

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West Bromwich Albion To Play Portland Timbers On July 20 Friendly

Storied English Premier League side West Bromwich Albion will play the Portland Timbers on July 20 in a friendly it was announced on Tuesday. It is the third summer friendly the Timbers have announced. They will also play Dutch power Ajax (May 25) and Mexican giant Club America (July 7).

West Brom is one of the oldest clubs in England, drawing their history back to 1878 and are a founding member of the Football League. Most of that time has been spent in the first division, although they have moved between the EPL and Championship in recent years. They have won the FA Cup five times. West Brom currently sits 13th in the EPL table

Among the notable players that are expected to make the trip are Peter Odemwingie, who has scored 15 goals this season. The squad also includes midfielder Steven Reid, who played Ireland in the 2002 World Cup, captain Chris Brunt and Swedish international defender Jonas Olsson.

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Los Angeles Galaxy to Play Real Madrid In 2011 World Football Challenge

The summer of friendlies keeps getting more interesting, as does the 2011 World Football Challenge. Major League Soccer announced Friday that Los Angeles Galaxy will take on La Liga giants Real Madrid at the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum on Saturday, July 16 (10 p.m. ET).

This game is also expected to see Galaxy midfielder David Beckham face his former team for the first time since joining the Galaxy in 2007

"We are very excited to once again welcome back Real Madrid along with manager José Mourinho and their cadre of international talent to Los Angeles," Galaxy President Tom Payne said. "Last year more than 89,000 fans witnessed these two clubs face off and the excitement for this rematch, at the historic Coliseum, will surely capture the attention of all sports fans in Southern California."    

This will be the third meeting between the two squads. The Galaxy first played Real Madrid on July 18, 2005 at The Home Depot Center, losing 2-0 behind goals from Michael Owen and Roberto Soldado in front of a capacity crowd. Last year, they played in front of more than 89,000 fans on August 7 at the Rose Bowl. The Galaxy led that game 2-0 at halftime on goals from Todd Dunivant and Landon Donovan, only for Real to score three unanswered goals in the second half, two from Gonzalo Higuain and one from Xabi Alonso, to claim a 3-2 win..    

The Galaxy full season seat holders will be eligible for a special presale prior to the public on sale. Real Madrid's remaining World Football Challenge games will be announced at a later date.

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Philadelphia Union, Everton Will Meet In July 20 Friendly

The Philadelphia Union will meet EPL side Everton in a July 20 friendly at PPL Park, the team announced on Wednesday. Brotherly Game, SB Nation's Union blog, first reported on rumors of the visit last week.

"It’s our ongoing commitment to bring world-class international competition to Philadelphia," Philadelphia Union CEO & Operating Partner Nick Sakiewicz said on the team website. "We are very proud to host Everton in what will be a challenge for our club and a treat for our fans. We’re also thrilled to be able to include this match in our season ticket package to reward those who support the club week-in and week-out at PPL Park."

Among the notable names currently on the Everton roster are United States national team goalkeeper Tim Howard and Australian international Tim Cahill. Everton has won England's FA Cup five times and the first-division league title nine times, making them among the most decorated teams in England's history. They currently sit seventh in the EPL table.

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Houston Dynamo Will Reportedly Play Summer Friendly Against Bolton Wanderers

Stuart Holden and his Bolton Wanderers will play the Houston Dynamo in a summer friendly, according to a report in the Houston Chronicle. Holden played for the Dynamo from 2006-09, appearing in 103 matches, scoring 15 goals and helping lead Houston to two MLS Cups.

Since leaving the Dynamo, Holden has become a mainstay with the United States National Team, earning 17 caps and scoring a pair of goals. He was also among the 23 players selected to the U.S. World Cup team. He has made 28 appearances with Bolton and has been a starter, for the most part, when healthy.

Bolton doesn't have a lot of big-name players, but they do have plenty of history. They are a founding member of the Football League and date their history back to 1874. They currently sit eighth in the English Premier League table and have a decent shot at making the Europa tournament.

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Big-Name, Mid-Season Friendlies Not Universally Applauded

The big-name MLS summer friendly has become a staple of the league. Just about every team has at least one every year. Recently, though, there's been a bit of a backlash against these games. Eighty-Six Forever, the SB Nation Vancouver Whitecaps blog, may be new to MLS, but already could do without the tradition. They are not exactly excited about the prospect of putting the pursuit of the MLS playoffs on hold for a game against Manchester City:

So this friendly had better be worth it. It could never mean anything on the field, so let's make sure it means something off. Let's have a nod to our sometimes-forgotten second division past. Let's have a salute to a great warrior in Whitecaps history. Let's have an event that'll matter even if the game's a dud, the rain is pouring, the Whitecaps lose 4-0, and the European team dresses its U-17 squad.

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Manchester City Will Play Vancouver Whitecaps In July As Part Of World Football Challenge

The Vancouver Whitecaps will host the English Premier League's Manchester City on July 18 as part of the World Football Challenge, the team announced on Thursday. The game is being included in the Whitecaps' season-ticket package.

"Vancouver is a great soccer city with a new MLS side and passionate supporters of the game," Manchester City Chief Executive Garry Cook said in a Whitecaps release. "We already have a history with the Whitecaps, having played them in 1980 and 1981 at Empire Stadium. They won both matches in fine style and it will be our challenge to try to overturn those results. So it promises to be a fantastic occasion."

Manchester City is currently fourth in the EPL table and are just two points behind Chelsea for the No. 3 spot, which comes with an automatic entry into the UEFA Champions League. Among the notable players on the Manchester City roster are Carlo Tevez, Patrick Vieira and David Silva.

The WFC will feature at least three MLS teams, as well as Manchester United and FC Barcelona. In past incarnations, it was played as an actual tournament, but not format has been announced as of yet.

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Portland Timbers To Host Club América At JELD-WEN Field July 7th

The Portland Timbers have announced the team’s second friendly of the season with Mexico’s Club América visiting JELD-WEN field on Thursday, July 7th. The announcement comes just a few weeks after the team revealed that Dutch Eredivisie giants AFC Ajax would pay a visit to the Rose City on May 25th.

While neither of the Timbers’ friendly opponents have the cachet of the bigger clubs from England, Spain or Italy they’re both very attractive opponents in their own right, Ajax having won five European championships and 29 Eredivisie titles. Club América are likely the bigger draw (though Portland should have little trouble selling out either match) with a massive fan base spread across North America and a history that includes 14 Mexican Primera Division titles. They currently sit in second place in their group in the Clausura, behind first place Atlante on goal difference.

Club América feature four current Mexican internationals in Guillermo Ochoa, Juan Carlos Valenzuela, Enrique Esqueda and Angel Reyna, the current leader in the Primera Division’s Clausura in both goals scored and assists.

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Newcastle United Will Visit Columbus Crew In July

Newcastle United has added a match against the Columbus Crew to their summer tour of the United States. The Magpies will play a friendly at Crew Stadium on July 26, the second time they've played a match in MLS's original soccer-specific stadium.

"We are pleased once again to bring top-flight international soccer right here to Columbus and to provide the best competitive challenge for our team," said Crew President & General Manager Mark McCullers in a team release. "The English Premier League is arguably the best league in the world and Newcastle United is one of its most storied clubs."

Newcastle is among the better supported teams in the EPL and has a loyal following in the United States. After being relegated to the Championship, they have now returned to the top division and sit ninth in the table, just two points out of a possible Europa League spot. Among the players they are expected to bring on the tour are Cheik Tote, Fabricio Collocini and Jonas Gutierrez.

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Sporting Kansas City To Play Newcastle United This Summer

Among the teams that will help break in Sporting Kansas City's net-yet-opened Livestrong Sporting Park this summer will apparently be Newcastle United. There has been no official statement, but SKC owner Robb Heinemann tweeted the news Monday afternoon. It seems safe to say that if the owner says it is happening, it probably is. 

Heinemann did not release any other details, like when, exactly the friendly might be played. The Magpies will almost certainly schedule other dates, as it is exceedingly rare for European teams to play stand-alone games in the United States. Earlier in the day, Manchester United was announced as the MLS All-Stars opponent.

Newcastle United is among the more widely supported team in England, and currently sit 11th in the EPL table. They had spent the 2009-10 season in the Championship after playing the previous 16 seasons at the top level. They have won four First Division titles and six FA Cups in their 120-year history.

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DC United Will Play Everton In July 23 Friendly

Coming off a year in which they were one of the worst statistical teams in MLS history, DC United is pulling out all the stops to woo fans back to RFK Stadium. With a friendly against Ajax already announced, a resounding win in their opener already in the books, DC United has now announced that Everton will also be paying a visit this summer. United will play the EPL side, which features United States National Team goalkeeper Tim Howard, on July 23. The team also has a third "special event" planned for season-ticket holders.

"D.C. United takes pride in measuring our club against the best clubs worldwide," United President & CEO Kevin Payne said in a team release. "In Everton, we have yet another world-class opponent visiting RFK Stadium. Our respect for their organization is deep and we look forward to hosting them this summer."

Everton is among the most storied teams in England, having spent a record 108 seasons in the top division. They are currently eighth in the standings.

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Portland Timbers Will Play Holland's Ajax In May 25 Friendly

Just hours after announcing they had sold out their home-opener and season-ticket allotment, the Portland Timbers unveiled their first friendly opponent: Dutch Eredivisie club AFC Ajax. The game will be played on May 25 at Jeld-Wen Field and feature one of the most storied clubs in Europe.

Ajax has won five European championships in their history, including three straight from 1971-1973. They last won the title in 1995, but remain one of the top teams in Holland where they have won the Eredivisie 29 times. They are currently third, six points behind PSV Eindhoven.

Among the players that are expected to make the U.S. tour, where DC United has already announced their own date with Ajax, are  Dutch National Team goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg and defender Gregory van der Wiel, Danish international Christian Eriksen and Belgium National Team members Jan Vertonghen and Toby Alderweireld.

It's unclear how many tickets remain for this match, as the Timbers have sold 12,500 season tickets plus an undisclosed number of partial-season ticket packages that will also include this game.

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DC United Will Play Ajax In May Friendly

DC United will play legendary Dutch side AFC Ajax in a friendly on May 22 at RFK Stadium, it was announced on Monday. Ajax currently sits third in the Eredivisie, just three points shy of PSF Eindhoven. The Eredivisie winner earns an automatic spot in UEFA Champions League, and the second-place team goes into the qualifying round.

"We’re excited to kick off our 2011 schedule of international games with one of the most honored teams in European soccer, Ajax of Amsterdam," United President and CEO Kevin Payne said in a team release. "This match will be the first of several matches this season featuring top quality European opponents and we’re pleased that our season ticket holders will have the opportunity to attend each of these matches as a part of their package."

Historically, Ajax has been of the top clubs in Europe. They have won four European championships, most recently in 1995 and are known for a free-flowing style of play. Among the notable players that currently play for Ajax are Mounir El Hamdaoui, Siem De Jong and Gregory van der Wiel. 

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