Monday, July 18, 2011
Fire gearing up for Man U spectacle
By Charlie Corr
Premier League champion Manchester United will be in town for Saturday's World Football Challenge match against the Chicago Fire at Soldier Field. Heading into the week, a few events are on the docket to create some buzz for the match (televised on ESPN2), which kicks off at 4 p.m.
One area where the Fire and Man U might have missed the mark, however, is the Red Devils' Friday training session. The time and location are not made available to the public, and the session is for select guests only. While there are safety and public control methods to consider when hosting a high-profile club such as Man U, it is fair to say that many folks among the general audience would be ready and willing to sink some money into attending their training.
The Red Devils will be arriving on Thursday, following their Wednesday international friendly against Seattle Sounders FC at 9 p.m. CT at CenturyLink Field (formerly known as Qwest Field).
Before Man U gets to town, Chicago Fire Fanatics will be around the city to drum up interest for Saturday's game. From noon to 2 p.m. Tuesday, Fire Fanatics will be in front of the Groupon offices, riding the CTA's Brown Line train, on Wacker and Michigan and at Niketown Chicago. From 4 to 5 p.m. Tuesday, they will be at Union Station, Clark/Lake Station and Millennium Park.
On Thursday, from 2-4 p.m., registered participants will take part in a scavenger hunt throughout Chicago in search of VIP items for the Fire-Man U match. Register at Chicago-Fire.com.
Saturday's match is not a sellout yet, but more than 50,000 tickets have been sold.
De Gea, Welback joining tour: Manchester United forward Danny Welback and Spanish goalkeeper David de Gea have met up with the Red Devils for Wednesday's match against Seattle and should be available for selection against the Fire on Saturday.
De Gea spent last season with Atletico Madrid, and the 20-year-old joined Man U this offseason to replace the recently retired Edwin van der Sar. Andres Lindegaard started in the net during the Red Devils' 4-1 victory over the New England Revolution last Wednesday, so the goalkeeping competition will be a heavy focal point as Man U tours the U.S.
Several other Red Devils players will join the team as the World Football Challenge progresses, but it is unknown at the moment when Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez will be with the club.