It seems a little early for the annual spring rain shower of European club announcements, where the money clubs from abroad sprinkle themselves around our land in a cash grab disguised as preseason training or post-season touring or whatever.
Actually, that’s a bit of cynical view; domestic soccer supporters do get something from all this. They get to see a few of the big-dog stars from some big-dog teams, even if the rosters are frequently watered down.
And this one, just revealed today, does deserve special mention.
Chelsea and Manchester City, who would be duking it out right now for the English Premier League crown if the stingies from Manchester United weren’t dashing away with the doggone thing, will clash in a late-spring exhibition in St. Louis.
It’s nice to see The Lou land a marquee event.
St. Louis is one of the venerable old grounds for soccer in this country. It’s a real shame that the city’s efforts to land a Major League Soccer franchise have been stamped with “no joy.” Jeff Cooper, a local investor, got close circa 2008, even gaining approval on a suburban facility. But the group’s financing was ultimately insufficient by MLS assessment, so Cooper gave up.
Too bad things could not be sorted out. Because the city looks so much like Portland in market size and potential to embrace the game – and the Timbers surely represent a gold standard in sales, local awareness and general wow factor. (Yes, Seattle, you get gold-standard status, too.)
The May 23 match in St. Louis will take place at Busch Stadium downtown. The link above from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch includes a snazzy graphic on how officials will wedge an apparently proper-sized field into the baseball ground.