Tonight is friendly game of soccer, but it’s not any friendly, and maybe it won’t be very friendly … that is at least what the 82,000 in sold-out FedEx Field just outside Washington DC are hoping.
Barcelona against Manchester United. The world’s two soccer clubs meet again after the final of the Champions League in May, when Barcelona was clearly the superior team. Maybe Manchester is thirsting for revenge, and perhaps there is a chance now when Lionel Messi — “The Boy Genius” — still has the summer off after a busy international match schedule.
The sold-out FedEx Field underscores the huge business interests of both clubs here in the United States, where they have millions of fans which they want to retain and build upon, as soccer continues to grow in interest and importance even though American football, baseball, basketball, and ice hockey all are still more popular.
The big soccer news here is otherwise that former German star player and coach, Juergen Klinsmann, has been put in charge of the U.S. national soccer team. He is taking over from Bob Bradley, who was fired last week after two big disappointments: the U.S. loss to Ghana in last year’s World Cup and this year’s loss in the Gold Cup final against Mexico by 2-4, after leading 2-0.
America’s soccer federation has tried several times before to land the now 47-year-old Klinsmann, who lives in Southern California and is married to an American. George Vecsey gives a good insight in today’s New York Times as to what challenges Klinsmann will be facing in his new job.