Nesta set to make Impact debut Tuesday against Lyon

Legendary defender set to go 45 minutes vs. French heavyweights Lyon
Nesta to make Impact debut Tuesday

Alessandro Nesta

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of Montreal Impact

MONTREAL – Alessandro Nesta's much-anticipated Montreal Impact debut should bring back some fond Champions League memories.

Montreal are facing Olympique Lyonnais on Tuesday at Stade Saputo (7:30 pm ET, TVA Sports), a team that the legendary Italian center back helped eliminate in the quarterfinals of the 2005-06 UEFA Champions League as a member of Carlo Ancelotti’s AC Milan. Nesta played every minute of the tie, but the scenario will not be repeated in Montreal.

Crew's Birchall eager to get piece of old rivals Stoke City

Crew midfielder, ex-Port Vale man eager to play Stoke City in friendly
Birchall eager to get a piece of old rivals

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Chris Birchall is still amazed how it came about that he would be playing for the Columbus Crew against the biggest rival from his hometown.

Birchall was out of contract after three seasons with the LA Galaxy – with whom he won MLS Cup 2011 – when he went shopping for another MLS club. He was training with his former club Port Vale in Burslem, one of six towns that comprise the city of Stoke-on-Trent, England, when he signed with the Crew on May 7.

On Fire: Rookie Walls makes his Toyota Park debut

Professional status once in limbo, defender logs first pro experience in Aston Villa friendly
On Fire: Rookie Walls debuts

Fire rookie Tony Walls

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – A few months ago, it was a long shot that Tony Walls would make an MLS roster.

Now, nearly four months later, the defender has beaten the odds after the Fire took him with the 47th pick in the 2012 Supplemental Draft by signing a contract in March. The Wisconsin-Green Bay alum made his Toyota Park debut on Saturday when he came on in the 69th minute in a 1-0 exhibition loss to Aston Villa.

"Snake-bit" Rapids hope Swansea friendly will right ship

Losers of five straight, Rapids hope Swansea City friendly will turn things around
"Snake-bit" Colorado hope to right ship

Oscar Pareja

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

The Colorado Rapids host English Premier League side Swansea City at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park Tuesday night as they hope to gain traction in only their second international friendly against an English Premier League side in club history.

Tuesday’s match (9 pm ET) will mark the first time the Rapids will face an EPL side in nearly four years, the last coming in August 2008, when Everton beat Colorado 2-1 at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park.

Recap: Guzan, Lichaj help Aston Villa past Chicago, 1-0

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. – After scoring just two goals in their last five league games, the Chicago Fire couldn’t turn around their offensive struggles in a 1-0 exhibition loss to Aston Villa on Saturday.

With an irregular starting lineup, the Fire registered only two shots all night, and a goal from Gabriel Agbonlahor in the 29th minute gave Aston Villa their second win of their US tour.

Agbonlahor broke through with a header off of a cross from Chris Herd.

Chicago Fire cae en amistoso ante Aston Villa

Gabriel Agbonlahor marcó el tanto de la victoria 1-0 de los ingleses
Chicago Fire cae en amistoso ante Aston Villa

Frank Klopas

Photo Credit: 
Getty Images

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill.- Tomando las cosas con mucha calma, el estratega del Chicago Fire minimizó la derrota sufrida a manos del Aston Villa FC la noche del sábado en el Toyota Park.

El resultado 1-0 adverso pasó a segundo paso a segundo término para el estratega Frank Klopas quien optó por destacar la oportunidad que el encuentro le brindó de ver a varios jugadores que han tenido poca actividad en la temporada.

Rolfe: Villa game a chance for players to test themselves

Fire striker credits international friendlies for giving him confidence to go to Europe
Chicago's Rolfe on Aston Villa friendly
Fire - Aston Villa

Chris Rolfe celebrates a goal for Chicago

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of Chicago Fire

BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — Chris Rolfe had never been part of the US youth national team set-up, so when the Kettering, Ohio, native left the University of Dayton, he didn’t have a great idea of how he might stack up against international competition. He got his chance when he left the Chicago Fire in 2009 after five seasons and spent parts of the next three with Danish club Aalborg BK before returning to the Windy City in April.

Many of his teammates haven't had that opportunity. And that’s where midsummer friendlies come in handy, Rolfe explained.

Tainio inching closer to return, could play vs. Tottenham

Red Bulls midfielder says he never thought his career was over
Tainio could play against Tottenham

UPPER MONTCLAIR, N.J. –Teemu Tainio’s grueling road to recovery is almost complete.

Having spent much of the season as a spectator due to a damaged MCL in his right knee, the veteran midfielder is on the brink of making his return for the New York Red Bulls. Tainio rejoined his teammates in full training earlier this week, and he is finally completely healthy after undergoing almost four months of rehab.

Canada announces August friendly vs. Trinidad and Tobago

Coach Hart looking at Impact's Bernier, though timing will limit Canucks' selection
Canada announce T&T friendly in Aug.

Canada national team coach Stephen Hart

Photo Credit: 
Courtesy of CSA

The city that hosted the MLS Combine will play host once again, this time for Canada’s only friendly before CONCACAF World Cup qualifying resumes in September.

The Canadian Soccer Association announced on Thursday that the Canadian men's national team will face Trinidad and Tobago at the Central Broward Regional Park in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Aug. 15.

"It's just a 72-hour window, so you'll just have one training session, then you'll play the game," Canada head coach Stephen Hart told media in a conference call.

Union disappointed as Villa snap perfect exhibition record

Loss vs. Aston Villa stops four-match winning streak in international exhibitions at PPL Park
Union disappointed perfect friendly mark snapped

CHESTER, Pa. – While thrilled to be in the midst of their first three-game league winning streak in franchise history, the Philadelphia Union were also proud of another streak.

Until this week, they had won all four of the international exhibition matches they played at PPL Park, all of them against high-caliber opponents.

Naturally, then, there was a bit of disappointment when that streak came to an end with a 1-0 loss to Aston Villa on Wednesday.

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