D.C. United to host Chelsea FC in 'Clash of Champions'
Washington, D.C. - D.C. United, in conjunction with Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG) and Soccer United Marketing (SUM), announced today that the MLS Cup Champions will face English Premier League Champion Chelsea FC at FedEx Field on July 28, highlighting the four-match 2005 World Series of Football. The week-long series of games will also include 2005 UEFA Champion's League runner-up A.C. Milan and the three-time Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup and 1998 MLS Cup Champion Chicago Fire.
The United match with Chelsea marks the first time that reigning champions of the Major League Soccer and the English Premier League have squared off. The "Clash of Champions" is scheduled for an 8:00 p.m. kick-off and will be televised nationally by ESPN2.
"D.C. United is thrilled to host Chelsea, one of the world's finest soccer clubs, for this exciting match," said United President and CEO Kevin Payne. "Chelsea is a team with great tradition and even greater aspirations. We're proud of our 10-year history and what we've accomplished, both domestically and internationally. We look forward to a tremendous night of world-class soccer for all of the fans in our area."
D.C. United season ticket holders may now order priority tickets in advance of public sale by phoning United at 202-587-5000. Other interested parties may also purchase tickets before public sale by becoming a D.C. United ticket plan holder or by purchasing a special "Champions Pack," which includes the Chelsea match and United's home game against the San Jose Earthquakes, scheduled for Friday, July 15 at 7:30 p.m. Ticket prices for the exhibition match range from $35-$75, for general seating areas, and include parking fees. Club seating is priced from $85-$120, including parking. Group pricing options are also available.
In order to accommodate the July 28 exhibition, United moved a League match against Real Salt Lake to August 31. United supporters holding a ticket to the previously scheduled July 28 contest may use that ticket to gain admittance to the re-scheduled date.
In existence since 1905, Chelsea won the 2005 English Premiership with 95 points on the campaign, posting a record of 29 wins, eight ties and only one loss. The 2005 crown was Chelsea's first League title in 50 years, having last claimed the honors in 1955. Among the club's international stars are English national team regulars Joe Cole (M), John Terry (D), and Frank Lampard (M), Ireland's Damien Duff (M), Arjen Robben (M) of Holland, Iceland's Eidur Gudjohnsen (F), France's Claude Makelele (M) and Ivory Coast's Didier Drogba (F). Chelsea is owned by Russian businessman Roman Abramovich and is led by manager José Mourinho, who managed FC Porto to the Champion's League title prior to joining the English club in June of 2004.
As a charter member of Major League Soccer, United won the first ever MLS Cup by defeating the Los Angeles Galaxy 3-2 in the League's inaugural 1996 season. D.C. dominated the early years of MLS, making four consecutive appearances in the MLS Cup Championship game, also winning in 1997 and 1999. In 2004, United won their League-high fourth MLS Cup, defeating Kansas City 3-2 under the direction of former Polish international Peter Nowak. Led by the club's all-time leading scorer Jaime Moreno, United also features U.S. national team pool players Alecko Eskandarian, Ben Olsen, Nick Rimando and Clyde Simms and rising star Freddy Adu on the current squad.
Since 1997, D.C. United has traveled across the globe and battled 25 clubs from 13 countries. The list of clubs is impressive, including Germany's Bayer Leverkusen, Mexico's Club America, CD Toluca, and UNAM Pumas, Vasco da Gama of Brazil, and Argentina's Boca Juniors, among others. D.C. United has also played five friendlies against teams from England and has yet to lose: 1-1 vs. Leeds United (May 16, 1997); 3-1 vs Newcastle United (July 22, 2000); 1-0 at Tottenham Hotspur (October 17, 2002); 1-0 vs. Tottenham Hotspur (May 14, 2003); and 1-1 vs. Blackburn Rovers (July 23, 2003 - D.C. won on penalty kicks).
In only its third year of play, D.C. pulled off what is arguably the greatest triumph ever for American club soccer in international competition. D.C. won the 1998 CONCACAF Champion's Cup over CD Toluca as the best club in the region and went on to defeat South American Champion Vasco de Gama of Brazil to win the Intercontinental Cup.
The 2005 World Series of Soccer boasts three other matches. A.C. Milan and Chelsea will meet twice - in Foxboro, Mass. on July 24 and East Rutherford, N.J. on July 31- and Milan and the Chicago Fire will play once, on July 27, at Chicago's Soldier Field.
"With A.C. Milan and Chelsea FC we have arguably the two best and most important football teams in the world," said AEG President Tim Leiweke. "As they both have been extremely competitive at the highest level of professional soccer this should be a fantastic World Series of Football."
2005 WORLD SERIES OF FOOTBALL
Sunday, July 24
AC Milan vs. Chelsea FC
Gillette Stadium, Foxborough, MA - Time TBD
Wednesday, July 27
AC Milan vs. Chicago Fire
Soldier Field, Chicago, at 9 p.m. ET
Thursday, July 28
Chelsea vs. D.C. United
Fedex Field, Washington D.C. at 8:00 p.m. ET on ESPN2
Sunday, July 31
AC Milan vs. Chelsea FC
Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ - Time TBD