SECAUCUS, NJ - The MetroStars announced today that two of the world's most prominent soccer clubs, English Premier League Champion Chelsea FC and 2005 UEFA Champion's League runner-up A.C. Milan, will play the final match of their week-long World Series of Football United States tour at Giants Stadium on July 31. Kickoff time will be announced at a later date.
A.C. Milan and Chelsea will travel to the United States in late July to play a four-match series which includes matches against MLS Cup Champion D.C. United and the three-time Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup champion Chicago Fire in the 2005 World Series of Football. Anschutz Entertainment Group (AEG), in conjunction with Soccer United Marketing (SUM), announced that the four-match World Series of Football will take place in Boston, Chicago, Washington D.C. and the New York/New Jersey area from July 24-31, 2005.
"With A.C. Milan and Chelsea FC we have arguably the two best and most important football teams in the world," said AEG President and CEO 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."
The kick-off match of the 2005 World Series of Football will feature the two world soccer powers head-to-head with A.C. Milan taking on Chelsea FC on Sunday, July 24, at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, MA (kick-off time TBD). Following their opening match with Chelsea FC, Milan will then head to Chicago, IL, to face 1998 MLS Cup champion Chicago Fire at Soldier Field on Wednesday, July 27 at 9 p.m. (ET). The following night, July 28, at 8 p.m. (ET), D.C. United will host Chelsea FC in Washington D.C.'s FedEx Field in a battle of the current champions of England and the United States' top leagues; a match that will be televised live on ESPN2.
"We are thrilled to showcase Major League Soccer against two of the world's best soccer clubs," said MLS Commissioner and Soccer United Marketing CEO Don Garber. "Chelsea FC and A.C. Milan are two of the world's most storied clubs with more than a century of history. D.C. United and the Chicago Fire have fared well against international opponents during our 10 seasons, and we anticipate two exciting matches."
Following the match between Chelsea FC and D.C. United, the World Series of Football culminates when A.C. Milan and Chelsea FC square off once again, this time at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey (kick-off time TBD).
In anticipation of their celebration of their 100th year, Chelsea FC won the 2005 English Premiership with 95 points on the campaign, posting a record of 28 wins, eight ties and only one loss during the regular season. 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 (F) 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 Jose Mourinho, who managed FC Porto to the Champion's League title prior to joining the English club in June of 2004.
A six-time European Champion, A.C. Milan is owned by Fininvest, the holding company of Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, and managed by Carlo Ancelotti. In 106 years of existence, the storied franchise has won 17 Serie A titles, most recently winning the 2004 League title. The Italian superpower finished second in the 2005 Champion's League, falling to Liverpool in penalty kicks after tying 3-3 during regulation this past May. Milan also has a star-studded international lineup featuring Italian national team standouts Paolo Maldini (D), Alessandero Nesta (D), Alessandro Costacurta (D), Filippo Inzaghi (F), and Andrea Pirlo (M), Brazil's Dida (GK), Kaká (F), and Cafu (D), Holland's Jaap Stam (D) and Clarence Seedorf (M), and the current holder of the Golden Ball as the 2004 European Most Valuable Player, Ukraine's Andriy Shevchenko.
D.C. United and the Chicago Fire, both owned by AEG, have combined to win five of Major League Soccer's first nine MLS Cup championships and four of the nine Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles since MLS started in 1996. Between the two, the teams have played in seven of the nine MLS Cups and have captured three Supporters' Shields, a trophy established by the fans to recognize the teams with the best overall record in regular season play.
2005 WORLD SERIES OF FOOTBALL
Sunday, July 24
A.C. Milan vs. Chelsea FC
Gillette Stadium, Foxboro, MA (TBD)
Wednesday, July 27
A.C. Milan vs. Chicago Fire
Soldier Field, Chicago, at 9 p.m. ET
Thursday, July 28
Chelsea FC vs. D.C. United
FedEx Field, Washington D.C. at 8 p.m. ET on ESPN2
Sunday, July 31
A.C. Milan vs. Chelsea FC
Giants Stadium, East Rutherford, NJ (TBD)