BRIDGEVIEW, Ill. — Chicago Fire winger Patrick Nyarko should be congratulated for his honesty.
While every Fire fan may be dreaming of a win against Manchester United when the two teams meet in the World Football Challenge on Saturday (4 p.m. ET, ESPN2, ESPN Deportes), the Ghanaian is pulling for a draw.
“I want to say I want to beat Manchester United but at the same time I hate to see them lose ever,” he told MLSsoccer.com. “Hopefully I can play a great game and maybe it ends in a tie or something, that’d be ideal.”
Why would Nyarko go public with his desire for a tie? He is the self-described biggest United fan on the Fire roster and his love for the English giants runs so deep that he’s conflicted about how he wants Saturday’s match to turn out.
“It’s Manchester United, the team I’ve supported since I was a kid,” Nyarko said. “I’m a real diehard fan of Man. U and I watch every game they play. It’s amazing thinking five years back, I didn’t see myself here and I definitely didn’t see myself playing against Manchester United. I’m going to go out there cherish it, make the most of it and play my game. Hopefully I can have a great game.”
Not that playing a great game will be easy. United are one of the best teams in the world and, despite the fact that they’re only in preseason, they already appear to be clicking, steamrolling the New England Revolution 4-1 in WFC match last week.
The Revs were chasing United all over the field in that match; something Nyarko is ruing having to do on Saturday.
“One thing’s for sure, the chasing is not going to be fun,” he said. “We’re going to chase them around the field and it’s not going to be fun. They’re a great passing team, [they have] great movement, they’re a great soccer team. It doesn’t matter where they are, preseason or wherever. I saw them against New England just knocking the ball around and their movement of the ball, the precision of their passing, all of their technical stuff is unbelievable.”
Manchester United play the Seattle Sounders on Wednesday night (10 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer) before traveling to Chicago and then closing out their US summer tour with the AT&T MLS All-Star Game and a match against FC Barcelona on July 30.
“It’s more about going out there and having fun playing against some of your heroes,” Nyarko added. “Our main goal is to try to make it hard as a possible for them and hopefully they have a bad day and we take advantage of it.”
Sam Stejskal covers the Chicago Fire for MLSsoccer.com. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org and follow him on Twitter @samstejskal.