By Charles Boehm
North America’s annual slate of summer exhibition matches featuring top European clubs has begun to take clearer shape this week, as Major League Soccer announced the return of the World Football Challenge, the series of international games hosted and promoted by MLS and its promotional arm, Soccer United Marketing.
This year’s WFC will include already-announced matches starring England’s Chelsea FC, who will face the Seattle Sounders at the latter’s CenturyLink Field home on Wednesday, July 18 and the MLS All-Stars at PPL Park in Chester, Pa. just outside Philadelphia on Wednesday, July 25.
Also made official this week is the long-reported friendly between Toronto FC and another English giant, Liverpool FC, at the Rogers Centre in Toronto on Saturday, July 28. Liverpool previously toured Toronto in 2004.
Additional clubs and matches will be announced by SUM and MLS in the weeks ahead. Last year’s WFC featured eight overseas clubs from Spain, Portugal, Mexico, England and Italy.
Other already-announced summer exhibitions include Valencia FC (Spain) vs. Houston Dynamo at the latter’s brand-new BBVA Compass Stadium on May 31, Liverpool vs. Tottenham Hotspur in Baltimore on July 28 and seven other games including the likes of AS Roma (Italy), Aston Villa (England) and Schalke 04 (Germany).