By Charles Boehm
It’s been rumored for weeks and on Friday morning, English Premier League heavyweights Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool FC confirmed that the two tradition-rich clubs will face off in a summer friendly at Baltimore’s M&T Bank Stadium on Saturday, July 28.
Bring your sunscreen, as the match in downtown Baltimore is presently scheduled to kick off at 1 p.m. under the summer sun, thanks to a previously scheduled Baltimore Orioles baseball game at nearby Camden Yards that evening. Tickets go on sale this Tuesday, April 3.
Spurs’ visit to Baltimore is linked to their uniform sponsorship with local apparel company UnderArmour, who will outfit the club starting next season. Sources have informed The Soccer Wire that the London club, which is eager to cultivate a U.S. following but knows it is presently overshadowed in America by rivals like Arsenal and Manchester United, will be unveiling unique outreach initiatives to youth soccer communities in the mid-Atlantic region in order to connect with present and future fans.
The match is Tottenham’s third date on a U.S. tour which also includes stops in New York and Los Angeles, while Liverpool have also announced a friendly against Italian side AS Roma at Fenway Park in Boston on July 25, with more matches expected to be revealed in the weeks to come.
“Following last week’s announcement that we’ll be heading back to the US for the second time in three years, as part of our pre-season training, we are delighted to have the opportunity to play in Baltimore, Maryland,” said Tottenham chairman Daniel Levy in a press release.
“With matches already confirmed against L.A. Galaxy and the New York Red Bulls, this third fixture is a great opportunity for two of the biggest names in English football to showcase the strength of the Premier League to a North American audience – something we know will appeal to our many fans who live across the USA.”
Presently in fourth place in the EPL, Spurs have enjoyed a return to prominence under veteran manager Harry Redknapp and are chasing a spot in the UEFA Champions League for next season (England’s top four finishers earn a berth in the revered European tournament). Notable players include American goalkeeper Brad Friedel, Croatian playmaker Luka Modric, Welsh wing wizard Gareth Bale and recently-acquired defender Ryan Nelsen, the New Zealand international who led D.C. United to its last MLS Cup championship back in 2004.
The Spurs-Liverpool friendly will take place on what is shaping up as a packed weekend of soccer in the mid-Atlantic region. Chelsea FC and AC Milan are expected to confirm a friendly at FedEx Field in Landover, Md. on the same day, while the Washington Post reports that D.C. United are considering an international friendly of their own over that weekend.