French international star Thierry Henry, signed by the NY Red Bulls last Thursday, will make his American debut this coming Thursday, July 22, in a friendly match with EPL side Tottenham Hotspurs, in the New York City Challenge tournament that also includes EPL side Manchester City and Portuguese side Sporting Lisbon. In a bit of irony, Henry, a former member of Barcelona and Arsenal, makes his American debut against the Gunners’ arch-rivals, Spurs. The Red Bulls, anchored on defense by outstanding rookie Tim Ream from St. Louis, will conclude the tournament on Sunday with a match against Manchester City. The New York City Challenge games will be televised on Fox Soccer Channel…schedule of games and times are below. Sunday’s game will be part of a international friendly triple-header on FSC, with Spurs taking on Sporting Lisbon at noon, NYRB facing City at 2:30 pm and the Kansas City Wizards hosting Manchester United at 5:00 pm at Arrowhead Stadium. By the way, tickets are still available for the KC-Manchester United contest, although over 45,000 have been sold from what I was told earlier today.
I love the fact that more and more foreign clubs are coming to North America to play each other and clubs here. Iconic FMF sides Club America and Cruz Azul played a very entertaining game at the Rose Bowl last weekend, with Club America winning 2-1. Earlier this summer, AC Milan, Boca Juniors and Paris-St. Germain visited our continent. Currently, big clubs such as Manchester United, Celtic, Spurs, Sporting Lisbon and Manchester City are here. One of the teams I root for, the Bolton Wanderers, played the USL-2 Charlotte Eagles during the week, winning 3-0, and play in Charleston against the Battery tonight. Bolton Coach Owen Coyle was quite pleased with the competition and atmopshere in Charlotte.
In transfer news, famed Mexican star Omar Bravo is joining the Kansas City Wizards. The Mexican international has had a long career with Chivas de Guadalajara. He will probably not be ready to appear in the Wizards’ friendly match against Manchester United, but may feature in their July 31 contest against Toronto FC. Another Mexican international, defender Efrain Juarez, recently transferred to Celtic from Pumas, and Pumas also lost Mexican World Cup attacker Pablo Barrerra to West Ham United. West Ham have also added Israeli defender Tal Ben-Haim and French striker Frederic Piquionne from the relegated Portsmouth team. Long-time American international defender Carlos Bocanegra has switched addresses in Ligue 1, transferring from Stade Rennes to St. Etienne. And young Danish star defender Simon Kjaer has left Palermo to join Bundesliga side VfL Wolfsburg. Also, American forward Eddie Johnson, who made the 30 man US World Cup training roster in May after spending 2010 on loan with Greek Super League team Aris Thessalonika, has returned to Fulham and scored a goal in a preseason match with Brentford.
Also want to give a shout out to two St. Louisans. I was surprised to hear New England Revolution forward Taylor Twellman doing commentary on the Spurs-San Jose Earthquakes friendly on FSC Saturday. Twellman, who has been bothered by neck and concussion worries the last two years, did an excellent job and definetely has a future in broadcasting. Also, his teammate and former AC St. Louis player Steve Ralston is due to return from injury Tuesday night for the Revs. Ralston, who suffered an elbow injury in a friendly against Brazilian side Cruziero after re-signing with the Revs, will be back in action in a SuperLiga match against Mexican side Monarcas Morelia. SuperLiga contests today, Sunday, Tuesday and Wednesday will be televised on Telefutura and Galavision.
If that’s not enough action to keep you occupied until the opening kickoffs of the EPL, the Bundesliga, Serie A, La Liga, the FMF and Ligue 1, the CONCACAF Champions League starts up on Tuesday July 27, with matches featuring Toronto FC v Motogua of Honduras and the LA Galaxy v. the Puerto Rico Islanders of USSF D2 featured on FSC.
Upcoming Soccer Scheduled on US TV :
SUNDAY July 18: Celtic v. Seattle Sounders ESPN 2:00 pm CDT
WEDNESDAY July 21: Celtic v Sporting Lisbon FSC 7:00pm CDT
Manchester United at Philadephia Union ESPN2 6:00pm CDT
THURSDAY July 22: Tottenham v. New York Red Bulls FSC 7:30 pm CDT
FRIDAY July 23: Manchester City v. Sporting Lisbon FSC 7:30 pm CDT
SUNDAY July 25: Tottenham v. Sporting Lisbon FSC 12:00 pm CDT
New York Red Bulls v Manchester City FSC 2:30 pm CDT
Manchester United v. Kansas City Wizards FSC 5:00pm CDT