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Sizing up this weekend’s friendlies

Ronaldo (Reuters Pictures)

Whether MLS coaches like it or not, another full wave of friendlies packs the weekend schedule, with games involving European teams taking place in five North American cities.

Four of the games are part of the World Football Challenge, as high-profile teams Manchester United, Real Madrid and Manchester City continue their tours of America.

A couple of United States internationals are involved in two of the matches as well, although one of them reportedly will not be playing in his team's match.

Here's a look ahead to this weekend's friendly lineup:


Chicago Fire vs. Manchester United, Saturday, 5 p.m., ESPN2

The Red Devils will look to make it three in a row in America after soundly beating New England last weekend and putting a 7-0 hurting on the Seattle Sounders during their mid-week clash.

The Fire haven't exactly been in top form, and with United making a statement ahead of the MLS All-Star Game and with its depth proving to be too much for MLS sides to handle over the course of a 90-minute exhibition, it could be a rather one-sided result at Soldier Field.

Juventus vs. Sporting Clube de Portugal, Saturday, 7 p.m., ESPN Deportes

Fans in Toronto will get a look at U.S. centerback Oguchi Onyewu with his new team, as the two European powers clash at BMO Field.

Onyewu will be tested by veteran Italian internationals Andrea Pirlo, Alessandro Del Piero and Luca Toni as he looks to make a solid preseason impression heading into his first campaign in Portugal.

D.C. United vs. Everton, Saturday, 7:30 p.m., Fox Soccer Channel

U.S. goalkeeper Tim Howard will be in attendance but will not play, according to manager David Moyes, which should be a bit of a buzzkill for attendees who were looking forward to seeing him between the pipes at RFK Stadium.

Nevertheless, Everton is a quality side with a strong American following. D.C., which will be playing its third game in seven days, will likely spread minutes up and down the roster while looking to move forward from the disappointment of its mid-week loss to New England.

Philadelphia Union vs. Real Madrid, Saturday, 9 p.m., ESPN Deportes

The Union topped Everton Wednesday night at PPL Park and will look to take it up a notch when Cristiano Ronaldo & Co. invade Lincoln Financial Field.

Real Madrid has looked rather sharp for a team in preseason mode, dispatching the Los Angeles Galaxy and Chivas de Guadalajara without a problem and outscoring the two teams by a combined 7-1.

Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Manchester City, Sunday, 4 p.m., ESPN2

Bruce Arena spoke his mind about how these summer friendlies are all geared toward the needs of the European clubs, but that won't stop his Galaxy from participating in their second match of the World Football Challenge.

City, meanwhile, has been in solid form during its summer tour on the strength of Shaun Wright-Phillips' goal-scoring ways. Expect to see plenty of Galaxy reserves at the Home Depot Center in light of Arena's comments and the team's congested summer schedule.


Which friendly are you looking forward to watching the most? Planning on attending any of these matches? Patiently waiting for friendly season to pass?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. dude, madrid didn’t have a great first half. but they controlled the game and should have put 1 or 2 away. chivas played well considering it was madrid though.

  2. oh, please….most of the teams make the playoffs anyway. It should be about evaluating/strengthening for Champs League and MLS Playoffs…

  3. they usually arent, with last year the exception. Although Man U is a different animal even compared to teams like Chelsea

  4. Yes, but the super clubs are saving some of their starters for the 2nd Half. It’s a nice way to see combinations of players together. American coaches should think strategically in the same way. These games are great experience and great for talent evaluation.

  5. The reserves probably like it b/c they get playing time period, and they get to say they played some of the world’s top players. I’m sure the regulars would like to play top clubs in theory (what competitor doesn’t like to measure his/herself against the best?) but in practice I’m sure they hate squeezing these games into the middle of the season when they have the regular season to focus on, and energy to conserve for other matches.

  6. yeah Ronaldo scored when reynoso came off. He was crying for no wing able to score. You probably didn’t even see the game.

  7. Lol are you really comparing Seattle’s depth to KC’s depth based off of two friendly games practically a year apart? Sorry to burst your bubble, but Seattle has WAY more depth than KC.

  8. It is funny to me that most people are losing sight of how close these friendlies have actually been… MLS starting 11s can compete in some manner with these upper echelon clubs but once a mix of second (probably third) rate subs come in then the floodgates have opened in some cases.

    Seattle and New England were fine in the first halves of their matches with Manure…

    Philly beat Everton and dominated the first half from all accounts…

    Portland played well and was not outclassed by any stretch of the imagination by WBA

    KC drew with Newcastle and was never second best…

    Vancouver also took the game to Man City in the first half…

    The fact is these teams from across the pond have embarrassments of riches on the bench and we have players who can barely pay rent in their respective cities without piling 3 young players in a 2 bedroom apartment coming in in the 2nd halves of these matches that soon get out of hand..

    MLS is doing the right thing with the friendlies and smart fans recognize that but we also recognize that the roster and salary limitations need to be lifted on teams that proven their financial stability…

  9. I won’t deny in some cases it’s poor use of the a limited cap…..but that’s just it……it’s a limited cap.

    Can’t really make chicken soup out of chicken sh*t no matter how you spin it.

  10. You’re absolutely right.

    Seattle is getting beat 0-7 not because they’re working with a 3 million dollar salary cap but because they’re paying players like Pat Noonan.

    Chicken or the Egg. Ever read about it?

  11. terrible excuse…paying good money to rejects like Noonan, Barrett, Kirovski, Berhalter, White, Magee, Ianni are why these teams are getting embarrassed. Seattle and LA have money. If these teams had the direction of front offices like TFC, Vancouver, New York, or even Chicago, things would be different.

  12. Madrid played with a lot of tension after Chivas played as if their country’s respect depended on it (which perhaps it did).

    Chivas players were chippy, studs up at times and often way overly aggressive for a friendly and thats why Ronaldo decided to send them back to Mexico with their tails between their legs with a dose of reality.

    This wasn’t the Club World Cup Final for both clubs, just one (Goats). Their fans clearly showed that with the pyrotechnic display and smoke bombs after getting bombed with 2 goals in 2 mins.

  13. Arena should be worrying about doing his GM job….no transfers = no titles for LA. If they had a couple more quality players instead of old retreads, they could legitimately compete against the super clubs.

  14. LA wouldn’t “need the money” if MLS loosened the training wheels…errr…salary cap restrictions.

    Seattle wouldn’t “need the money” either.

    These are examples of MLS clubs that could produce their own (very respectable) stream of revenue once Daddy Don decides the boys of MLS are ready to act like men.

    These friendlies are a wreck to the schedules and depth of MLS squads until then. Cash or not.

  15. Shouldn’t we “size up” these friendlies with $-signs rather than actual outlooks and previews?

    That’s what they’re about, no?

  16. Chivas was the sharpest team for real Madrid. Chivas vs Madrid 72min scoreless. This game was played with alot of tension Madrid actually took this friendly serious. Ronaldo was fustrated that chivas defender ( Hector reynoso) never let him show off his skills. Hector reynoso was a puyol to Madrid until they took reynoso off at 75 min then Ronaldo and Madrid took advantage of chivas defense because reynoso left. Chivas did not have nobody good to sub him they had to many u-17 players in the bench. Plus chivas and Madrid are in preseason.

  17. So Arena and some “other coaches” seem to have a problem with these friendlies. I’d be curious what the players think. As competitors, I would imagine they would love a chance of going up against these guys, and as Sigi said before their demolition, all the players, whether they admit it or not, are thinking it might be a chance for a break out.

  18. Sigi has taken all the blame for the second half fiasco, but I feel his assistants are more guilty. Sigi made his intentions known before the game that he’d play everyone in the second half. It was his assistants responsibility to get the scrubs ready. At a minimum they should have known where they’d play and their marking responsibilities. If you watch the tape you’ll see the majority of subs didn’t know either.
    It would not be unkind to Sigi or the fans if they offered their resignations.


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