Saturday, December 20, 2014

Chelsea to play in MLS All-Star Game at PPL Park

The official announcement will come Wednesday morning at 11:30 a.m. at PPL Park.

Chelsea to play in MLS All-Star Game at PPL Park

Chelsea´s Didier Drogba, center, celebrates with teammates during the Champions League Group E soccer match. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)
Chelsea's Didier Drogba, center, celebrates with teammates during the Champions League Group E soccer match. (AP Photo/Frank Augstein)

Major League Soccer has not always done the best job of keeping secrets out of the media, but they did a pretty good job of keeping the opponent for this year's All-Star Game under wraps.

Until Tuesday afternoon, that is.

Fox Sports' Ives Galarcep has let the cat out of the bag, confirming that Chelsea will face the MLS All-Star squad in the midsummer spectacle July 25 at PPL Park.

The official announcement will come Wednesday morning at 11:30 a.m. at PPL Park. It will also be streamed online on MLSSoccer.com.

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It is the second time that Chelsea will be the All-Star Game opponent. The first time was in 2006, when that year's All-Star Team beat the Blues, 1-0, at Toyota Park in Bridgeview, Ill.

Chelsea had been rumored as this year's opponent for a while now. Whatever you may think of the club, it makes sense from their perspective. The Blues are a big British club with global ambitions. Their chairman, Bruce Buck, is an American. And perhaps most importantly, they have a merchandise contract with Adidas, which does all of MLS' gear.

Chelsea's summer tour of the United States will feature at least two other stops: a trip to Seattle to face the Sounders on July 18, and a friendly against AC Milan at FedEx Field in Landover, Md., on July 28. It's been rumored that they'll also play a game at Yankee Stadium on July 21 or 22, with Celtic and Juventus floated as possible opponents.

If you aren't familiar with Chelsea, the squad is stacked with big-time players. Spanish forward Fernando Torres, Ivory Coast forward Didier Drogba, England midfielder Frank Lampard and England defender John Terry are among the most recognizable names.

That doesn't mean all those players will be there. It's possible that Torres and/or Drogba could be sold this summer. The former is notoriously streaky, and the latter has arguably passed the peak of his career.

More significantly, Terry will spend a big chunk of July in court on charges of using racist language towards Queens Park Rangers forward Anton Ferdinand. It's not clear how long the trial will last, but it will begin July 9.

On top of all of that, Chelsea could have a new manager by the time they cross the Atlantic. The current man in charge, Roberto di Matteo, is only in the position on an interim basis after Andre Villas-Boas was fired in early March.

So what do you think? Are you disappointed that Chelsea will be the All-Star opponent, or are you excited? Or would you be happy regardless of the opponent? Have your say in the comments.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
About this blog
The Goalkeeper is your home for the latest news about the Philadelphia Union, Major League Soccer, U.S. national teams and the rest of the world's most popular sport. It's also a place for fans to gather and celebrate the culture of soccer and its unique place on the sports landscape.

Reach Jonathan at jtannenwald@phillynews.com or 215-854-2330.

Jonathan Tannenwald Philly.com
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