FedEx Field in line for proposed international soccer matches

February 4, 2014
(Royal Spain Football Federation) (Royal Spain Football Federation)

Three of the biggest names in international soccer are tentatively planning to play at FedEx Field this summer: Spain’s national team, Manchester United and Inter Milan.

As part of final World Cup preparations, defending champion Spain has lined up a friendly against an unspecified Central American team in early June, sources close to the planning told the Insider on Tuesday. The Spanish federation has already arranged a training camp in the Washington area before flying to Brazil for the World Cup, which kicks off June 12.

Game promoters prefer FedEx over RFK Stadium because of larger seating capacity and revenue potential through private boxes and other amenities.

El Salvador appears to be the leading candidate to face Spain. The Salvadorans plan to participate in an MLS-sponsored “Road to Brazil” series. Honduras is also involved, but early reports indicate the World Cup-bound Catrachos will face Ivory Coast on June 3 in Miami.

With an enormous Salvadoran community in the Washington area, the national team attracts large crowds for annual friendlies at RFK Stadium. Last summer tens of thousands of Salvadoran supporters helped sell out M&T Bank Stadium in Baltimore for the CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals against the United States.

Meantime, organizers of the eight-team International Champions Cup, a preseason tournament for prominent European clubs, have tentatively scheduled a match between Manchester United and Inter on July 29 in Landover. Details have not been finalized, however, and official competition might force United to withdraw from the tour. The struggling Red Devils are in danger of participating in the qualifying stage for the UEFA Europa League before the 2014-15 Premier League season commences. Inter Milan could find itself in a similar situation.

“It’s probable but still a lot of moving parts,” one source cautioned.

United appeared in Washington in July 2011 for a friendly against FC Barcelona at FedEx. Inter is owned by Erick Thohir, D.C. United’s primary investor.

The ICC will take place July 26 through Aug. 4, culminating with the championship at Sun Life Stadium in Miami. Other participants include AC Milan, Real Madrid, Roma, Liverpool, Manchester City and Olympiakos. Last year Real Madrid defeated Chelsea in the final.

Other host cities this summer will include Phoenix, Denver, Charlotte, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, the New York-New Jersey area and two additional venues. Manchester City is scheduled to play AC Milan in Pittsburgh. Other pairings are being finalized.

Redskins spokesman Tony Wyllie said the team had no comment at this time concerning soccer matches at the NFL stadium.

 

Steven Goff is The Post’s soccer writer. His beats include D.C. United, MLS and the international game, as well as local college basketball.
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