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D.C. United to host AC Milan in friendly on May 26

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By Steven Goff
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, April 13, 2010

D.C. United has had enough trouble with its Major League Soccer brethren this season. Now the club has arranged a May 26 friendly at RFK Stadium against one of the world's most decorated teams, AC Milan.

Although several Milan players will not be available because of national team commitments 2 1/2 weeks ahead of the World Cup, United officials said Monday that, barring injury, all other Milan regulars will be in uniform.

United is also in talks to host El Salvador's national team in June, Scottish leader Glasgow Rangers in July and England's Blackburn Rovers in August, people familiar with the summer schedule said.

The daunting exhibition slate comes in a year in which United has lost its first three MLS matches by a combined score of 9-2. With another defeat Saturday night against the visiting Chicago Fire, United would match the worst start in club history (0-4 in the 1996 inaugural season).

The United-Milan match will occur just 10 days after the conclusion of the grueling Italian Serie A season. With five games remaining, Milan is in third place, four points behind Roma and three behind Inter Milan.

Forward Ronaldinho, a two-time FIFA world player of the year who isn't expected to make the Brazilian World Cup squad, would headline Milan's roster in Washington. Dutch midfielder Clarence Seedorf and Italian forward Filippo Inzaghi are also expected to make the trip, and midfielder Alexandre Pato, a rising star from Brazil, is a possibility.

Midfielder Andrea Pirlo (Italy) and forward Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Netherlands) will not be available. Defender Oguchi Onyewu, a Washington native who suffered a knee injury in the fall, appears on course to rejoin the U.S. national team in time for the World Cup, and English midfielder David Beckham, on loan from MLS's Los Angeles Galaxy, is out for several months with a torn Achilles' tendon.

"AC Milan is historically one of the best clubs in Europe and will provide a great match for our fans and a great test for our players," United President Kevin Payne said.

United has previously hosted, among others, Real Madrid, Chelsea, Boca Juniors, Celtic and Tottenham Hotspur.

The Milan match, as well as the proposed Glasgow Rangers and Blackburn games, are included in the season ticket package. Individual seats for Milan's visit will go on sale Monday and are priced between $35 and $75.

Milan, a seven-time European and four-time world champion, played in Baltimore last summer, losing to English power Chelsea, 2-1, in front of 71,203 at M&T Bank Stadium. Its previous visits to Washington were in 2003 for a 2-0 loss to FC Barcelona (in Ronaldinho's debut for the Spanish club) and in 1993 for a 1-0 victory over Torino in the Italian SuperCup.


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