RFK Stadium has been chosen as the site for next month's MLS All-Star Game, which will consist of a traditional East vs. West match as well as an exhibition featuring players from the 1994 U.S. World Cup squad against former MLS foreign stars.
The event will take place on July 31, starting at noon, with the East-West game being televised by ABC at 2 p.m.
"We wanted to bring together different strands of American soccer in a celebration of the game in this country," MLS deputy commissioner Ivan Gazidis said last night. "It will represent MLS past, MLS present and also clearly there will be a lot of MLS future on the field."
MLS had scheduled to use its midseason event to showcase a league all-star team against world power Real Madrid at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Mass., but plans fell through after Real's poor finish to the Spanish league season.
However, MLS will send an all-star squad to play Real Madrid in Spain on Sept. 21, league officials confirmed. Real is considering playing the MLS all-stars in the United States next summer.
RFK hosted the all-star game in 2002, when an MLS squad faced the U.S. national team following the Americans' quarterfinal appearance at the World Cup in South Korea and Japan.
Tickets for this year's event will go on sale this week and will cost from $25 to $60. Balloting has begun on the MLS Web site, www.mlsnet.com.
Meantime, the rosters for the opening exhibition are beginning to come together.
Retired players from the 1994 U.S. team who have committed to play include John Harkes, Eric Wynalda, Alexi Lalas, Marcelo Balboa and Thomas Dooley.
Four active players -- Tony Meola, D.C. United's Earnie Stewart, Cobi Jones and Joe-Max Moore -- likely will participate if they're not selected for the regular all-star teams.
Two other 1994 veterans, Brad Friedel and Claudio Reyna, probably won't be available because they will be in preseason training camp with their English clubs. Bora Milutinovic, who coached the Americans in 1994 and guides the Honduras national team, has been invited to oversee the U.S. team again, but he has not committed.
The international squad will include former United star Marco Etcheverry, United Coach Peter Nowak (a former Chicago standout), Carlos Valderrama, Jorge Campos, Mauricio Cienfuegos, Carlos Hermosillo and Robert Warzycha. Ex-D.C. star Raul Diaz Arce also is a possibility.
The league also has invited non-MLS players who starred in the 1994 World Cup to appear for the international squad.
Current U.S. coach Bruce Arena will coach the international team.