City’s pre-season excursions continue to grab the headlines in the United States.
The team’s arrival in Minnesota ahead of their clash with Olympiacos has caused plenty of excitement, and the Minneapolis Star Tribune reports that the Blues are expected to draw the biggest soccer crowd in the state since the 1970s.
Champions of England versus Champions of Greece certainly gets the juices flowing, and the report wonders whether the game will whet the appetite for the local clash which follows.
Scribes Megan Ryan: “Of the two soccer matches Saturday at TCF Bank Stadium, one is clearly more anticipated than the other.
“Manchester City, the reigning English Premier League champions, face reigning Greek titleholder Olympiacos to start the doubleheader. More than 30,000 people — which figures to be the biggest soccer crowd in Minnesota since the 1970s — are expected for the game, the first of such top international calibre ever played in the state.
“After the 2 p.m. match between the European giants, second-tier North American pro teams Minnesota United FC and Ottawa Fury FC, accustomed to crowds well under 10,000, will battle for three points in the NASL fall season standings.”
She adds: “But the real challenge for the NASL opponents may be mostly out of their control. While ticket sales are estimated at about 33,000 for the doubleheader, it remains to be seen just how many will stay in for the second act.
“The crowd is expected to dwarf the announced crowd of 20,000 who saw David Beckham play in the Metrodome in 2007.”
If you can’t watch it yourself, never fear, mcfc.co.uk is here. Follow our live coverage on the website and on twitter.
Meanwhile, a combined trio of MCFC, NYCFC and Frank Lampard are making plenty of waves on both sides of the Atlantic this morning.
There is plenty of speculation in today’s media, both in the UK and USA, that the England midfielder will sign a six month loan deal with City before returning to New York for pre-season training ahead of MLS kick off in March.
The Daily Mail’s Chris Wheeler reports: “Lampard, 36, left Chelsea after 13 years this summer and joined City’s US team New York City FC last week. But it is understood that the England midfielder is now ready to sign a six-month loan deal with the Premier League champions.
“Although the move would primarily allow Lampard to stay fit until he starts training with his Major League Soccer team in January, he is set to be included in City’s squad for both the Premier League and Champions League this season. Manuel Pellegrini’s side face Chelsea on Sunday, September 21.”
The New York Daily News has also picked up the story – following their own admission that City’s clash with Liverpool and the future prospect of NYCFC games in the Big Apple next year remains a key topic of conversation for New Yorkers.
Writes Madison Hartman: “New York City Football Club’s newly acquired star isn’t sticking around the U.S. while he waits to make his MLS debut at Yankee Stadium next year.
“Frank Lampard, the long-time star of Premier League powerhouse Chelsea, signed a two-year deal with the newest MLS expansion team last week.
“Now Lampard, 36, will go back across the pond on loan until the start of the 2015 MLS preseason – to rival squad, Manchester City.
“Part of Lampard’s motivation for returning to England is to keep his name in the mix for national team duties.”
Even Sports Illustrated has picked up the news – NYCFC is certainly capturing the American public’s imagination!
As ever, this is just speculation, and any deal will be confirmed first right here on mcfc.co.uk!
A bit of Zaba appreciation never goes amiss, I’m sure you’ll agree.
The site’s Daniel Edwards explains: “Argentina and Manchester City star Pablo Zabaleta has never been a man to hog the limelight. The defender prefers to burrow and hustle away on the right side of the pitch, supporting his team-mates and keeping the back-line steady without drawing too much attention to his own play.
“That commitment to the team and giving his all in every game, however, is exactly what makes the 29-year-old Arrecifes native such an asset to any team he plays for. Whether at San Lorenzo, Espanyol, City or the national team, honours have never been far away from the right-back.”
The piece does include honours for his previous clubs and the national team, but as you might expect, there’s quite a bit of City in there too…