Chelsea, Manchester City set friendly date in St. Louis

The two English powers will play the first international soccer match at Busch Stadium, home of Major League Baseball's St. Louis Cardinals.
Chelsea and Manchester City are coming back to America.

The two English Premier League powers will return to the United States after the conclusion of the current season and will face off in a friendly in the first international soccer match at St. Louis' Busch Stadium on May 23. The match comes four days after the end of the Premier League campaign, with Chelsea hosting Everton and Manchester City hosting Norwich City as both look to seal a place in next season's UEFA Champions League.

Both clubs have made it a habit to play friendlies in the United States during the offseason, with City coming stateside in 2010 and 2011.

"The summer visit to St Louis is tremendously exciting for us," City chief executive Ferran Soriano said on the club's official website. “The club’s first U.S. tour was in 2010, and we have continued to develop a close relationship with our fans in North America ever since. You will now find Manchester City soccer fields in some of the most deserving communities of New York, Miami, LA and Chicago, and loyal supporters clubs in major cities across the continent."

Chelsea, meanwhile, the opponent in last year's MLS All-Star Game, played a number of matches in America last summer in addition to doing so in 2009.

"It's an excellent opportunity for the club to be able to return to America so quickly after our successful tour there last July," Chelsea chief executive Ron Gourlay said on the club's official website. "The club and the players have enjoyed regularly traveling to the U.S. and also helping to create long-term growth and sustainability of soccer in the country through our super club network.

"We will face the strongest opposition in Manchester City, and I am sure we will provide a competitive and entertaining match in St Louis."

Chelsea's time in America will precede a preseason trip to Asia ahead of the 2013-14 season. It is unclear who will be managing Chelsea during the friendly in St. Louis, as Rafa Benitez' contract as interim manager is set to expire at the end of the Premier League campaign.

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