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Revs, Fire kick off heavy slate of international games
by Ridge Mahoney, May 19th, 2010 1:52AM
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TAGS:  chicago fire, mls, new england revolution

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[MLS] What is shaping up to be a busy summer of foreign teams on tour before and after the World Cup commences Wednesday when New England hosts Benfica of Portugal at Gillette Stadium, and the Fire hosts a doubleheader at Toyota Park.

Chicago plays Paris St. Germain and Red Star Belgrade meets Legia Warsaw in the Chicago Sister Cities International Cup, with the winners and losers to play on Saturday.

Italian teams Juventus and Fiorentina are also in North America this week. Fiorentina is in Montreal to play the Impact and the Red Bulls host Juve on Sunday, just a few hours before Argentine club Boca Juniors plays the Galaxy at Home Depot Center. Juventus and Fiorentina will also square off next Tuesday in Toronto at Rogers Centre (formerly SkyDome).

AC Milan arrives next week to play D.C. United at RFK Stadium (May 26), the Fire at Toyota Park (May 30), and Montreal (June 2) in Olympic Stadium.

Manchester United is headed to North America in July to play five matches, including the MLS All-Star Game at Reliant Stadium in Houston. Glasgow Celtic, AC Milan, Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester City, Sporting Lisbon and Cruziero are among the teams that have signed up to play in the States at some point during the next three months.

How seriously the foreign teams regard these matches varies widely, and so does the perspective of the opponent when they play MLS opposition.

Revs coach Steve Nicol will use the match against Benfica, which won its 33rd league title earlier this month, to test a few trialists. One is draft pick Jason Griffiths, who decided to finish his studies at the University of Kentucky and has yet to sign a contract. The other trialists are Ivan Gvozdenovicof Serbia, a former teammate of Revs attacker Marko Perovic, and Haitian international Jean-Baptiste Fritzson.

PRE-WORLD CUP CLUB FRIENDLIES:
May 19 --New England Revolution vs. Benfica
May 19 --Chicago Fire vs. Paris SG (Sister Cities International Cup)
May 19 --Red Star Belgrade vs. Legia Warsaw (Sister Cities International Cup)
May 22 -- Chicago Fire/Paris SG loser vs. Red Star Belgrade/Legia Warsaw loser (Sister Cities International Cup)
May 22 --Chicago Fire/Paris SG winner vs. Red Star Belgrade/Legia Warsaw winner (Sister Cities International Cup)
May 23 --Montreal Impact vs. Fiorentina
May 23 --New York Red Bulls vs. Juventus
May 23 -- Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Boca Juniors
May 26 --D.C. United vs. AC Milan
May 26 --Seattle Sounders FC vs. Boca Juniors
May 29 --Portland Timbers vs. Boca Juniors
May 30 --Chicago Fire vs. AC Milan
June 2 -- Montreal Impact vs. AC Milan



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