Houston over the moon about Manchester United visit

City ready to embrace the EPL giants for MLS All-Star game

On Thursday afternoon, the Houston Dynamo held a press conference to announce one of the worst kept secrets in soccer. The 2010 AT&T MLS All-Star game will pit the MLS All-Stars against Manchester United of the English Premier League.

“It’s a very special moment for [the Houston Dynamo] and Major League Soccer to have a franchise like Manchester United,” said Dynamo President Oliver Luck. “It doesn’t get any better.”

“From the beginning, we wanted to bring one of the biggest and best clubs in the world to Houston for this match and we pushed really hard to make that happen,” said Dynamo chief operating officer Chris Canetti.

There is no doubt that the Red Devils fit the bill. Manchester United have won the Premier League the last three years and could make it four in a row this weekend depending on how the results shake out on the final matchday; ManU are battling with Chelsea for the title. In addition, United won the 2008 Champions League and the subsequent FIFA Club World Cup, and numerous FA Cups and other trophies throughout their storied history.

While it is unclear which players will ultimately make an appearance for United with several players returning to the team fresh off World Cup duty, there will likely be a mix of young players like the team’s newest acquisition from Mexico, Javier “Chicharito” Hernández, and veteran stars like Ryan Giggs and Paul Scholes.

The city of Houston hopes to use the All-Star game as an audition for a potential World Cup venue. As a result, Mayor Annise Parker and Harris County Judge Ed Emmett were in attendance to support the match.

“Bringing a team like Manchester United, people who don’t even follow English football understand Manchester United,” said Emmett, who himself is a fan of the Norwich City Canaries. “We want to host the World Cup and we will do a spectacular job and it will be a chance to showcase our community and how much we can do to put on an event like this and hopefully it will put us one step closer to hosting a World Cup.”

“Not only will we have an outstanding event at Reliant Stadium, but we will open our doors to the world,” Parker said. “It will [help to] put Houston on the map as a soccer town.”

British Consul-General Paul Lynch, who was also in attendance at the press conference, was probably the most pleased personally about the news: He is a lifelong Manchester United fan.

“To have the biggest football team in the world from the richest and most important football league in the world coming to what I think is the most important football/soccer town in the United States is really, really big,” Lynch gushed.

“This is a great moment in Houston soccer,” Luck said.

Dwain Capodice is a contributor to MLSsoccer.com. Questions or Comments can be sent via email to dwaincapodice@gmail.com.