The Houston Dynamo announced Thursday they will welcome Manchester City to Texas on May 28 as the opponent for their annual BBVA Dynamo Charities Cup match.
“We’ve been working very hard over the last several years to try and land a team that has the stature that Man City has,” Dynamo president Chris Canetti told MLSsoccer.com. “This is going to be a big moment for the club and its fans. We’ve always said we want to deliver an opponent like this for our club and our fan base.”
Booking the 2014 English Premier League champions for the match at BBVA Compass Stadium will mark the first true big-ticket opponent to play against the Dynamo on their home turf. In past years, the Dynamo attracted mostly mid-tier European sides for the charity game, with the lack of a marquee opponent occasionally drawing criticism from the club’s fans.
“It’s really important that it’s in our stadium. This is who we are,” Canetti said. “For us to be able to showcase ourselves in that venue versus taking it somewhere else is really special and important.”
Dynamo players are excited about the prospect of testing themselves against Manchester City’s stars, a group that includes Argentina forward Sergio Aguero, Spain midfielder David Silva and England goalkeeper Joe Hart, among others.
“For us as a club, everyone knows we’re one of the most decorated clubs in MLS. We’re a team striving for greatness, and the best thing for a team striving for greatness is to go up against greatness and that’s what you get,” said Dynamo attacker Giles Barnes, who faced City while in the EPL. “Just showing we can pull that caliber of opponent shows we’re well respected not only as a league but as a team in the Houston Dynamo as well.”
The May 28 date does not come without issues, however. Houston booked the game just two days before they’re scheduled to face New York City FC – Man City’s sister club – at Yankee Stadium. Man City, which finishes their EPL schedule on May 24, will also play a game the night before, facing Toronto FC at BMO Field.
While there are legitimate concerns about the scheduling, the prospect of booking a high-profile match against a one of the world’s best teams will give Houston a big selling point heading into the summer.
“I don’t think any of us could turn down the opportunity to play such an elite team as Manchester City, and that’s a credit to the match,” Dynamo head coach Owen Coyle told MLSsoccer.com. “It is a quick turnaround … in terms of the squad that’s something we’ll look at very closely.”
Coyle knows the opponent very well, having coached against them during his time in England.
“You knew every game against them was fraught with danger because they have players that can define a game on their own,” the Dynamo boss said. “They’re world-class players that could play for anybody. I’ve got a lot of good friends there and people I’ve got on well with and competed against before. The players they’re bringing are an array of world-class talent, and we’re very fortunate to see them up close at BBVA.”
Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com.