Manchester City and Chelsea will complete an end-of-season double-header in the United States by playing each other in a friendly at Yankee Stadium in New York on 25 May. The clubs, who meet in the FA Cup semi-final on Sunday, were already scheduled to play a friendly two days earlier at Busch Stadium in St Louis.
City have toured North America for two of the last three years in an attempt to boost their profile there and their chief executive, Ferran Soriano, said: “We are enthusiastic believers in the development of soccer in the US.”
The friendly will finish Chelsea’s action-packed season. Last season’s Champions League winners are on course to play 70 competitive matches this term if they advance to the Europa League and FA Cup finals. The England players in the squads will experience a short turnaround and clock up many air miles owing to a friendly against the Republic of Ireland in London on 29 May and the trip to Rio de Janeiro to play Brazil on 2 June.
Yankee Stadium has staged only two football matches, both last year – Chelsea’s 1-1 draw with Paris Saint-Germain and Real Madrid’s 5-1 victory over Milan.
On announcing the game, Chelsea’s chief executive, Ron Gourlay, said: “The club is thrilled to be returning to Yankee Stadium. We were delighted to take part in the first-ever football game there and we look forward to reconnect with our US fans before we head to Asia in July for pre-season.”
All tickets for the St Louis friendly at the 46,861-capacity Busch Stadium sold out within 20 minutes of going on sale. Following last week’s announcement of the first game, Chelsea’s interim coach, Rafael Benitez, suggested he is prepared to lead the Blues in the US, even though his contract expires at the end of the season.