Thursday, August 8, 2013

Chelsea, A.S. Roma to Mix It Up in RFK Friendly

Blues' Ramires scores vs. Real Madrid in a 3-1 loss Wednesday

RFK Stadium is the place to be for soccer fans this weekend, as top European clubs A.S. Roma and Chelsea FC visit the nation's capital for a star-studded friendly Saturday night. Soccer royalty will be in the house, as stars Ashley ColeDaniele De Rossi, Oscar, Fernando Torres and Francesco Totti take the pitch, along with many others. Even US national team member Michael Bradley will be on hand, representing Roma.

Both teams played Wednesday night, as the Blues fell to Real Madrid 3-1 in the final of the Guinness International Champions Cup in Miami; and AS Roma knocked off Toronto FC 4-1 behind two second-half goals from midfielder Miralem Pjanić. De Rossi, the #42 footballer in the world (according to The Guardian) missed the game due with a minor calf injury; but he's almost sure to play on Saturday. Friendly or not, this is a huge game for both teams (at least in regards to bragging rights.)

Chelsea has to be the prohibitive favorites, based on their 2013 UEFA Europa League title and last year's UEFA Champions League victory. They definitely hold an edge in star power (I actually omitted the likes of Petr Čech, Eden Hazard, Juan Marta and Ramires... ranked 44, 58, 32 and 61 respectively on the aforementioned Guardian Top 100.) They even turned down a £35 million offer from Barcelona for star defender David Luiz (who just happens to be #79 on the list.) And they're trying to wrestle Wayne Rooney from Manchester United for as much as 30 mil (pounds, not dollars.)

Best of all, it's one more chance to watch soccer at RFK Stadium. I grew up watching the Washington Diplomats play (remember Johan Cruyff?) and while she's seen better days... nothing rivals the feeling of hopping off the Metro (Stadium Armory) and walking up to venerable RFK. Tickets range from $38 up to $200; and there's still a few seats available if you hurry (click here to purchase on Ticketmaster.)