The worst kept secret in American soccer was finally revealed on Monday evening when it was announced that Manchester United would play Manchester City in Houston in July.
“The Manchester Derby is one of the world’s most iconic games,” said Ferran Soriano, Chief Executive of Manchester City. “We are very excited to play it in front of our passionate American fans. There are so many great memories from this game in history and we can’t wait to create some new ones in Houston.”
The match will be the first ever Manchester Derby taking place outside of the United Kingdom and will be part of the International Champions Cup. The match will take place at NRG Stadium at 8:30pm on Thursday July 20th.
“We are proud that Houston and NRG Stadium were selected to host the latest chapter in this historic rivalry between two of the most prestigious soccer clubs on the planet, Manchester City and Manchester United,” said Jamey Rootes, President of the Houston Texans and Lone Star Sports & Entertainment. “This is the first time the Manchester Derby will be played outside of the UK, which is a testament to our community’s demonstrated ability to host the world’s largest and most important sporting events. We look forward to once again welcoming the world to NRG Stadium this July.”
Manchester United have previously played at the venue, playing at then Reliant Stadium for the 2010 MLS All Star Game. On that occasion Manchester United managed a simple win 5-2 over the MLS All Stars, the first ever time the All Stars lost in the 90 minutes.
2010 was the last time either club has appeared in Houston and in the two teams Houston is welcoming two of the most valuable sports brands in the world. It will be one of the biggest matches of the United States summer friendlies series and certainly the biggest in Texas.
With Manchester United still alive in the UEFA Europa League this match could well feature two teams competing in the 2017-18 UEFA Champions League with Manchester City in a position to clinch it with their league performance. It could also feature a side with three trophies in the year with Manchester United playing in the Europa League final after winning the Community Shield and League Cup.
Both Houston clubs have entered in to a partnership with the organizers for the event, Relevant Sports, to promote it. That will lead to a cross promotion with Dynamo and Dash selling ticket packages that will include a ticket to a Dynamo or Dash match.