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Man United Come First In The Second City After Win Against Chicago

Photo by Lou Bruno

Most of us know that Saturday’s final score between Chicago Fire and Manchester United was 3-1 in the favor of the reigning champions of the English Premier League. Although this was not the first time that the Red Devils have visited Chicago, it was a world of difference from the last time just about five years ago. The local newspapers carried front page stories about the team’s tour of the US every day of the week. Chicago Fire team personal gave appearances on media outlets that would hardly give soccer a care unless the US reached a World Cup Final. The sports sections carried more than one story every day regarding preparations for the game. “Man United mania” was alive and well in Chicago, building up to a sold-out attendance which did not happen on their last visit.

The front office of the Chicago Fire did a wonderful job to sell the game and gave the fans a spectacular time at the game and in the pre-game events and activities. Giveaways were abundant and it was hard not to come away with a sponsors T-shirt or bag or water bottle. It was clearly party time seeing England’s best come to Chicago to play the Fire on Lake Michigan.  Not only Man United fans responded but I saw more Fire fans show up for a game judging by crowd noise and team shirt wearing than this Fire season ticket holder has ever seen. While the weather was not the best (heavy rains and flooding in the early morning followed by steam bath conditions at game time) the fans were in a carnival mood by game time.  The home team responded with a great effort in the first half and held a 1-0 lead at half-time. The Fire’s poor MLS record seemed to be forgotten by all and Fire fans felt on top of the world at the end of the 45 minutes.

Eventually when Wayne Rooney and company became serious about the game, no one in the stands felt let down. It was a great show and well worth the ticket price.

I know the MUFC summer tour is designed to sell the Man United brand and plenty of shirts, but many people in Chicago and Fire fans in general came away with the feeling that Fire soccer, the MLS, and the game of world football was the real winner. The game story was the lead in the sports pages and a subject for conversation by many. I proudly put on my game purchased T-shirt the morning after and was greeted by more than one person wanting to know if I made it to the game.

Let me say this, I am not a Man United fan per-se but I have respected the job done by Sir Alex Ferguson to keep his team at the top. Seeing a team in person allows one to much better judge the coaching job and you have to be impressed by how Man United plays the game. They are professionals in every sense of the word.  Their movement on the field especially off the ball is the best I have seen, and I have seen in-person the national teams of United States, Mexico, Poland, England, Canada and more plus clubs including Real Madrid, AC Milan, Everton and Chivas of the Mexican League, not to mention various MLS squads. MUFC has earned my respect. None of which stopped me and a good portion of the stadium from booing Wayne Rooney when he tied the game in the second half.

Manchester United proved to be a better salesman then they could have imagined and coming immediately after the attention to the game of soccer in the US from the Women’s World Cup, the world’s game may be close to being a top draw in Chicago’s crowded sports market. Thank you for the visit and come again soon please. In the meantime soccer fans in Chicago, come out to Toyota Park and see the Fire and MLS.

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  1. Bruce Kopp

    July 29, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    Sat with my boys behind the goal where ManU poured in the three goals in the second half at Soldier Field. What an incredible day. What a perfect opportunity to see the dynasty in person after enjoying them on Fox Soccer Channel in the States. After the game, we went down to the field, watched Michael Owen, Nemanja Vidic and Rio Ferdinand working on agility drills, then Owen came over and signed autographs. My son got his ManU cap signed and an English fan wildly came over to us to show us his signed jersey. He posed for a photo with his tatooed bare back facing the camera, featuring the Manchester United logo covering his left shoulder blade. As good as it gets!

  2. Peter Grynch

    July 28, 2011 at 9:19 am

    Wow! I never realized Soccer could be so exciting! This guy really makes it come alive!!!

  3. Othniel John Conteh

    July 27, 2011 at 5:39 am

    We beat Chicago 3-1 yeah!!!!!!!!!!!

  4. Tater

    July 25, 2011 at 11:50 pm

    How a bunch of hacks like United could step foot on sacred ground of Soldier Field I will never know. Ferguson and Hernandez have officially soiled the best city in the US. As for your knowledge of the game, naming the national teams you have and the ones from the mexican league are not a good lister for your resume of understanding the game.

    • Othniel John Conteh

      July 27, 2011 at 5:51 am

      I dont think you have a clue about United mate. Ask the man next to you, I am sure he will be delighted to enlighten you about the greatest club in the world.

    • Lou Bruno

      July 27, 2011 at 3:11 pm

      Well my knowledge of the game may not be what it should. I’m a fan. However I have lived in Chicago for over 50 years been a Bears season ticket holder and seen those characters from the north called the Packers play more than once on the hollowed ground. Sir Alex is a great improvement over anything wearing a Packer uniform on the turf.

      • Tater

        July 28, 2011 at 5:08 pm

        I will concur with that statement all day long compatriot Bear fan.

  5. Dhanny Bhoy

    July 25, 2011 at 11:38 pm

    I have to disagree. The Fire had every chance to win, yet due to poor coaching and shoddy fundamentals, they let ManU back in the game. The atmosphere in the stands was great, and ManU did not disappoint, but the Fire did not put out the best advertisement for MLS. Having seen the same thing happen over and over again in league play, I’ve begun to expect them to fold. That’s not something I’d shell out $200 a year to see, and you can’t expect those new to the league would be queuing up for it either.

    • Lou Bruno

      July 27, 2011 at 3:07 pm

      Life for Fire fans has not been good the last two seasons and what you say about the Fire is true that they often crash and burn late in the game. I note your point well that MLS itself has not shown a lot by the result against MUFC but that’s not all what’s the tour is about. As I said the tour is about selling the Man U. brand and they did that well. On the other hand many American’s get to see the game’s best up close and can join in what we soccer fans are building in America.

  6. Lou Bruno

    July 25, 2011 at 12:20 pm

    When the sun went behind the clouds late in the first half a cheer went up. Aon gave out red towels to everyone entering and many where used to cover heads or dry oneself off. Most of the second half was played under a cloud covered sky and the quality of play seemed better. The game was originally scheduled for 7:00pm and should of been kept at that time but ESPN was calling the shots. The first half sun and heat was the only negative.

  7. MUFC77

    July 25, 2011 at 11:34 am

    It was a good game played in front of what looked like a packed stadium, I cant even begin to imagine what it was like to play in temperatures that high. The new guys Jones and De gea both did well especially after giving up a soft first goal. Good to see Rooney get another goal, hes looking sharp already which can only be thing starting the season.

    • Lou Bruno

      July 25, 2011 at 12:25 pm

      It was a full house. The last trip here there where empty seats.


    July 25, 2011 at 7:36 am

    That was a good turn around from the english side.. the game was worth watching and i know fans would have paid more to watch again if they told to do so….

  9. lukman yakubu

    July 25, 2011 at 6:56 am

    If wesley shneider can come down to Old Traford we will have no problem in the mid field.

  10. lukman yakubu

    July 25, 2011 at 6:48 am

    i am a man u fan i want Sir Alex faguson to sign Wesley Shneider he is a perfect replacement for Paul Schole.

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