Man City coming to meet Whitecaps

BOB MACKIN, QMI AGENCY

, Last Updated: 8:46 PM ET

A familiar foe is coming to Empire Field and it’ll be free for Vancouver Whitecaps season ticket holders.

The English Premier League’s Manchester City, which faces Manchester United in Saturday’s F.A. Cup semifinal, will meet the 'Caps July 18.

“For our first international match in MLS, we didn’t just want to play anyone, and felt it needed to be a club of significance, a club with history and a club that’s currently in good form,” said 'Caps president Bob Lenarduzzi.

The Blues are winless in their previous four Vancouver visits. They lost 5-2 to Scotland’s Hearts in 1958 and had a scoreless 1968 draw with Dunfermline. Lenarduzzi scored once for the NASL Whitecaps in a 5-0 1980 win. The clubs drew 1-1 in a 1981 rematch.

A temporary grass field will be installed over the existing synthetic turf for the match and a prior meeting with Real Salt Lake. The sod will be removed for installation at a to-be-determined site. Chief executive Paul Barber defended the labour and energy-intensive plan.

“If you want to attract the best teams in the world then we’ve got to actually find the facilities for them to play on,” he said. “Manchester City is used to playing on grass.”

Tickets, expected to be around $60, will go on sale at a later date.

bob.mackin@sunmedia.ca


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