Why You Should Care about the Man City vs. Chelsea F.C. Soccer Match at Busch Stadium

Categories: Baseball, Sports

Update: See photos from soccer at Busch Stadium.

The teams face off at 7:30 p.m., May 23rd at Busch Stadium.
Lately, the Premiership, or the Barclay's Premier League, or just the Premier League, has been called the world's "top league" -- mostly by players coming into the British league from France, Germany, Spain and yes, the United States. That's because in the twenty-team Premier League, play is faster, there are more games in quicker succession (they don't take the traditional Christmas holiday break) and, it's by far one of the most physical soccer leagues in the world.

On May 23, two of the league's top teams -- Manchester City and Chelsea F.C. -- are going to play an exhibition game at Busch Stadium. Here's why you should care about it.

Both teams have new, ultra-wealthy ownership -- City's Abu Dhabi-born Sheikh Mansour bin Zayed Al Nahyan took the reigns in 2008 and Chelsea's Roman Abramovich, the Russian oil-and-gas tycoon with alleged sketchy business dealings, took control of Chelsea in 2003.

Because of the fire hose of cash that's been sprayed at both teams for several seasons now, they are the target of resentment from the rest of English football, and for good reason. No one likes a team who buys victories, especially not St. Louisans, proud of our farm system and player development.

So why are the teams coming to the U.S.?

Each summer, many Premiership teams go on international tours -- Arsenal to China in 2012, Chelsea to the U.S. last year, Welsh team Swansea also to the States, and so on.

"We are honored to host this historic match," said Bill DeWitt III, President of the Cardinals in a statement on Friday. "This is a wonderful opportunity for St. Louisans to see some of the best soccer players in the world."

Here are Five Things You Should Know about these games:

Thumbnail image for juan-mata-chelsea-dot-com.jpg
Chelsea midfielder and Spanish national team player Juan Mata is having a break-out season for Chelsea since coming over last season.
5. Don't expect a full line-up of stars from each team.
You will see many familiar faces, but not all of them. For whatever reason -- holidays in Dubai, international commitments, seniority or contractual reasons -- expect to miss a few players you'd hope to see. The rosters for the tours are usually announced a few weeks ahead of the tour.

4. These games are generally a jog.
Like the NFL Pro-Bowl or the NBA All-Star game, the competition here just is not going to be what you'd expect in the stretch run any Premier League season, when teams are vying for the either a spot near the top or a spot that's not going to relegate them to a lower division. Few players will risk getting hurt over an exhibition game in St. Louis. However! If a new player makes an impact for either team, that could very well help his chances in making it to the first team when the season begins in late August.

3. This game should be worth your money
These exhibitions are still a spectacle. While the pace of the game may look like an MLS-level training session, you're still going to see some of the best players in the world show off their skills. Think of it like this: This game will be like seeing vintage Pujols during spring training. He's just warming up for what's ahead, but still flashing a little brilliance. For decades, St. Louis was known as a "soccer-mad" city -- some of the truth of that old cliche may shake out in the attendance.

2. Do these teams hate each other?
As storied rivalries go, no they do not. Chelsea's based in London, more than 200 miles south of Manchester, and approximately a million football clubs are located between the two. You will find the heated rivalries locally (like the Yankess-of-England Manchester United vs. their "noisy neighbors" City.) Instead, think of this game as the battle of the Big Money Teams, looking to expand their global brand. The local example of a global branding attempt would be the P.R. failure of Stan Kroenke's Rams playing the Patriots in London back in October. Then, those Rams visited with Kroenke's Premier League team, Arsenal.

1. Do I refer to this as a soccer or football game?
You are in America. We call it soccer. Calling it "football" anywhere near the stadium should and hopefully will get you beat up. In the rest of the world, vice-versa.

There's no guarantee any of the top players will make an appearance at Busch, but on the next page is a quick rundown of who to look for -- and a few memorable videos.

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egolterman topcommenter

Caring is a feeling. Journalism has deterriorated into 'feelings'. Who gets the ticket tax revenue? Who should get the ticket tax revenue? How much money does the City lose a year from for-admission events in Busch Stadium? Not just the Cardinals. All for-admission events .How much a year does the City lose from all the providers of musical and sports entertainment who strongarm the money out of weak politicans? When did this start? Between $25 million and $30 million a year. That's a lot of money that should be going to protecting people and property and to repair the City's  deterriorating infrastructure.

John L. Williams
John L. Williams

Perhaps we should change the rules to allow higher scoring games. We can make 1 goal worth multiple points. And we can cover the players in a ton of protective gear so they won't get hurt. Then we can have them just stand around for a few minutes "strategizing" before they actually play the game. Then we stop play after somebody falls down. Then they stand around for a few more minutes. It'll be the best thing ever! And I have the perfect name for it. Ready? "Football." No.....wait....that name is already taken.


This is the last time we ever speak, Nick Lucchesi.

Colin Busby
Colin Busby

This is going to be the best sporting event ever held at Busch. Pumped to have some real football in St. Louis. Just too bad it's not Tottenham.

Todd Williams
Todd Williams

I feel like I'm forced to want to because everyone is making a big deal out of it and there's a growing population of St. Louisans following soccer and using words like "match", "pitch", and the like to make the majority of non-soccer lovers to feel out of the loop (BTW it's pronounced "game" and "field"). I refuse to like it - it's boring, players flop around, and there's two goals a game. And would Manchester get excited if we sent the Cardinals and Cubs over for an exhibition baseball game? That's what this equates to.

Jeff Furlow
Jeff Furlow

Let me be the first to say no. Who cares?

Cary Aye
Cary Aye

I agree with you're not going to see many 1st team players in this match. That said, It should be a wonderful night out and nothing like an MSL training session. Either of these teams would rip a new asshole in any MSL team(even at the fitness they will be in here). Since my beloved Everton will not be one of the clubs, I wont be attending that night.

Jered Schneider
Jered Schneider

@Brian Chelsea won the CL last year, and Man City won the EPL. They are objectively 2 of the best teams in the world.

Brian Seim
Brian Seim

Why should I care about 2 over blown arrogant bring in Barca or Real Madrid....on a side subject, it is strange that the owner of the ST. Louis Rams would not bring in his own ARSENAL Gunners team...not sure how many know that he owns that premiere league team.

NickLucchesi moderator communitymanager

@Colin Busby I think you mean, "too bad it's not Tottenham losing." FTFY

NickLucchesi moderator communitymanager

@Todd Williams Todd, peer pressure is a real problem for billions of Americans. Good on you for not succumbing to it! Keep up the fight.

NickLucchesi moderator communitymanager

@Cary Aye The MLS has its fair share of excellent teams. The Galaxy -- even without Beckham -- immediately come to mind.

NickLucchesi moderator communitymanager

@Brian David Agreed regarding Kroenke, but that guy seems like one of the most hands-off owners in history. I think as long as the T-shirt sales are up year-over-year, and fans are in the seats at the Emirates, he's comfortable sitting back. Arsenal haven't played in the U.S. since 1989, before the formation of the Premier League:

There's always hope for this year, though.

As for Barca, see Chelsea's defeat of them in the Champions League semi's last year.

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