Well, it appears there will be more friendly fun at Toyota Park this season after all.
The Chicago Fire will play host to Mexican Clausura Champions Club Santos Laguna on Saturday, September 8 at Toyota Park.
The Fire have managed to play a number of Mexican League clubs over the years. They played host to Chivas de Guadalajara last season, and in years past have brought Club America, Cruz Azul, CD Toluca and UNAM Pumas to Chicago for exhibition matches as well as playing away to Veracruz back in 2008. They've also squared off against Monarcas Morelia, Pumas, San Luis and Tigres UANL in previous Superliga competitions.
The Santos Laguna roster includes one United States Men's National Team player in striker Herculez Gomez, who was named to the country's 2010 World Cup roster.
Please see the club's official press release after the break:
CHICAGO, Ill. (July 25, 2012) - The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced Wednesday that the Fire will welcome four-time Mexican Primera División champions, Club Santos Laguna to Toyota Park for an international friendly on Saturday, Sept. 8 at 7:30 p.m. CT.
Advance tickets for the first meeting between the Chicago Fire and Santos Laguna go on sale Wednesday, July 25 at 10:00 a.m. CT and are available by calling 888-MLS-Fire or by visitingwww.chicago-fire.com. The international friendly will serve as Bonus Game 2 in the Fire Season Ticket and Ten Game packages.
Reigning Clausura Champions Santos Laguna have captured four titles in Mexico's Primera División, most recently defeating Monterey 3-2 on aggregate to capture the 2012 tournament. Santos Laguna has experienced success in the CONCACAF region as well. The Albiverdes placed second in the 2011/12 CONCACAF Champions League. Santos Laguna were also crowned champions of the inaugural 2004 InterLiga tournament, the tournament between Mexican clubs to determine qualifying spots for the Copa Libertadores.
For the second consecutive year, the Fire will welcome a Mexican opponent to Toyota Park. In 2011, the Fire took on Chivas de Guadalajara in front of a crowd of more than 18,000. A 61st minute goal by Jorge Mora would prove the difference as Chivas de Guadalajara escaped with a 1-0 victory.
Santos Laguna's roster currently boasts star goalkeeper and Mexican international Oswaldo Sánchez, a three-time FIFA World Cup veteran. U.S. international forward Hercules Gomez tallied five goals in 12 appearances for the Torreon side. Gomez appeared in three games for the United States Men's National Team at the 2010 FIFA World Cup and spent six years plying his trade in MLS with the LA Galaxy, Colorado Rapids and Kansas City Wizards.
This is the second international friendly scheduled for the Fire this season. The Men in Red hosted English Premier League side Aston Villa in a match Presented by TrueCar at Toyota Park on Saturday, July 21.
Our general consensus is that this is a good move for the Men in Red to bring in an established Mexican club that is known for their play on the field more than just their name (*cough*Chivas*cough*). What are everyone else's thoughts?