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Manchester United vs. Chicago Fire kick-off moved to 4:00 PM; FC Barcelona to play Club America and CD Guadalajara in World Football Challenge

Soldier Field: Now with more 4:00 PM on Saturday, July 23, 2011.
Soldier Field: Now with more 4:00 PM on Saturday, July 23, 2011.

The kick-off time for the Manchester United vs. Chicago Fire game at Soldier Field has been switched from 7:00 PM CST to 4:00 PM CST. I'm not sure I like that change for a game scheduled on Saturday, July 23. Major League Soccer tries to avoid day summer games for a reason. The organizers of the World Football Challenge were the ones that ordered the switch. The Chicago Fire, MLS, and the World Football Challenge have botched the announcement of the time change so far. More on this and FC Barcelona, Club America, and CD Guadalajara joining the World Football Challenge after the break.

At 7:02 AM CST, Major League Soccer sent out a press release this morning announcing that FC Barcelona will take on Chivas on Wednesday, August 3 at Sun Life Stadium in Miami, FL (8:00 p.m. ET) and then move on to Texas to face Club America on Saturday, August 6 at Cowboys Stadium (4:00 p.m. ET). This game is in addition to the previously announced World Football Challenge match against Manchester United on Saturday, July 30 in the Washington D.C. area. The release also teased that 'the balance of CD Guadalajara and Club America's participation in the challenge will be announced soon'. The full World Football Challenge schedule was listed in a table (bolding and italics is theirs):

As of May 9, 2011
Date Game Venue City Time (ET)
July 13 NE Revolution vs. Manchester United Gillette Stadium Foxboro, MA 8:00 p.m.
July 16 LA Galaxy vs. Real Madrid LA Memorial Coliseum Los Angeles, CA 10:00 p.m.
July 18 Vancouver Whitecaps FC vs. Manchester City Empire Field Vancouver, BC 10:00 p.m.
July 23 Chicago Fire vs. Manchester United Soldier Field Chicago, IL 5:00 p.m.
July 30 FC Barcelona vs. Manchester United FedEx Field Landover, MD 7:00 p.m.
Aug. 3 FC Barcelona vs. CD Guadalajara Sun Life Stadium Miami, FL 8:00 p.m.
Aug. 6 FC Barcelona vs. Club America Cowboys Stadium Arlington, TX 4:00 p.m.

There it was listed. Chicago Fire vs. Manchester United was now at 4:00 PM CST. The Fire sent out their daily notes and posted them on the website around 1:30 PM CST. The Manchester United game time change is buried in the notes (bolding and italics is theirs):


Tickets are officially on-sale for the Chicago Fire – Manchester United match at Soldier Field and are available by calling 1-888-MLS-FIRE, or via Ticketmaster. The Fire will take on the English Premier League leaders and UEFA Champions League Semifinalists at Soldier Field on Saturday, July 23 at 4:00 p.m. CT as part of the World Football Challenge. The organizers of the World Football Challenge have moved the kickoff time from 7:00 p.m. CT to 4:00 p.m. CT.

On the one hand, I want to give credit to the Chicago Fire for listing this item third in the weekly notes. The game against Toronto FC and the training times for this week are more important for the team competitively than the friendly wrapped in World Football Challenge clothing that the Manchester United game is. I also want to sympathize with the team front office because I think the World Football Challenge people might have swept the rug from under their feet with the time change. I'm curious to see how this whole operation plays out. So far, color me skeptical.