We are all looking forward to the match in Salt Lake City
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New York, NY and Sandy, UT (Vocus) April 29, 2009
Major League Soccer announced today that legendary English Premier League side and current FA Cup finalists, Everton FC, will face the MLS All-Stars in the 2009 MLS All-Star Game at Rio Tinto Stadium, the home of Real Salt Lake, on Wednesday, July 29 (live on ESPN2 and TeleFutura at 9:30 p.m. ET). This midseason showcase will continue the theme of "MLS Takes on the World." The MLS All-Star team is 5-0 in previous All-Star Games against international opponents.
"We are very excited about Everton FC agreeing to be the opponent for the 2009 MLS All-Star Game," MLS Commissioner Don Garber said. "Everton is an elite European club that features many world-class players - including former MLS standout Tim Howard - who will challenge our unbeaten record against English Premier League teams in the MLS All-Star Game series. We're looking forward to seeing Tim back in action against many of his former MLS teammates, and providing our fans with another exciting All-Star matchup."
Everton FC, based in Liverpool, England, has one of the richest histories in English soccer. They have competed in the top division for a record 107 seasons, winning nine League championships. The club recently advanced to the prestigious FA Cup Final by defeating Manchester United in penalty kicks, and they will face current UEFA Champions League semifinalists Chelsea FC on May 30, attempting to win their third FA Cup Championship. Everton FC currently sit in sixth place in the English Premier League - two points behind fifth-place Aston Villa, six points ahead of Fulham and eight points ahead of 2008 All-Star opponent West Ham.
The Toffees, as they are known to their supporters, are led by U.S. National Team star, former MLS standout, and one of the top goalkeepers in Europe, Tim Howard. The team also boasts England National Team veteran Phillip Neville and a recent call-up to Fabio Capello's England side, Joleon Lescott. Among the club's international stars are Tim Cahill (Australia), Marouane Fellaini (Belgium), Louis Saha (France) and Joseph Yobo and Yakubu Aiyegbeni (Nigeria). Everton FC is managed by Scotland-born David Moyes.
"We are all looking forward to the match in Salt Lake City," said Everton Manager David Moyes. "I am sure there will be a lot of interest in the game and it will be a valuable part of our pre-season schedule. We always enjoy spending time in America during the summer because the facilities are first-class and there is a warm welcome wherever we go."
Howard, who made 12 saves in the 2001 All-Star Game and also played in the 2002 edition, said: "I can't wait to play the MLS All-Stars. I will doubtless know a few of the guys from the US team and I know full well that it will be a real test for us at that stage of our pre-season. The fans over there always enjoy watching English teams in action and I'm sure there will be a terrific atmosphere in the stadium."
Rio Tinto Stadium, a 20,000-seat soccer specific stadium and home to the MLS club Real Salt Lake, opened in October 2008 in Sandy, Utah. The stadium will host the League's 14th annual MLS All-Star Game, one of the League's premier events, for the first time. The stadium is the seventh soccer-specific stadium to be built in the United States and first to open since the Colorado Rapids' Dicks Sporting Goods Park and Toronto FC's BMO Field opened in 2007. The Rapids' home was the site of the 2007 MLS All-Star Game while last year's all-star game was hosted in downtown Toronto's BMO Field.
"Everton FC's inclusion as the 2009 MLS All-Star opponent completes the stellar lineup of world-class soccer at Rio Tinto Stadium this summer, bolstering the U.S. National Team visits," said SCP Worldwide Founder and RSL Owner Dave Checketts, referring to the May 23 U.S. Women's game vs. Japan and the U.S. Men's World Cup Qualifier on Sept. 5 vs. El Salvador. "We embrace the promise to our fans to deliver the best soccer the world has to offer on an annual basis, and the 2009 Rio Tinto Stadium lineup continues the storied list of teams that have visited Utah."
By hosting international opponents, MLS ensures the most competitive All-Star spectacle in American professional sports. The MLS All-Stars have won all five previous meetings, outscoring their opponents 13-4. Last year, the MLS All-Stars defeated English Premier League side West Ham United, 3-2, on goals from Chicago's Cuauhtemoc Blanco, D.C. United's Christian Gomez and Dwayne De Rosario, now with Toronto FC. Blanco received the game's Most Valuable Player award, and De Rosario's game winner sent the MLS All-Stars to victory in front of his hometown fans. In 2007, the MLS All-Stars defeated Scottish League powers Celtic FC 2-0 behind goals from New York Red Bulls striker Juan Pablo Angel and former FC Dallas midfielder Juan Toja.
In 2006, the MLS All-Stars defeated former Premier League Champions Chelsea FC, 1-0, on a goal by De Rosario. The 2005 event saw the MLS All-Stars defeat English Premier League club Fulham FC, 4-1, at Columbus Crew Stadium and in 2003, the MLS All-Stars downed storied Mexican club CD Guadalajara, 3-1, at The Home Depot Center with Carlos Ruiz capturing MVP honors.
Previous MLS All-Star games offered fans a variety of formats. On six occasions, All-Stars squads from the Eastern Conference and Western Conference have squared off. In 1998, the best players in the League faced each other in a USA vs. World format, while in 2002, the MLS All-Stars defeated the U.S. National Team 3-2 at RFK Stadium in a celebration of the national team's historic World Cup Quarterfinal finish.
All Real Salt Lake season ticket holders are assured of their current seats for the 2009 MLS All-Star Game, and have an exclusive window through Friday, May 1 to purchase additional All-Star tickets. Following the Saturday, May 2 launch of a pre-sale window for VISA cardholders and MLS "Friends and Family" (National MLS partners and other MLS team season-ticket holders), tickets go on sale to the general public on Saturday, May 9 at 10:00 a.m. via http://www.RioTintoStadium.com.
Ticket prices for the July 29 MLS All-Stars vs. Everton FC begin at $35 (North Goal, South Goal and Upper Deck), and continue at $45 (Corner Flag), $60 (Lower Sidelines), $105 (Front Row and Midfield) and $200 (Club Seats).
For more information, please visit http://www.RealSaltLake.com or http://www.RioTintoStadium.com. Special event credentials will be required for media wishing to cover this event. Media credential application information for the 2009 MLS All-Star game will be distributed at a later date.
This is the first time a marquee MLS event will be played in Utah. Ten different markets have hosted the MLS All-Star Game, but only three have hosted it twice - Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., and Columbus Crew Stadium in Columbus, Ohio.
ABOUT MAJOR LEAGUE SOCCER
Headquartered in New York City, Major League Soccer is the top-flight professional soccer league in the United States and Canada. MLS features many stars from the U.S., Canada, and around the world. MLS kicked off its 14th season on March 19, and will feature 15 teams each playing 30 regular season matches. They include Chicago Fire, Colorado Rapids, Chivas USA, Columbus Crew, D.C. United, FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, Kansas City Wizards, Los Angeles Galaxy, New York Red Bulls, New England Revolution, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes, Toronto FC and, in its inaugural season, Seattle Sounders FC. A Philadelphia expansion team will debut in 2010, while expansion teams in Vancouver and Portland will debut in 2011. For more information about MLS, log on to the League's official website at http://www.MLSnet.com.
About Rio Tinto Stadium
Rio Tinto Stadium is a state-of-the-art, sports and entertainment facility in Utah, providing a stunning new home for world-class events, one with breathtaking views of both the Oquirrh and Wasatch Mountain ranges. Rio Tinto Stadium opened its doors for the first time on Thursday, October 9, 2008, with Real Salt Lake Major League Soccer action televised before an international audience. The venue's first-ever concert event features legendary rockers the Eagles on May 9, 2009, with country music icon Kenny Chesney visiting the venue on July 23.
The Stadium, host of the 2009 MLS All-Star Game in late July and a United States Men's National Team FIFA World Cup Qualifier in early September, is a new class of venue in the Intermountain West, attracting events that would not otherwise visit Utah, bolstering the state's reputation as an international sports and entertainment destination. The diversity of events attracted to Rio Tinto Stadium brings significant media attention, positively impacts tourism efforts and creates numerous job opportunities on both permanent and seasonal bases. In March, 2008, the Stadium was recognized by Forbes.com as one of "10 New Super-Stadiums" in development worldwide.
Located in Sandy, Utah, at the heart of the Wasatch Front, Rio Tinto Stadium is conveniently accessed from major transportation arteries Interstate-15 as well State Street, between 9000 South and 9400 South. The venue resides just 15 minutes from downtown Salt Lake City and 25 minutes from SLC International Airport. The venue seats 20,008 people for various sporting events, including Real Salt Lake games, with capacity rising to 25,000 for concerts and other events. Stadium amenities include 32 luxury suites, a 2,000-square foot Stadium Club, 1,000 club seats, five locker rooms, a 60-foot Video Board, and ribbon LED boards on both the east and west fascia.
Will.Kuhns (at) MLSnet.com
Real Salt Lake Communications
TFitz (at) RealSaltLake.com
Everton FC Communications
Mark.Rowan (at) EvertonFC.com