In somewhat of a shock, simply because I live here and I never thought this would actually happen, Aston Villa has officially announced plans to visit Chicago in their preseason tour for a match against the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park. Being the lone representative of this site that lives in Chicago this is the second best thing that could happen to me regarding Villa, the first obviously being a game in person at Villa Park. The story was broken to me by my friends at Hot Time in Old Town, the SB Nation blog representing my hometown Chicago Fire.
UPDATE: To make the day even better, the news leaked out this morning that Villa is doing a three stop tour of the United States. They'll also be visiting Philadelphia to take on the Union and Portland to face off with the Timbers.
With Aston Villa hitting all three coasts (that's right, we have a big lake in Chicago) it is clear that Aston Villa Football Club loves us American Villans and wants us to be happy. For just a few minutes it's nice to put aside all the ill-will created by this season and enjoy the special chance to see our favorite club in cities near us. I hope everyone can get out in person to see the claret and blue this summer.
While I'm busy trying not to explode into six million tiny little pieces, please read the official release from the Chicago Fire below.
CHICAGO, IL (March 27, 2012) – The Chicago Fire Soccer Club announced Tuesday that the Fire will take on seven-time English Premier League Champions Aston Villa in an international friendly at Toyota Park on Saturday, July 21 at 7:30 p.m. CT.
Advance tickets for the Chicago Fire vs. Aston Villa match go on sale Tuesday, March 27 at 1:00 p.m. CT and are available by calling 888-MLS-Fire, by visiting Chicago-Fire.com or via Ticketmaster. The international friendly will serve as Bonus Game 1 in the Fire’s Season Ticket Package, and is also a part of the Ten Game Plan.
Aston Villa, one of the oldest and most successful clubs in English football history, will make their first trip to Chicago. Since its founding in 1874, Villa has amassed 19 major domestic honors, including seven English Premier League titles and seven FA Cups. The Villans also won the 1981-1982 European Cup. One of the founding members of the Premier League in 1992, Aston Villa has competed in the top flight of English soccer ever since.
This is the second consecutive year the Fire will host an English Premier League team. In 2011, the Fire took on famed English club Manchester United in front of a sell-out crowd of more than 61,000 soccer supporters at Soldier Field, scoring first before falling 3-1 to the eventual Premier League Champions. The Fire currently hold a 2-1 record against English Premier League foes, defeating Everton FC by a score of 2-0 in 2008, and Derby County 1-0 in 1999.
Aston Villa features two former Chicago Fire Premier players, goalkeeper Brad Guzan, originally from Homer Glenn, Ill. and defender Eric Lichaj, a product of Downers Grove, Ill.
This is the first meeting between the Fire and AVFC. Aston Villa is 2-0 in previous games against Major League Soccer teams, defeating Toronto FC 4-2 and the Columbus Crew 3-1 in 2007.
ABOUT CHICAGO FIRE SOCCER CLUB
Founded on the 126th anniversary of the Great Chicago Fire on October 8, 1997, the Chicago Fire Soccer Club enters its 15th Major League Soccer season. The Fire won the MLS Cup in its inaugural campaign in 1998 and was crowned champion of U.S. Soccer's national tournament, the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup, in 1998, 2000, 2003 and 2006. In June 2006, the Fire moved into its world-class home of TOYOTA PARK, located in Bridgeview, IL. For more information on the Chicago Fire, please visit the club’s official website at www.Chicago-Fire.com.