Soccer fans in the Twin Cities had a jolt of excitement on Tuesday when ESPN.com reported that the International Champions Cup — featuring Real Madrid, Liverpool, Manchester United, Manchester City, AC Milan, Inter Milan, Roma and Olympiakos — would have a match in Minneapolis this summer.
The story said Minneapolis was among the “confirmed host cities,” as did Manchester City’s website.
Great, right? Those are eight of the most storied clubs in the world, and a match of that magnitude in Minnesota would be a big deal. No specifics — matchup, date or even specific location — were given, but those details would certainly emerge, right?
There was only one problem as the afternoon progressed: None of the local venues that could conceivably play host to such an event had much knowledge of it.
Our first call went out to the U, since TCF Bank Stadium can be used for soccer and has the largest capacity of any sports venue in the state now that the Metrodome is no longer playable. But an athletics spokesman confirmed the match “definitely isn’t” at TCF Bank Stadium.
Next, we reached out to Twins President Dave St. Peter. While Target Field can accommodate soccer and would like to play host to a match at some point, he said via e-mail there are “currently no plans for soccer at Target Field in 2014” and that the Champions Cup would be “a long shot based on limited available dates,” mostly because of the All-Star Game. He did add, “I’d be surprised if soccer wasn’t played at Target Field at some point in 2015-16.”
But that doesn’t help with 2014, unless that long shot is in fact a reality. Next, a spokesman from the National Sports Center in Blaine said he hadn’t heard anything about the event.
So what we’re left with is essentially confusion and the suspicion that Minneapolis perhaps wound up on a list by mistake. The tournament’s official Twitter feed lists Phoenix, Denver, Washington D.C., Charlotte, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Chicago, New York/New Jersey “and 2 additional venues” as host markets.
What we know for now is that the tournament starts July 26, and the championship game is Aug. 4 in Miami.