It’s Sister Cities Week at Toyota Park as three teams will descend on Bridgeview and join the Chicago Fire for matches on Wednesday and Saturday night. Wednesday is the beginning of a two-week span featuring four Fire home matches, three against top European clubs and a Brimstone Cup clash with FC Dallas sandwiched in between.
The four European sides visiting Chicago this month had mixed fortunes in their last day of league play this weekend. Here’s a recap of how Paris Saint-Germain, Legia Warsaw, and Red Star Belgrade fared this weekend.
PSG started the Ligue 1 season strong, racking up a 3-0-1 record in their first four matches back in August, but their end of season form was less than desirable. Les Rouge-et-Bleu failed to win a league match since a 3-1 win over Bordeaux on April 10, going 0-3-3 to end Le’Championnat.
The French capital club closed out the league season last Saturday, falling 3-1 to Montpellier at the club’s Parc des Princes home. PSG found themselves down 3-0 after 58 minutes, but pulled a goal back when Mevlut Erding scored his 15th goal of the campaign. The strike placed Erding third overall in the league’s goal scoring table.
In the face of league adversity, the club’s cup form was stellar, running through four rounds before downing AS Monaco 1-0 in the Coupe de France final. Scheduled to appear for PSG in this week’s tournament, Guillaume Hoarau’s 107th minute strike was the difference in the final. PSG’s eight French Cup titles rank second overall, only trailing the club’s bitter rivals, Olympique Marseille who have earned 10.
The 2009-10 Polish Ekstraklasa ended in bitter disappointment for Legia, who needed a win and a loss by Ruch Chorzow to finish third and qualify for next season’s UEFA Europa League. Ruch did their part, laying a 3-0 egg away to Korona Kielce, but Legia couldn’t hold up their end of the bargain, drawing 2-2 at home with Belchatow.
Taking a 1-0 lead into the half following midfielder Maciej Iwanski’s 20th minute goal, the Legioniści found itself behind after surrendering goals in the 55th and 81st minutes.
Iwanski, who will appear in Chicago this week, brought the club back level two minutes later but they couldn’t complete the comeback, finishing the match 2-2 and one point outside of European qualification. Next season will be the first campaign the club has failed to qualify for continental competition since 2003-04.
Red Star Belgrade
Cervena Zvezda will enter Wednesday’s Sister Cities’ semifinal against Legia Warszawa on a high note, winning their final league game 1-0 away to Spartak Subotica.
Serbian international Dejan Lekic’s 9th minute goal was all Red Star needed in the victory, but the club was destined to finish second in the Serbian table with or without the three points as rivals Partizan had already clinched the league title.
Red Star come to Chicago with one championship under their belt this season, winning the Serbian Cup final 3-0 over Vojvodina Novi Sad back on May 5. The game’s three goal scorers, Serbians Aleksandar Jevtic, Milos Trifunovic and Brazilian midfielder Cadu are all set to appear for the legendary club this week in Chicago.
Though they stumbled towards the end of the Serie A campaign, the Rossoneri’s quality shined through on the last day, getting the required three points in a 3-0 win over Juventus at the San Siro on Saturday.
Luca Antonini’s 14th goal gave Milan the lead they needed before two goals from Chicago-bound Ronaldinho in the 28th and 67th minutes but the match out of reach.
The win marks the first time Milan has swept Juventus since 1991, and firmly in third place, qualifies the Rossoneri for the Champions League yet again.