AS Roma were booked to come over to North America to take on the MLS All Star squad on July 31st in Kansas City so it is no surprise that they are adding further matches to their trip. Big European clubs routinely come to this part of the world for their preseason training and a number of exhibition matches. Some of the games are against other clubs who happen to be spending preseason in North America, some are meaningless All Star games, and of course some are the always worthwhile mid-season friendlies involving MLS teams. It looks like Roma will be busy this summer getting in all three types of matches as they are reportedly set to add a friendly against Toronto FC and a game against Chelsea to go along with that All Star game.
The Toronto FC friendly is not confirmed yet as that will not come until the club makes a "Special Announcement' in the heart of Toronto's Little Italy community on Wednesday afternoon. That is not stopping outlets on both sides of the Atlantic from reporting the matchup though which kind of spoils the whole special part of the announcement.
The following is from a Gazzetta Giallo Rossa from Monday evening:
Squadra che da fine luglio ai primi di agosto sarà in America in tournee per alcune amichevoli: la prima contro l'All-Star Game della Mls (31 luglio a Kansas City, poi tappa a Boston), la seconda quasi certamente a Toronto contro la squadra di casa (Toronto FC), mentre per l'ultima che si potrebbe disputare a New York, Washington o Baltimora si sta attendendo la risposta del Chelsea di Mourinho.
It does not take a whole lot of translation skill to be able to tell what the general thrust of that paragraph is and though they do not provide the date for the game between TFC and Roma they do report it as part of the plans for the summer tour.
Looking at Toronto's schedule around the All Star game there really is not a whole lot of open space that jumps out as being a good time for playing a pointless friendly against a visiting European club. The August 7th date that is being reported by Sportsnet.ca falls right in between a pair of matches as Toronto takes on the New England Revolution on August 4th and the Seattle Sounders on the 10th. Adding a match against Roma in between would make for a very busy week for the club.
The Sportsnet article also suggests that the game will take place at BMO Field which is probably wise as it is unlikely that Roma will draw the large numbers that came out to see Toronto play Liverpool at the Dome last season. TFC has turned summer friendlies into a bit of a summer tradition but as the team struggles to perform in MLS play many fans have begun to voice discontent over the clubs choice to put meaningless friendlies seemingly ahead of getting results.
TFC will probably charge an arm and a leg for tickets to the game and draw a decent crowd but for many fans that will be beside the point. The appeal that surrounded earlier friendlies against the likes of Real Madrid is long gone for a lot of fans who are sick of all the distractions and the lack of results.
For those interested in going out to see AS Roma play in Toronto it will be great but it would be even better if they were playing another team involved in preseason rather than taking on TFC in the middle of a busy summer schedule when the team will already have to deal with losing players to the Gold Cup for a good chunk of July.