The Crew announced their summer friendly today. Stoke City of the English Premier League will come to Crew Stadium on Tuesday July 24th at 7:30 PM. Stoke City are the 2nd oldest club in England, founded in 1863. They have played in the Premier League since the 2009-10 season. Stoke has consistently finished mid-table since their return to the top flight, they are currently 14th and assured of another season in the EPL.
Stoke play a team defense first approach and then use a long ball offense that will be very familiar to Crew fans. The Potters, nearly bereft of star players, has had some recent success. They got to the final of the FA Cup last year, losing to Manchester City 1-0. The lanky English international Peter Crouch was the team's leading scorer with 14 goals in all competitions. Former Manchester United academy player Ryan Shawcross captains the team.
In the last five years, the Crew have brought in Aston Villa, Independiente, West Ham United, and Newcastle United for summer friendlies. The team stands at 9-4-2 all-time in international exhibitions. They are a respectable 2-3-2 in games that don't count against the EPL.
While the Crew likes the draw of an EPL team, the Stoke friendly is unlikely to move the needle with the casual soccer fan in Central Ohio. Given that they don't have a large American fan base, Stoke won't draw too many U.S. based supporters either. This may have been a time to break out of the mold and get a team from beyond England Bundesliga team Schalke played the Philadelphia Union yesterday. It would be refreshing to see a different style of play than the physical and athletic nature of the EPL.