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AC Milan vs. Manchester United: California Dreamin’



Following two weeks of absolute turmoil at the club and with no one officially hired to replace Fassone and Mirabelli, our squad face the daunting task of focusing enough to play football again. After winning their friendly 2-0 on Friday vs. Serie B side Novara, the guys hopped on two planes to get to Los Angeles and have been maintaining a schedule that is difficult for even the most fervent fans to successfully stalk them. Not that I would ever do that, but how often do they come to Los Angeles? It’s been nine years since they were last here, so of course I’ve been stalking them. You, know, for all of you fans worldwide. Anyway, Wednesday night, at a stadium just 20 minutes away from my house, they will take on one of those English teams that Americans know the name of but have never actually seen them play. And I will be there. Will Milan win? Probably not. But who cares? I’m just California dreamin’.

California Dreamin'

What you need to know about Manchester United… they are coached by ex-Inter boss Jose Mourinho, who talks about himself in the third person and thinks he’s really special or something. Pretty sure I will have a few chants for him. And with any luck, I’ll make him cry. Other than that… Manchester United finished second in the Premier League, runners up in the FA Cup, got to the round of 16 in the Champions League. Basically, they won nothing last season. So they will be motivated to try to win the International Champions Cup trophy so Mourinho can stop crying himself to sleep every night. I hate watching men cry so much.

More emotional than a pregnant woman on estrogen

Both teams will be without most of their players who played in the World Cup still, but Mourinho has called up the following squad for this tournament:

Goalkeepers: Sergio Romero, Joel Pereira, Lee Grant
Defenders: Antonio Valencia, Matteo Darmian, Diogo Dalot, Timothy Fosu-Mensah, RoShaun Williams, Chris Smalling, Eric Bailly, Axel Tuanzebe, Demetri Mitchell, Luke Shaw
Midfielders: James Garner, Ander Herrera, Andreas Pereira, Scott McTominay, Ethan Hamilton
Forwards: Tahith Chong, Angel Gomes, Juan Mata, Anthony Martial, Mason Greenwood, Joshua Bohui, Alexis Sanchez

They have been in the U.S. longer than Milan, having played Club America to a riveting 1-1 draw in Arizona last Thursday. They also played MLS side San Jose Earthquakes on Sunday, to an even more enthralling 0-0 draw. So they will be looking to draw first blood with a victory on U.S. soil against Milan. Whatever. Mourinho is still an Interista, so will always be a loser, no matter what the scoreboard says.

We're not smiling, Capitano

As if all of the turmoil in ownership and management wasn’t enough to distract the players, it seems only a matter of time and details before Bonucci leaves Milan. You know, that guy that held the team together last year? Our singular World Class player and the man we entrusted with the captain’s armband? Don’t get me started. I will give him a proper tongue lashing for all of you when I see him. But that’s not the only drama. Now Gattuso’s job is in question, with that creepy-mercenary-hair transplant-guy-that-demands-really-high-salaries linked with the Milan bench. Which is seriously lame, because Gattuso has all of the same grinta and the ability to put the fear of god into the players, but is also Milan nel cuore, and still has all of his own hair. But you know that he will give everything he has to Milan until they are stupid enough to try to drag him out of the club, kicking and screaming. They don’t call him Ringhio for nothing.

But I digress. Aside from these incredible distractions and training in the 100°F+ (38°C) California heat while still jet-lagged, our guys have a game to play. And these are the players Gattuso has called up for the tournament:

Goalkeepers: Donnarumma A., Donnarumma G., Reina
Defenders: Abate Antonelli, Bellodi, Bonucci, Calabria, Musacchio, Rodriguez*,
Midfielders: Bertolacci, Bonaventura, Brescianini, Calhanoglu, Halilovic, Kessie, Locatelli, Mauri, Torrasi
Forwards: Borini, Cutrone, Kalinic, André Silva*, Suso, Tsadjout

*These players are supposed to be joining the team later this week after their post-World Cup vacations, so will not be available for this match.


The Devils brought a hellish heat with them
I honestly don’t care what the final score is, I feel so lucky just to be going to the game. I feel lucky that the players are here and doing their best to keep it together with their whole world crumbling around them. I hate Manchester United, the way you know you hate liver and onions without even trying them. But as long as they don’t injure any of my players, I will tolerate them for 90 minutes and try to be respectful. Except for Mourinho, I’ve got eight years of pent up rival anger to serve to him. But I’ll probably be too starstruck by all of our players to worry about that old crybaby. Because my team have come to my town, and I get to watch a version of them play under the California stars. I can’t think of anything more magical than that. California dreamin’.


This post inspired by the Mamas and the Papas’ “California Dreamin’”


AC Milan vs. Manchester United
Wednesday, July 25th • 8:00pm PDT (Thursday, July 26 • 5:00am CEST)
at the StubHub Center in Los Angeles, CA, USA
This match will be shown LIVE on ESPN in the U.S.