Thursday night’s match between defending UEFA Champions League winner Inter Milan and FC Dallas has to rank up there with the biggest matches in Dallas soccer history.
The contest will allow Schellas Hyndman’s club to measure themselves against the best of the best in what is the final match of Inter’s 2010 American Tour.
“I think it’s fantastic," the FCD manager said. "I really want to show appreciation to our ownership for making this game a possibility and now a fact. They’re bringing their full team with them, so it’s going to be an opportunity to see some wonderful players in the international players—players that we’ve followed through television and magazines."
The Nerazzurri come off a 3-2 loss to Greek side Panathinaikos on Tuesday night in Toronto, with Samuel Eto’o and up-and-comer Phillipe Coutinho getting the goals for Inter. On Sunday, the Italian side kicked off their American tour with a 3-0 win over Manchester City of England in Baltimore.
Earlier this week, Hyndman said that his lineup will be 85 percent starters, including, most likely, center back Ugo Ihemelu. No stranger to marquee games, Ihemelu played in a friendly against Real Madrid back when he was with the LA Galaxy.
"[The Inter game] should be a good turnout," Ihemelu said. "It should just be a fun game. They beat Man City fairly easily. It’s definitely not going to be an easy game but it’s a game to go out there and play with some intensity.”
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With a game-time temperature that could reach the century mark, Hyndman will be watching his players carefully to make sure that intensity doesn't go too high. FCD host the Philadelphia Union on Sunday afternoon, when Dallas will put their 8-match unbeaten run on the line.
“I said to the players, if we’re going to win a game, let’s win on Sunday," he said. "That’s where my priorities are and that’s where I want my players’ priorities to be. We can do a lot for FC Dallas internationally if we play Inter Milan well, but what does that mean? At the end of the day, we’re trying to get into the MLS playoffs. Once we get into the playoffs, we can focus on the championship."