News broke today that English Premier League outfit West Bromwich Albion will play a series of preseason friendlies in the U.S., including a July 15 match against Orlando City in the Citrus Bowl.
This will be the first meeting between the two clubs, though the teams won't be totally unfamiliar with each other. West Brom's manager is none other than Tony Pulis, father of former Orlando midfielder and current Orlando City youth coach Anthony Pulis.
"Orlando will be an especially tough game for us," said the senior Pulis. "We played them when I was with Stoke, but they've now become an MLS side so they play to a very high standard themselves."
The Baggies will play two more matches in the U.S. following the Orlando friendly, visiting USL sides Charleston Battery and Richmond Kickers. Unlike some clubs that visit the U.S., where the motivation seems purely financial, Pulis sees additional value in playing preseason matches in the States:
"We're going to States because the opposition is strong but also because the players will have to work in heat and humidity, which will make it more beneficial for their fitness."
It may not have the panache of the Manchester City friendly that the Houston Dynamo just landed for May 28, but West Brom has been a decent side this season. They were the first team outside the relegation zone in 2013-14, but they've managed to climb to a respectable 13th place this year. With former Manchester United stalwart Darren Fletcher as captain, occasional England keeper Ben Foster in net, and Joleon Lescott on the back line, the Baggies have a handful of players that casual American fans may recognize.
It's a midweek fixture for the Lions, who will take on the New York Red Bulls in the Citrus bowl just three days later. Though not yet announced by City, we assume this will be the second of the three non-MLS matches that have been promised to Orlando City season ticket holders in 2015.
The friendly match against West Bromwich Albion will take place on Wednesday, July 15 (Time TBA), in the Citrus Bowl in Orlando.