Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas will provide Stoke City’s opposition when they head Stateside, for the second successive year, to prepare for the 2013-14 campaign.
Here we take a closer look at the two MLS clubs and what’s in store for the Potters.
STOKE CITY already boast links with pre-season opponents Houston Dynamo and FC Dallas after raiding both clubs to strengthen their first team squad.
Geoff Cameron forged his considerable reputation in his home country with Houston before moving ‘across the pond’ last summer to fulfil his Premier League dream at the Britannia Stadium.
He was joined by US international team-mate Brek Shea during the January transfer window as his four-year spell with Houston’s Texan rivals Dallas came to an end.
Both men will no doubt relish the opportunity to return to familiar territory as City’s build-up to the new season gathers pace with the 10-day trans-Atlantic trip.
Houston, who will provide the opposition on July 24th, are currently third in the MLS Eastern Conference behind Montreal Impact and the New York Red Bulls.
Founded in 2005 (although they were initially known as Houston 1836); they won the MLS Cup in 2006 and 2007 and in each of the last two years have won the MLS Eastern Conference play-offs.
They play at the 22,039-capacity BBVA Compass Stadium and manager Dominic Kinnear’s squad includes former Derby and West Brom midfielder Giles Barnes.
Barnes bagged a late equaliser against the Colorado Rapids on Sunday as Houston extended their unbeaten home run to 36 matches in all competitions.
Dallas, who will face Stoke on July 27th, are currently riding high in the MLS Western Conference, six points clear of their closest challengers LA Galaxy.
They were originally known as Dallas Burn when they were founded in 1996 and have competed in the MLS since its inception in the same year.
The club is renowned for its youth and academy system and currently has six home-grown players in boss Schellas Hyndman’s squad, including 2011 FIFA Under-17 World Cup winning goalkeeper Richard Sanchez.
They are unbeaten this season at their 20,500-capacity FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco – one of the first soccer specific stadiums to be built in the US. They drew 2-2 Vancouver Whitecaps last weekend.
Incidentally, Dallas and Houston went head-to-head in a Texan ‘derby’ in March. Dallas ran out 3-2 winners and, in the process, reclaimed the the 19th-century Mountain Howitzer cannon which is presented to the winning team.