CHICAGO (AP) — The next stop on Manchester United's U.S. tour is a match against the Chicago Fire. The Premier League giants also will be trying to beat the heat.
With temperatures hovering near the 100-degree (38 Celsius) mark as the team arrived at its hotel in downtown Chicago on Thursday, United manager Alex Ferguson said his players will be tested in Saturday's friendly at Soldier Field — and not just by their opponents.
"We've come from the nice, cool atmosphere in Seattle to a furnace," Ferguson said.
Fire interim coach Frank Klopas joked that he was going to find a way to turn up the heat even more for Saturday's game.
If the staggering heat and humidity keep up, Ferguson said he might make some adjustments.
"In the game itself, we'll have to make the appropriate changes," Ferguson said. "Probably quite a few at halftime, and some beyond in the second half."
While the temperatures were cooler in Seattle, the Premier League champions still managed to roast their hosts. Wayne Rooney scored three times as United routed the Seattle Sounders 7-0 in a friendly Wednesday night.
Sounders coach Sigi Schmid apologized to fans after the game, but Ferguson said the lopsided score wasn't a fair indication of the way the Sounders played. United led 1-0 at halftime and both teams made substitutions — including Rooney, as United had the luxury of bringing one of the world's best players off the bench.
Ferguson said it was just one of those games where almost everything United tried found its way into the back of the net. He gently chided United player Michael Owen, who was sitting next to him in the news conference, for missing a scoring chance in the game.
"We didn't miss many, apart from Michael's," Ferguson joked.
While it wasn't much of a game in the second half, Ferguson said he loved the atmosphere generated by Seattle fans — who managed to mingle with United fans in the stands, something that wouldn't likely happen at home.
"So far, the atmosphere of the stadiums has been fantastic," Ferguson said. "Yesterday in Seattle was absolutely wonderful. The great thing for me was supporters mixing with one another. It was a throwback to the old days, really. Now we have segregation (between home and away fans) in English grounds, which makes a total difference."