The New York Red Bulls announced on Thursday that the club will be participating in the 2011 Emirates Cup, a weekend-long friendly tournament hosted by Arsenal FC at the Emirates Stadium in London. The competition, to be held on the last weekend in July, will be Thierry Henry's second return to face his former club after a first return in 2010 with Barcelona.
While the focus will certainly be on Arsenal's record goalscorer, New York's participation in the competition is also significant for the Red Bulls and for Major League Soccer. After proving their mettle with good performances against Tottenham Hotspur and Manchester City in the Barclays New York Challenge last season, the Red Bulls have another opportunity to test themselves against two top European clubs this summer. An invitation to participate in one of the top pre-season tournaments for European clubs also shows the growing profile of the Red Bulls and Major League Soccer.
The Red Bulls will kick off the four-match tournament with an 9 AM Eastern time start against Paris Saint-Germain on Saturday, July 30, before taking on Arsenal in an 11:20 AM kickoff the following day. The fourth team involved in the competition is Argentine giant Boca Juniors.