For the third year running, D.C. United will play an international friendly against Sweden's Malmo FF during their preseason as a part of a partnership between Major League soccer and IMG. United, along with six other Major League Soccer teams, will spend part of their preseason at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, Florida, as part of a one year deal which IMG hopes to grow. The list of currently confirmed teams include most of the Eastern Conference, with United, the Chicago Fire, the Columbus Crew, the New England Revolution and the New York Red Bulls all already signed up. The teams will be at the IMG Academy from January 26 through February 14, after which D.C. United will return to Washington briefly before heading to Charleston for the Carolina Challenge Cup.
IMG hopes to bring two more MLS clubs to Florida, as well as more international clubs against which these teams can play. Targets include teams from Iceland, Sweden, Russia, and from Asia as IMG Worldwide attempts to make Bradenton a destination for teams on their winter breaks. For example, Andy Najar first joined Anderlecht when they were in their winter break training camp in Turkey. And, in a boon for soccer nerds everywhere, all of these preseason games will be streamed live. Between the proposed Indonesian tour and these preseason friendlies, that lonely time without MLS grows ever smaller.
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