Ligue 1 may be primed to return to Audi Field this summer, as prominent French outlet L’Equipe is reporting that two yet-to-be-announced French clubs will join D.C. United and an unnamed Central American club for a summer friendly tournament. The report expects the tournament to be held in late July of this year.
Last year, the first-ever Ligue 1 Games tournament was held in July at Audi Field, with Olympique Marseille, Girondins de Bordeaux, AS Saint-Etienne, and Montpellier HSC participating. Following the conclusion of the friendly tournament, Marseille stuck around to play a friendly against United, clobbering a second-choice version of the Black-and-Red to the tune of an 8-1 scoreline. The creation of the Ligue 1 Games tournament came with an agreement between United and the Ligue de Football Professionel to hold this series at Audi Field for multiple years, though both sides have an opt-out clause.
When contacted by Black and Red United, D.C. United declined to comment on the L’Equipe report.
There are two potentially complicating factors as far as United participating in any extra games in late July. The 2020 U.S. Open Cup has already set up to hold either quarterfinal or semifinal games on July 14-15, and with United entering the tournament in the round of 32, it would take just two wins to possibly end up with a competitive fixture sandwiched between MLS regular season games on July 11 (at the Chicago Fire) and July 18 (home against the Montreal Impact).
The timing of the 2020 Leagues Cup may be an even more difficult competition to get around. Details for this year’s version have not been announced, but last year the tournament began on July 23. With this year’s edition featuring an expanded 16-team field, there is at least some chance that there could be a clash of dates. United qualified for the MLS/Liga MX joint tournament by virtue of their 5th place finish in the East last year.
Adding further potential obstacles, the knockout portion of the Concacaf Nations League takes place in early June, narrowing the options for when the first round of the Leagues Cup could reasonably be held without forcing club teams to participate without their national team-caliber players.
In addition to their games at Chicago and against Montreal, United’s regular season schedule for this rough window includes a July 25 match on the road against Toronto FC, and an August 1 home game against the Columbus Crew.