UPDATE II: According to @JoshuaMayers, the games before and after the Manchester United match will also be played on the temporary grass surface. The means Colorado Rapids on July 16 and Philadelphia Union on July 23.
UPDATE: It has been confirmed by a Sounders official that the game will be played on grass. The Sounders also brought in a temporary grass surface when Barcelona and Chelsea visited in 2009.
The long-rumored friendly against Manchester United has been made official. The Seattle Sounders will play the Red Devils at Qwest Field on July 20, a team release announced:
"Our fans deserve the best and we have provided a blockbuster match," Sounders majority owner Joe Roth said. "Manchester United is perhaps the most popular team on the planet and certainly one of most successful. Yet on this summer night the loudest roars of the crowd will be saved for the home side, Sounders FC. I imagine people from throughout the West will descend upon Seattle to see this match."
The scheduling of the Red Devils fulfills the Sounders' promise to bring in a "top 5" club for this summer's friendly, and will be the 18th game in the season-ticket package. Qwest's capacity will be expanded to included all of the upper bowl. Last year, there was a fair bit of controversy when the season-ticket package included three friendlies, none of whom carried the cachet of United. As a result, games against Boca Juniors, Celtic and Chivas de Guadalajara drew much smaller crowds than when the Sounders played against Barcelona and Chelsea in 2009.
Tickets for the game are currently available as part of a three-game package that also includes games against the New York Red Bulls (June 23) and the San Jose Earthquakes (Oct. 15). Individual-game tickets for the United match will go on sale to the public on June 1.
United is undoubtedly one of the most successful and famous clubs in the world, having most recently won three straight EPL titles from 2007-09 and becoming the first English side to win a European champions, most recently winning the Champions League in 2008. Among the players that are expected to make the U.S. trip are English national team members Wayne Rooney and defender Rio Ferdinand; other accomplished internationals such as Dimitar Berbatov (Bulgaria), Nani (Portugal), Nemanja Vidic (Serbia), Patrice Evra (France), Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez (Mexico); and legendary midfielder Ryan Giggs, the most decorated player in English history.
This will actually be United's third visit to Seattle, but the first they will be playing against the MLS version of the Sounders. The Red Devils played at Qwest Field in 2003 against Scotland's Celtic and played the NASL Sounders in 1982, a game Seattle won 3-0.