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 Posted by ESPN Staff
May 10, 2007

Crew to play Villa in exhibition

COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Columbus Crew will play a July 28 game against Aston Villa, the English soccer club owned by Cleveland Browns owner Randy Lerner.

The game, to be played at Crew Stadium, will be Columbus' 11th international exhibition, a Crew said in a statement Thursday.

Birmingham-based Aston Villa is now 11th in the 20-team Premier League with an 11-10-16 record. The team features defender Gareth Barry, who was named to England's national squad Thursday.

Aston Villa is also scheduled to play at Toronto FC on July 25. The club, which Lerner bought in September, was established in 1874 and hasn't won the English league title since 1981.

The Crew has played four other exhibitions against teams from the English Premier League. They tied Everton, 1-1, last July, but beat Leeds, 2-1, in 1997 and Fulham, 2-1, in 2005. The club also tied Newcastle, 2-2, in 2000.

Lerner's $118 million purchase made him the second NFL owner to buy an English soccer club. Tampa Bay Buccaneers owner Malcolm Glazer took over Manchester United in 2005.