After information leaked a few days ago, the New York Cosmos have confirmed a friendly with SD Eibar will take place in Las Vegas on May 25 at Sam Boyd Field. The Cosmos had previously told TICC that contracts were being finalized and it appears that all is now complete.
The match is part of the LFP World Challenge, an initiative aimed at getting La Liga clubs exposure worldwide. Global Futbol Partners will work with them to manage and promote this and other matches in the US. Global Futbol Partners also appears to have a presence in Las Vegas.
“We are delighted to accept the invitation to play against SD Eibar,” said Cosmos COO Erik Stover. “La Liga is one of the world’s most famous soccer leagues and the quality of teams within it is excellent. This fixture against Eibar will be a good one for us as we come to the end of our NASL Spring Season.”
This is not the first match against a Liga side for the Cosmos who played Villarreal in 2013, losing 3-0 in a match meant to honor the career of Marcos Senna, now a Liga BBVA ambassador, on the Spanish side. The other major link to La Liga, of course, is Raúl, who retired alongside Senna last year and is now the league’s manager in the US.
“From a sporting perspective, this tour allows us to continue training after the season has finished,” said SD Eibar Marketing Director Gema Baqué. “It’s also important to open new markets and be more international. This is a unique and historic opportunity that we couldn’t miss. We wanted to get closer to our American stakeholders, thank them for their support and, for the future, look to build sponsors.”
While this is great exposure for the New York side, without a doubt, this is also something where the timing gets tricky. Like last year’s Cuba friendly that came towards the end of a close Spring Season, this one takes place before their second to last game. In fact, the friendly falls in the middle of two home games, adding a midweek match and travel to what would have been a quiet week otherwise. The Cosmos would now have a home game on May 22, the friendly on May 25, another home game three days later, the start of their Open Cup campaign on June 1, and their final league match, on the road in Ft. Lauderdale, on June 4. With five matches in two weeks, it all adds up to a very congested schedule in those last two weeks, and hopefully does not impact either the Cup or the league.
I won’t lie that I’m concerned. The exposure for the club is great, but the possibility of worn out players after that amount of travel and games and how it may affect their initial Open Cup match and their spring title chances? It’s something to be worried about.
I hate friendlies in the mid-season. I am all about the Cosmos getting nice friendlies before the season kicks off but to have to fly three-quarters of the way across the country in between two league games is not ideal.
Last year I could UNDERSTAND the Cuba match as there was a historical significance there, but this game does not make sense. The Spring Season is a sprint and it guarantees a home game in the playoffs at year’s end. That should be top priority. Having this game in Vegas when temperatures are inching towards 90 degrees does nothing to help us win the Spring Season.
I love the story of Eibar but not this game.