Cosmos expand California preseason tour with two more matches

Cosmos tangle with the Sacramento Republic in a 2015 preseason match (Photo: Sacramento Republic)

The Cosmos tangle with the Sacramento Republic in a 2015 preseason match                     (Photo: Sacramento Republic)

With a New York Cosmos friendly at the San Jose Earthquakes already announced, the club expanded its preseason with two more friendlies.

“We are delighted to add another two fixtures to our preseason campaign,” said New York Cosmos Head Coach Giovanni Savarese.

The tour will now begin against Armenian first-division club Ararat Yerevan FC at Citrus College Stadium in Glendora, about 25 miles outside of Los Angeles, on Saturday, February 20th.

Considered the most popular club in Armenia, Yerevan have claimed two league titles and seven Armenian cups. They placed last in the league last season after a row of results that saw them lose only one game on the road, but win only two games at home all season. The results and other factors led to four coaching changes across the year with Varuzhan Sukiasyan taking the helm. Sukiasyan currently also heads up the Armenian national squad.

With Assistant Coach Alecko Eskandarian and midfielder Hagop Chirishian both being of Armenian descent, it’s understandable that the game is eagerly anticipated.

“I’m very excited about the fixture against Ararat,” said Eskandarian. “Soccer is a big part of Armenian culture so this game will no doubt have a lot of passion as well as support from the Armenian community.”

The tour then continues on February 24th against PDL side Fresno Fuego at Chukchansi Park. The Fuego placed first in their division last year and made it as far as their conference semifinals. Several NASLers have spent time with the club in the past including recent Armada signing Beto Navarro, current United player and 2012 Golden Boot winner Pablo Campos, and former Strikers Assistant GM Amaury Nunes.

The tour will close out with the aforementioned match against the Earthquakes on February 27th.

“All three teams will be a good test for us and the warmer climate of California will certainly be welcomed,” said Savarese.

Sources say the Cosmos are looking to announce more preseason fixtures. The questions remain on whether they will go on another international tour like in previous years or if we’ll see a local friendly like many supporters have hoped for.

In my opinion, this is positive news. The Cosmos played two matches in a California tour last season, so it doesn’t look like much has changed here aside from playing a club from abroad and facing MLS competition outside of the Open Cup which, in itself, is a curious prospect given the club’s history with MLS.

I think we’ll see something international as the Cosmos use these trips as an opportunity to market the brand, but it’s still early. I hope for, but would not necessarily expect, a local friendly.

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