This summer, a pair of USL Championship clubs are going to get a taste of overseas soccer.
It was announced Friday that San Antonio FC and New Mexico United are going to host Cardiff City FC, a club based in Wales, in friendly matches this summer. San Antonio will face the Bluebirds on July 13 and New Mexico United will take them on July 18.
Cardiff City will also play a friendly in Edmonton, Canada on July 20, but an opponent hasn’t yet been announced.
“I think it’s a great opportunity to get the lads away for ten days and play three tough matches at great facilities,” Cardiff manager Neill Warnock said in a statement. “We’re also hoping to soon confirm an attractive home match against foreign opposition for the final Saturday before the season starts.”
Cardiff City competed in the English Premier League this past season but was relegated to the second-tier EFL Championship after an 18th place finish. The Bluebirds went 10-4-24, posting a negative-35 goal differential. They did however end the season on a high note, notching a 2-0 win over Manchester United.
The club, founded in 1899, has won the Welsh Cup 22 times, the FA cup once, and the EFL Championship in 2013.
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Among the notable players that featured for the team this past season were Canadian forward Junior Hoilett and Iceland national team captain Aron Gunnarsson. Hoilett, 28, scored three goals and assisted on another for Cardiff this past season while Gunnarsson tallied a score and assist. Leading the team in scoring was Spanish forward Víctor Camarasa, who scored five goals and assisted on four others while on loan at Cardiff from La Liga’s Real Betis.
For San Antonio, the friendly against Cardiff will mark the first time a current or former Premier League team has played in the city.
“We are delighted to host what will be an historic event for the Alamo City in July,” SAFC managing director Tim Holt said. “Our supporters have encouraged us to bring a top overseas opponent with a storied history to Toyota Field, and we are excited to have the opportunity to test ourselves against a club as accomplished as Cardiff City FC.”
New Mexico United, an expansion side in the USL Championship this season, could give Cardiff a good contest. The club is in first place in the Western Conference with a 6-1-6 record and a plus-12 goal differential.
“This friendly match against Cardiff City FC is an amazing opportunity for the entire state of New Mexico to be placed on a global stage,” New Mexico United CEO Peter Trevisani said. “Our team will have the opportunity to make a strong statement to the world about who we are and about the community that propels us. Cardiff’s supporters travelling for this match will have the opportunity to experience the unique atmosphere that the Land of Enchantment provides.”