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North Carolina FC to host Liga MX’s Necaxa for friendly

NCFC general manager Curt Johnson, head coach Dave Sarachan and owner Steve Malik pose for a photo on Thursday, Jan. 3, 2018 at WakeMed Soccer Park in Cary, N.C. (Mitchell Northam / Pro Soccer USA)

A Liga MX club will play a game in Cary, N.C., in March.

In what is being dubbed the “Friendship Cup,” USL Championship side North Carolina FC and the NWSL’s North Carolina Courage will host a pair of exhibition matches March 23 at Sahlen’s Stadium at the WakeMed Soccer Park. The Courage will face fellow NWSL side Orlando Pride for a preseason tune-up at 1 p.m. ET, while NCFC will take on Necaxa in a friendly at 3:30 p.m.

“We are thrilled to provide another marquee event for our fans,” NCFC president and general manager Curt Johnson said in a statement. “This is an exciting opportunity for us to showcase the passion for professional soccer in the Triangle to the world. These two matches continue our club’s tradition of providing our fans with some of the best of the best in worldwide soccer.”

Founded in 1923, Necaxa plays its home games in Aguascalientes, Mexico, and has won three Liga MX titles, four Copa Mexico trophies and two Concacaf Champions League trophies. The club also participated in the 2000 FIFA Club World Cup tournament, finishing in third place.

As of Wednesday, Necaxa was saddled in fifth place in the Liga MX standings. They are coached by Guillermo Vazquez.

American defender Ventura Alvarado — who has 13 U.S. men’s national team caps — features at centerback for the club. Necaxa’s roster also includes goalkeeper Hugo Gonzalez and forwards Eduardo Herrera and Angel Sepulveda, who have 15 combined caps for El Tri, Mexico’s national team.

“Necaxa is an established team with a long history of success in Mexican football,” NCFC head coach Dave Sarachan said in a statement. “We often talk about playing teams that will challenge us in different ways and a team like Necaxa certainly will be a great test for our group. It’s not often that we would have the opportunity to test ourselves in a match like this during our season and we’ll look forward to the challenge of facing a talented and experienced team like Necaxa.”

This friendly will come after NCFC’s first season in the USL Championship has begun. NCFC will have already played Louisville City and the Bethlehem Steel in regular season play.

The general public will be able to buy tickets to the Friendship Cup on Friday.




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