NYCFC to begin 2017 preseason in Ecuador

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by Christian Araos

For the second time in three seasons, New York City FC will begin their preseason overseas.

NYCFC announced today that it will travel to Ecuador to take C.S. Emelec on February 8 in their first preseason friendly of 2017. The Ecuadorian giants will host City in their newly renovated Estadio Banco del Pacifico in Guayaquil with kickoff set for 7 p.m. local time.

“We would like to thank C.S. Emelec for giving us this opportunity and are excited to once again travel to Latin America for a friendly,” sporting director Claudio Reyna said in a statement. “As frequent participants of the Copa Libertadores, we know C.S. Emelec will be a good test for us. Ecuador is known for its passionate soccer fans and we’re looking forward to continuing to grow our fan base outside of the United States.”

Emelec finished second in the Ecuadorian Serie A last season, ensuring their eighth consecutive berth in the Copa Libertadores. The club is a regular source of talent for the Ecuadorian National Team with seven current or former players on the squad for the team’s last World Cup Qualifiers. Emelec was the first professional club for cousins Walter and Jaime Ayoví as well as West Ham forward Enner Valencia. Before losing the 2016 title to Barcelona S.C., Emelec had won the last three Serie A championships.

“We are looking forward to our friendly against C.S. Emelec which will be our first test of the 2017 season,” head coach Patrick Vieira said in a statement. “They are a talented team which will provide us with a competitive match. This game will give us the opportunity to integrate the new players who have joined the team over the break and will allow us to build our rhythm on the field.”

NYCFC said further ticket information will be released in the coming weeks. After traveling to Ecuador, the club will head to Tucson, Arizona to participate in the Desert Diamond Cup scheduled to begin on February 15.