The Fresno Fuego battled against the defending North American Soccer League champion New York Cosmos but ultimately fell 2-1 in Wednesday night’s preseason exhibition at Chukchansi Park.
A crowd of 2,543 came out to the downtown Fresno stadium to watch the Fuego take on the Cosmos and their international array of footballers highlighted by Venezuela’s all-time leading goal scorer Juan Arango and MLS player Michael Lahoud (Sierra Leone national team, on loan from Philadelphia Union).
The Cosmos controlled the tempo early but had trouble against goalkeeper Cesar Castillo. New York eventually got through in the 28th minute when Yohandry Orozco booted in his own rebound. The Cosmos kept attacking, scoring five minutes later on Andres Flores’ cross to Jairo Arrieta.
The Fuego surged back after halftime as substitute midfielder Felipe Oliveira started to create some offensive opportunities. In the 70th minute, Oliveira dribbled down the goal line and found Elijah Martin at the top of the penalty area and Martin blasted it in for the Fuego’s goal.
It was a good tune-up match for Fresno, who made multiple substitutions as they prepare for the upcoming Premier Development League Season.
The Fuego continues the preseason against the USL’s Sacramento Republic FC on March 3 for the second annual Highway 99 Derby. Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m.
Highway 99 Derby
FRESNO FUEGO VS. SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC FC (USL)
- March 3: 6:30 p.m. at Chukchansi Park
- Tickets: $10-$21 for adults, $10 for children. Available for purchase at bit.ly/FuegoRepublic or Chukchansi Park Box Office.