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Soccer: Fresno Fuego takes on Sacramento Republic FC in Highway 99 Derby

Fresno Fuego’s Christian Chaney, left, battles OC Blues U23’s Anthony Scimeca in this 2015 PDL match. Chaney will not play with the Fuego on Thursday, as he joined Armenian club Ararat Yerevan FC last week after impressing scouts in an impromptu trial during their California tour.
Fresno Fuego’s Christian Chaney, left, battles OC Blues U23’s Anthony Scimeca in this 2015 PDL match. Chaney will not play with the Fuego on Thursday, as he joined Armenian club Ararat Yerevan FC last week after impressing scouts in an impromptu trial during their California tour. sflores@fresnobee.com

The Fresno Fuego continues its preseason slate with a young rivalry this week, when it welcomes Sacramento Republic FC to Chukchansi Park for the second annual Highway 99 Derby.

Kickoff is at 6:30 p.m. Thursday. The Fuego and Republic played to a 2-2 draw in last year’s inaugural match.

The Republic leads the all-time series 2-1, smothering the Fuego 6-0 in a third-round match of the 2014 U.S. Open Cup.

The Fuego is searching for its first win of the preseason, losing 1-0 to Ararat Yerevan FC and 2-1 to the New York Cosmos the previous two weeks.

The Fuego will be without midfielder Christian Chaney, who joined Ararat Yerevan FC last week. The 21-year-old Cal Odyssey alum went on trial with Ararat after impressing its coaches in the exhibition against the Fuego on Feb. 18. Chaney trained with Ararat, and that following Saturday, played a full 90 minutes for the Armenian side in its exhibition against the Cosmos in Glendora.

Chaney also starred for two seasons at Fresno City College, where he also was named a 2013 NSCAA/Continental Tire Junior College All-American center back.

Highway 99 Derby

FRESNO FUEGO VS. SACRAMENTO REPUBLIC FC (USL)

  • Thursday: 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.
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