Atlanta, Ga. (June 21, 2013) – The CONCACAF Gold Cup won’t be the only international soccer event taking place in Atlanta in July. The Atlanta Silverbacks announced Friday that they will host 2012 Guatemalan champions Club Xelaju MC in the Reto Cup, an international friendly on Saturday, July 27 at Atlanta Silverbacks Park, pending USSF approval.
Xelaju emerged as the champion of the Guatemalan first division’s “Clausura” or spring season in 2012, qualifying them for last year’s CONCACAF Champions League. The Quetzaltenango-based club showed well in the tournament, beating out Mexican powerhouse Chivas de Guadalajara in the group stage before eventually bowing out to champions CF Monterrey in the knockout round.
“We’re excited to welcome a championship-caliber opponent to Atlanta for a special international friendly,” said Silverbacks General Manager Andy Smith. “It should be a great spectacle for our fans, and a great test for our team before the NASL Fall Season begins.”
The Reto Cup will serve as a key tune-up for the Silverbacks, coming just one week ahead of their NASL Fall Season opener against Minnesota United FC. The NASL is playing its first year under a split-season format, with the Silverbacks concluding Spring Season play on July 4. The team will remain in Atlanta throughout July, training and playing friendlies against teams such as Xelaju.
“The CONCACAF Champions League is an extremely competitive tournament, so the fact that Xelaju advanced past the group stage is impressive,” said Silverbacks Head Coach Brian Haynes. “We look at this game as a great opportunity to prepare ourselves for what is going to be a tough and competitive fall season in the NASL.”
It will be the first international friendly at Atlanta Silverbacks Park since late 2011, when Cuauhtémoc Blanco and Mexican side Irapuato topped the Silverbacks, 1-0, in an exciting encounter.
The Silverbacks will be having a pre-sale until July 10, with ticket prices starting as low as $14. The prices will go up following July 10. For Silverbacks season ticket holders, the game is included in their package, thereby granting them free admission. Kickoff is at 7:30 p.m., with gates opening at 6 p.m.