The MetroStars announced Monday that the team will play a friendly match against Boavista F.C. of the Portuguese Super League as the kickoff to the 25th Annual Portugal Day Festival. The game will be played on May 26 at Williams Field in Elizabeth, N.J., at 8 p.m. ET. The Newark Festival and game are being run by the Bernardino Coutinho Foundation.
"The MetroStars are delighted to be a part of the game which will kickoff the Portuguese Festival in the Ironbound," said MetroStars president and general manager Nick Sakiewicz. "This match serves the dual purpose of both giving our team a friendly match against a well known Portuguese first division opponent, and also bringing the team into the community that supports it. This is a great opportunity for our organization all the way around."
The Newark Festival, widely regarded as the largest ethnic festival in the state and largest Portuguese feast of its kind in the world will run from May 26 until June 13 with a variety of programs highlighting all aspects of Portuguese culture. Attendance this year is expected to top one million people for all events combined.
"Everybody knows that soccer is a key part of Portuguese Culture, and no Portugal Day Festival could be complete without a professional soccer match." said Bernardino Coutinho, chairman of the organizing committee. "We are delighted that the MetroStars have decided to participate in this year's festival and play against Boavista F.C. who made it to last year's UEFA Cup semifinals. It shows their commitment to being part of our community in every way, and we welcome them and expect a full house for our opening ceremonies on the 26."
Boavista F.C. currently has 44 points in league play, which puts them in a tie for eighth place with one match remaining on May 9 against Marítimo. Currently their roster includes Ricardo Sousa and Frechaut, who are both members of the Portuguese National Team player pool. Sousa is also currently tied as the fourth leading goal scorer in the league.
In 2000-01, Boavista won the Portuguese Super League title, and in doing so, became just the fifth team in the history of the league to claim the championship. Outside of league play, last year Boavista advanced to the semi-finals of the UEFA Cup, where they lost to Glasgow Celtic 2-1 on aggregate.
Admission for this International Match is $20, with discount programs available for groups of 10 or more as well as for all youth soccer organizations. Tickets are available at the customary Ironbound and Elizabeth community locations or by calling the Coutinho Foundation at 973-344-0123.