|2019 MLS Preseason presented by Advocare|
|LAFC vs. Vissel Kobe|
|Banc of California Stadium - Los Angeles, Calif.|
|Thursday, Jan. 31 — 10:00 PM ET|
|Buy tickets - No stream or TV available|
LAFC continue their preparations in Preseason presented by Advocare with a friendly against J-League outfit Vissel Kobe, which features three World Cup winners, including former New York City FC striker David Villa.
LAFC won their first match of the 2019 preseason, a 3-1 victory over Toronto FC at nearby UC Irvine. Opting to remain in Southern California for all of preseason once again this year, the Black & Gold are looking to show Vissel Kobe a good time with the club's second ever high-profile international friendly at Banc of California Stadium, following a clash against Borussia Dortmund in May 2018 that ended in a 1-1 draw.
2019 SuperDraft pick Javi Perez, a Valencia, Spain native, spoke to LAFC's website about Villa's influence on the city, and the star's influence on launching his own career.
“We all trained in the same facility. There was like six or seven fields. We saw him daily. For us, he’s an idol for all the young players. He was like a mirror, you could look at him and be like I want to be the top scorer for the national team that’s now playing for Valencia. Everything he brings to the table was just amazing.”
Villa helped connect Perez to a college opportunity, with the midfielder eventually playing collegiate soccer at Pitt.
“I’m very thankful, he could honestly choose from many players and he chose me,” Pérez said. “I am very thankful for that. The advice and all the support he’s been giving me throughout these years in college has been great. I am very thankful to him and his group.”
The Japanese side, typically a mid-table team in their history (they finished in 10th place in the J-League last season), have made the signings of international superstars Villa, Andres Iniesta and Lukas Podolski part of their bid to break through, in Japan and globally.
They drew Columbus Crew SC 0-0 in their first game stateside, and following the LAFC clash will take on Toronto FC as part of their US tour while based in Orange County Great Park, in Irvine, Calif.