Rafa Marquez #4 of the New York Red Bulls reacts during the game against the Philadelphia Union at Red Bull Arena on October 20, 2011 in Harrison, New Jersey. (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images for New York Red Bulls)
The New York Red Bulls of Major League Soccer return to the Valley for a match Feb. 23 against Pumas Morelos of Mexico.
The New York Red Bulls are going to be spending a lot of time in Arizona next month, mainly doing what soccer fans like best: Playing matches. Even if they are just preseason.
New York, one of the flagship franchises of Major League Soccer, will face Pumas Morelos, the top satellite club affiliated with Pumas UNAM, in the annual Reto Del Sol (Challenge of the Sun) match in Phoenix on Feb. 23 at Chase Field.
The match is set for 8 p.m. at the home of the Diamondbacks and tickets are now on sale from $20 to $60.
Here's a story on the game from SB Nation's New York site that contains a statement from the Red Bulls, although it indicates that the actual Pumas club, the team that plays in Mexico's Primera División (top soccer league), will be the opponent. The club said on Twitter Tuesday that it will send Pumas Morelos, from Mexico's second-tier league, to Phoenix.
It will be a busy time for the Red Bulls, who will also be taking part in the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson that takes place Feb. 22-March 3. Should be interesting to see whom among their frontline players they'll send to downtown Phoenix to play a lower-division club, but the Reto del Sol match drew more than 23,000 fans to University of Phoenix Stadium last March, and plenty of those fans walked up and bought their tickets.
That match featured New York against Atlas, a top-flight club in Mexico from Guadalajara, and ended in a 1-1 draw with Mexican national Rafa Marquez scoring for the Red Bulls.