SAN LUIS OBISPO – After a two-year hiatus, Major League Soccer action will return to the Central Coast with the joint announcement by the Cal Poly Athletics Department and Mustang men’s soccer program on Monday morning that San Jose Earthquakes and defending MLS Cup champion Colorado Rapids will meet at Alex G. Spanos Stadium for a March 4 friendly. Action for the MLS Central Coast Challenge is scheduled for 7 p.m.
Cal Poly head coach Paul Holocher was a member of the inaugural San Jose Earthquakes when Major League Soccer formed in 1996. As part of the event, his squad will face Colorado's reserve side in a 9 a.m. closed-door exhibition at Spanos Stadium on Saturday, March 5.
“We’re very excited to have both San Jose and Colorado on the Central Coast for what should be a very special matchup,” said Holocher, whose program will be hosting MLS friendly action for the third time since 2008. “Personally, the matchup brings back great memories because I played for the San Jose Earthquakes when Major League Soccer began in 1996. There has been so much growth in the MLS since then, with world-famous talents wanting to come play in America. I’m excited to get a glimpse of some of the league’s rising talents and established players, such as last year’s leading goalscorer, San Jose forward Chris Wondolowski.”
The 2011 MLS Central Coast Challenge marks San Jose’s third trip to San Luis Obispo during the previous four years. The Earthquakes defeated Columbus, 2-1, during the inaugural 2008 MLS Central Coast Showcase. The Earthquakes also produced a scoreless draw versus D.C. United during the same event.
The 2009 MLS Central Coast Showcase played host to Seattle Sounders FC’s first competitive fixture, a 3-2 loss to San Jose. The Earthquakes then tuned up for their 2009 campaign with a 2-0 defeat of Houston Dynamo.
Colorado will be making its club debut at Spanos Stadium.
“When it comes to watching professionals do their thing, this event should be a real treat,” Holocher added. “The quality of passing and speed of the game at the MLS level is super."
Pre-sale tickets for the MLS Central Coast Challenge have been set at $12 for adults and $7 for youth (ages 2-13) and seniors (60 and above). Cal Poly students, staff and faculty may buy tickets for $5 in person (ID required at time of purchase. Students will be limited to two tickets per purchase; staff will have the option of four).
The pre-sale will close at 4 p.m. on March 4. Gate prices on match night will be $15 for adults and $10 for youth and seniors. The $5 option for students, staff and faculty will still be in place on match night.
To purchase tickets for the 2011 MLS Central Coast Challenge, please contact the Cal Poly Athletics Department ticket office at 1-866-GoStangs, (805) 756-5806 or www.gopoly.com. The ticket office is located in front of Mott Gym on the Cal Poly campus.