New York City's preseason schedule is shaping up nicely.
As we know, the club will come together for the first time ever on January 24 -- that's next Saturday, in case you were curious -- at Patton Park in Jacksonville, Fla.They'll be training there until February 2. It's unclear whether those trainings will be open to the public.
They will then travel to Manchester, where they will spend ten days training at City Football Academy alongside their sister club, Manchester City. During that time, they will play two exhibition games at the 7,000-person capacity Academy Stadium, on February 10th and February 15th.
Now we know whom they'll be facing off against: Scottish club St. Mirren and Danish club Brondby IF. They play St. Mirren at 7:00 p.m. (2:00 p.m. EST) on February 10, then face off against Brondby in an afternoon game at 12:00 p.m. (7:00 am EST) on February 15. It's not known whether those games will be streamed.
Jason Kreis sounded optimistic about the games in a club statement.
"St Mirren and Brondby will provide top class opposition for us ahead of our first competitive MLS game against Orlando on March 8th. We’re delighted to be taking on such strong opposition at a very important stage of our pre-season.
So what do we know about these two clubs?
St. Mirren plays in Paisley, outside Glasgow. They're currently in last place in the Scottish Premier League, tied on points and goal differential with Ross County, but trailing them on the loss column. They won the Scottish League Cup in 2013.
Danish club Brondby IF is located on the outskirts of Copenhagen. Brondby is currently fourth in the Danish Superliga, 13 points behind leaders Midjtylland. They've won the league ten times, most recently in 2004-05. They've also made the semifinals of the UEFA Cup (now the Europa League) in 1991, and the quarterfinals of the Champions League in 1986-87.
For their part, Brondby's sporting director, Per Rud, sounds like he's ready to do battle (original in Danish):
"With this game against New York City FC, we have assembled a fine kickoff program against some strong opponents. Although it is a brand new club and a new team, there are a number of really fine players in the squad, so we'll have our hands full in Manchester."
Either way, it looks like both matches will go some way towards showing how ready New York City is to compete in Major League Soccer. Both clubs play in leagues that are roughly comparative with MLS, so even though these are friendly matches, we'll get some idea of how the team is coming together.
After that ten-day training sojourn in northwest England, New York City will travel back to the United States and play in the Carolina Challenge Cup at the end of February, before beginning their inaugural MLS season on March 7 against fellow expansion club Orlando City.