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Orange County to Face J-League's Vissel Kobe

By NICHOLAS MURRAY - nicholas.murray@uslsoccer.com, 12/31/18, 4:07PM EST

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World Cup-winners Iniesta, Villa, Podolski among squad as it makes trip to United States


Former Spanish international Andres Iniesta is one of three former FIFA World Cup-winners in Vissel Kobe's squad as it heads to Orange County in January.

IRVINE, Calif. – Orange County SC will get a big preseason test as it prepares for the 2019 USL Championship season with a clash against the J-League’s Vissel Kobe on February 5 that will wrap up the star-studded Japanese side’s tour of the United States that opens next month.

Vissel Kobe’s squad features former Spanish internationals Andres Iniesta and David Villa, and former German international Lukas Podolski, with Villa having headed to join the club this month after most recently playing for Major League Soccer’s New York City FC. All three are World Cup-winners, with Iniesta and Villa part of Spain’s victory in 2010 and Podolski part of the German side that prevailed in 2014.

Details for tickets and kickoff of the exhibition at Championship Soccer Stadium are expected to be announced by Orange County in the coming days.

Vissel Kobe’s clash with Orange County is one of three games the side will play at Championship Soccer Stadium during its visit to the United States, which will see Orange County Great Park serve as its base camp during the club’s time in the country. Additionally, Vissel Kobe will play exhibition contests against Major League Soccer’s Columbus Crew SC on January 28 and Toronto FC on February 2 and will visit Los Angeles FC at Banc of California Stadium on January 31.

Orange County SC will open the 2019 USL Championship season looking to build on a successful campaign that saw the side finish top of the Western Conference and reach the Western Conference Final of the 2018 USL Cup Playoffs. It will open the new campaign on the road against Reno 1868 FC on Saturday, March 9, with the club’s home opener at Championship Soccer Stadium scheduled for Saturday, March 16 against Tulsa Roughnecks FC. 

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