Photo by Jordan Wiebe / Fresno FC
FRESNO, Calif. - It was a fast start for Los Zorros, who came out biting against Mexico's Club León in an international friendly on Wednesday night that drew 7,104 fans to Chukchansi Park.
It took just two minutes for the hosts to grab an advantage as trialist Qudus Lawal slotted home the go-ahead goal past Club León's starting goalkeeper Rodolfo Cota near the right post. The lead carried to just before halftime when the visitors responded just on Mauro Boselli's strike from 18 yards out.
The 7-time Liga MX champions created several opportunities, but the Foxes backline of Bradley Kamdem Fewo, Mickey Daly, Ramon Martin Del Campo and Zachary Ellis-Hayden under the direction of goalkeepers Kyle Reynish (first half) and Sam Howard (second half) kept them from finding the net again.
"I thought the defenders did pretty well and both goalkeepers made a couple of positional good decisions that helped us and because of that, we managed to still be strong and make it difficult as possible for Leon. They're always going to get chances because they’re good quality players and their movement is excellent, but within that, we tried to do our best," said assistant coach Robert Earnshaw.
Los Zorros saw its best chance to regain the lead fizzle when Renato Bustamante's off-balance header land in the hands of León's second-half goalie, and US Men's National Team member, William Yarbrough at the line. Los Zorros also had a chance around the 65th minute when captain Juan Pablo Caffa appeared to be fouled in the box, only to have the official signal to play on. Fresno came within striking distance again in the 75th when Zach Ellis-Hayden's shot on the volley went over the crossbar.
"It was a beautiful experience playing against top players and against a team with a great history in Mexico," Zorros captain Juan Pablo Caffa said after the match. "We enjoyed it. I feel they enjoyed it too. We competed which was important. Now it’s time to go home, rest, and get ready for next year."
It was the 13th exhibition to feature a Liga MX club over the last seven years at Chukchansi Park, and the first ever against a local side with Fresno FC earning the draw in its final match of 2018. Los Zorros return to USL Championship action in March 2019.
For 2019 season tickets, group outings and more, visit FresnoFC.com or call 559-320-2525 for more details.