Head Coach Adam Smith will have his first look at new signings and several trialists in tonight's exhibition. Photo by Isaiah J. Downing / Switchbacks FC
The Foxes hope to find some key pieces to their puzzle tonight as they host LA Galaxy II in their first preseason matchup of 2019. Kickoff is set for 7 p.m. at Chukchansi Park.
For head coach Adam Smith, the matchup will provide his first in-game look at his returning players - who aim to maintain their hold in the rotation, while new signings and trialists will hope to make a strong impression on the field.
"Preseason is really about trying to find your strongest group," Smith said. "What's going to gel? What's going to work best? And it's also to get the players' fitness up to match speed, which takes time. We've had a couple of intrasquad scrimmages but this is really our first game."
It's the first chance for fans to watch newcomers Jaime Chavez, Elijah Martin, CJ Cochran, and others, play alongside key returners from last year's squad in Juan Pablo Caffa, Zachary Ellis-Hayden, Mickey Daly, Ramon Martin Del Campo, Jemal Johnson and Christian Chaney. The Foxes will also have some absences in tonight's exhibition, with recently announced signings Alex Cooper and Jorge Escamilla expected to arrive at preseason camp over the weekend.
The Foxes went 0-1-1 against the LA Galaxy II during the 2018 USL season. Photo by Kiel Maddox / Fresno FC
Nonetheless, tonight's exhibition is also an opportunity for Smith and his technical staff to evaluate a handful of trialists as they look to finalize their 2019 roster.
"We currently have about 10 trialists and we want to give those guys some game time so we can have a fair look at them. We still have 1 or 2 spots to fill on our roster and the competition has been high for those positions," Smith added. "Tonight is not just about getting fit and finding my starting eleven, but also finalizing our full roster. We're still in the experimental stages - it is early - but it's a little bit easier than last year because we have a good core of players returning."
He added: "This game is an opportunity for the trialists to show what they're worth and for our returners to stamp their authority on being in the starting eleven. We'll see how it goes tonight and the rest of preseason."
Trialists include: Diego Casillas (Fresno FC U23s), Alvaro Nogales (Fresno FC U23s), Uchenna Uzo (Myrtle Beach Mutiny), Seth Moses (Indy Eleven), Jordan Dunstan (Nashville SC), Michael Kafari (Puerto Rico FC), Hiroki Kurimoto (Honda FC), Dembakwi Yomba (Reno 1868 FC), Mawai Haroun (Kalonji Soccer Academy).
Tickets for tonight's match are available for purchase online at FresnoFC.com and the Chukchansi Park Box Office.
The Foxes officially kick off the USL Championship regular season on March 9 at New Mexico United. The Foxes open at home on March 23 against Reno 1868 FC. Tickets for the full 2019 Season and single games are available now at 559-320-2525 or by visiting FresnoFC.com.