By: Zach Smith
North American Soccer League expansion team Rayo OKC recently announced its preseason schedule to the public and the Jacksonville Armada find themselves on that schedule. Unfortunately though, Public Relations Director Eric Scott, has stated that the match will be a closed door scrimmage in Jacksonville.
Rayo OKC is a first-time participant club in the NASL in the upcoming season based out of Oklahoma City. The club is majority-owned by Raúl Martín Presa, the owner of Rayo Vallecano of the Spanish La Liga. OKC will join fellow newcomers Miami and Puerto Rico as the NASL expands to 14 clubs in the upcoming 2016 campaign.
On the team’s official website, it was announced that Rayo OKC would be playing four preseason matches ahead of the team’s inaugural season. When asked about the schedule by the team’s official website, Rayo OKC head coach Alen Marcina responded with pride and optimism regarding the creation of the schedule.
“We have worked very hard putting the best possible preseason schedule together we can,” Marcina said. “We have some good matches against some tough opponents, so we will get some good work in during the preseason. We are excited and looking forward to getting started.”
Rayo OKC’s first match of the preseason will be held on Feb. 27 in Dallas against San Antonio, a side that will be playing its first season in the United Soccer League after leaving the NASL. After a date with USL side San Antonio, OKC will next play March 5 in Springfield, Mo. against St. Louis FC, who plays in the USL.
The third preseason match will be on March 12 in Miami against fellow NASL expansion club Miami FC. Lastly, the fourth game of the preseason for Rayo OKC will be against the Jacksonville Armada on March 19 in Jacksonville, Fla.
The match against Rayo OKC adds to already challenging, exciting and diverse preseason schedule for the Armada, which opened its preseason against Major League Soccer side New York Red Bulls in a closed-doors match that saw the Armada fall 5-2. The Armada are also set to play the MLS sides Philadelphia Union, Orlando City and New York Red Bulls for a second time as well as local collegiate teams like the University of North Florida and Jacksonville University.
The Armada’s next preseason match will be against Philadelphia on Feb. 6 at Community First Park.