San Diego does not have a Major League Soccer team but it will have a MLS game later this month, when the Tijuana Xolos host reigning league champion Toronto FC in an exhibition Jan. 31 at USD's Torero Stadium.
The 6:30 p.m. kickoff falls on a Wednesday night, between weekend games for the Xolos in Liga MX's Clausura season. Toronto FC will be in preseason, with the 2018 MLS season beginning in March.
It will be the second international soccer game in San Diego in 11 days. The U.S. women's national team plays Denmark at SDCCU (formerly Qualcomm) Stadium at 4:30 p.m. on Jan. 21.
The Xolos have played at USD before, most notably an sold-out 2011 exhibition against David Beckham and the Los Angeles Galaxy that had fans lining Linda Vista Road to get a peek at the action. Tijuana, then playing in Mexico's second division, won in a penalty shootout.
The Xolos have also played at Petco Park, SDCCU Stadium and San Diego Mesa College. They have played exhibitions against MLS clubs outside San Diego as well.
Beyond furthering their brand on this side of the border, the game serves a tactical purpose. Both teams are in the CONCACAF Champions League, the annual regional championship for pro clubs, and MLS and Liga MX sides will likely meet in the quarterfinals — allowing them a chance to face the divergent styles of play in the two leagues. MLS typically is more physical, Liga MX more technical.
The Xolos opens the CCL against Motagua of Honduras in a two-leg round of 16 series next month. If form holds, they'd get the New York Red Bulls of MLS in the quarterfinals in March. Toronto FC faces fellow MLS club Colorado Rapids, with the winner likely getting 2017 Liga MX Apertura champion Tigres.
Toronto FC has reached the last two MLS Cups, losing in a penalty shootout against Seattle two years ago and beating the Sounders 2-0 in December. The Canadian club features U.S. national team regulars Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore, and Italian star Sebastian Giovinco.
Tickets for the game at USD, co-promoted by Pazzo Sports, will be available at axs.com and the Torero Stadium box office. The on-sale date has not been announced.