David Villa, Vissel Kobe to face Columbus, LAFC, Toronto in US return
David Villa only bid goodbye to New York City FC and MLS a month ago, but he'll face some familiar opposition in a few of his first games with his new club.
Vissel Kobe – the J-League team with which Villa signed on Dec. 1 – on Friday announced a preseason tour of the United States that will see them face Columbus Crew SC, LAFC and Toronto FC in Southern California.
In addition to Villa, Kobe also feature World Cup winners Andres Iniesta and Lukas Podolski, who should provide the MLS trio a stern challenge as they ramp up to the 2019 regular MLS season.
Columbus will be the first team to face the Japanese side, on January 28 (10 pm ET) at the Championship Soccer Stadium in Irvine, California, the home of the USL Championship's Orange County SC. LAFC will then play host to Kobe at Banc of California Stadium on Jan. 31 (10 pm ET) before Toronto face them back in Irvine on Feb. 2 (10:30 pm ET).
Villa crossed the Pacific after four glittering seasons with NYCFC, where he signed as the club's first Designated Player and wore the captain's armband for the duration of his time there. He finished his MLS career with 77 goals and 26 assists across 117 regular-season appearances, plus three goals in seven playoff games for the Cityzens.
Vissel Kobe, who will also face Orange County during their tour, finished 10th in the J-League during the 2018 season.
The 2019 MLS regular season will kick off on March 2.