Soccer

Republic FC will host Cosmos in a friendly at Hughes Stadium on Feb. 28

A crowd of over 17,000 cheers for the Sacramento Republic FC during the game between the Sacramento Republic FC and the Orange County Blues at Hughes Stadium in Sacramento on Saturday, May 3, 2014/
A crowd of over 17,000 cheers for the Sacramento Republic FC during the game between the Sacramento Republic FC and the Orange County Blues at Hughes Stadium in Sacramento on Saturday, May 3, 2014/ Sacramento

Defending USL Pro champion Republic FC is returning to Hughes Stadium on Feb. 28 to play a friendly against the New York Cosmos, the 2013 North American Soccer League champions.

Last year Republic FC opened its home season at the Sacramento City College stadium and received national attention with sellout crowds of 20,000-plus for three of the four matches there before the team moved to soccer-specific Bonney Field at Cal Expo.

The friendly will be at Hughes because Bonney Field is being expanded by 3,000 seats to 11,000.

The Cosmos, founded in 1970, once were one of the most storied soccer clubs in North America and featured such world stars as Pele, Franz Beckenbauer and Giorgio Chinaglia.

They appeared in six NASL championship matches from 1972-1982, winning five. But the team stopped play when the NASL folded after the 1984 season.

The Cosmos were reborn as a minor-league team in 2010 and eventually joined the Division II NASL, which has no connection to the original league.

But the new Cosmos have some cache, too. In October, they signed former Real Madrid attacker Raúl, who is expected to play against Republic FC.

The match is included in Republic FC’s season-ticket packages. Tickets for the match will go on sale 10 a.m. Feb. 12 at Ticketmaster.com.

Call The Bee’s Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.

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