Fresno Fuego set for big week

FRESNO, Calif.

"We get two top-flight MLS soccer it's at Chukchansi Park and that will be a first time," said Fuego head coach Scott Alcorn. "So this is the biggest week of soccer that I can remember."

Thursday's exhibition opener against the L.A. Galaxy II, also known as the Galaxy Preserves, will be a huge opportunity for talented Fuego players to get seen first-hand by the Galaxy coaching staff.

"You get this bite to you that we need to beat these guys we can prove that we have the talent here in Fresno," said Midfielder Paul Islas. "A lot of people don't think that Central Valley has the talent to compete at that level. Venues like this really help establish that."

Paul Islas is a Bullard grad and former Fresno Pacific Sunbird who made the jump from the Premier Development League Fuego to the USL Pro's Charlotte Eagles last year. He knows one standout performance this week could lead to another jump this season.

"You're missing a lot of intensity a lot of guys who are fighting to get the next level," explained Islas. "Many people think well it is an exhibition match so it's probably not going to be that intense. I assure you the intensity level will be very high."

And couple with Saturday's doubleheader opener against the San Jose Earthquakes Reserves, this week could be the beginning of a Major League Soccer explosion in the Central Valley.

"Thursday night's game as it is a good opportunity for us to showcase our players in front of the L.A. Galaxy staff," said Fuego General Manager Jeremy Schultz. "Ultimately our job with the Fuego is to move our young local players on to the next level. And for them to be able to perform in front of the Galaxy staff on Thursday is a great opportunity."

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