Houston excited to host Liga BBVA club Valencia

HOUSTON – In its fourth year, the BBVA Compass Dynamo Charities Cup is getting a little Spanish flavor. The Houston Dynamo announced Wednesday that the fourth annual edition of the international friendly will take place on May 31 against Spanish powerhouse Valencia CF.

“Valencia’s a club with a great tradition and strong history,” Dynamo president Chris Canetti told MLSsoccer.com by phone. “A goal of the BBVA Dynamo Charities Cup has been to bring in marquee names and brands from all over the world. We took a big step forward with Bolton last year and we’re taking a greater leap forward in the new stadium with Valencia.”

Valencia brings a powerful brand to Houston. A consistent top-tier club in the Spanish first division, Los Che reached the UEFA Champions League final in 2000 and 2001 – falling to Real Madrid and Bayern Munich, respectively – and last claimed the Liga BBVA title in 2004.

Valencia are currently third in Liga BBVA, led by Spanish international Roberto Soldado (pictured above), and the club has been linked to Mexican superstar Andrés Guardado in recent months. The club has also seen success in Europe this season and are slated to face AZ Alkmaar in the quarterfinals of the Europa League.

Valencia’s Liga BBVA and European success was one of several selling points as an opponent for this game.

“It was attractive for BBVA Compass and [the Dynamo] to bring in a La Liga team,” Canetti said. “We’ve been in discussions with Valencia prior to BBVA Compass coming on board as a sponsor and everything from schedule to finances and the like just worked out very well.”

With Valencia set to battle the Dynamo in just the fourth game at their new stadium, Houston feel this is the first of many times the club will welcome the world’s best clubs to Bayou City.

“For [Valencia] to come and play the Dynamo is a good start to the international soccer we’ll be able to bring to BBVA Compass Stadium,” Canetti said. “Part of the objective is building a brand around the Charities Cup and the vision we have for the game. Bringing a world class club like Valencia is a step in that direction.”

Valencia also will make a stop in Portland on May 23 to meet the Timbers at JELD-WEN Field, the Oregon club announced earlier on Wednesday.

Darrell Lovell covers the Houston Dynamo for MLSsoccer.com and can be reached for comment at Darrell.A.Lovell@gmail.com.