Walter Restrepo (left) and his Cosmos teammates will train in the Dominican Republic. (YJC/Andy Mead Photo)

As expected, the Cosmos are heading for the Dominican Republic for preseason training.

The two-time defending North American Soccer League champions announced Friday that they will play three gameon the Caribbean island.

That includes away matches against Dominican Soccer League sides Atlántico FC and Club Atlético Pantoja and the Dominican Republic National Team.

“We anticipate an intense preseason, starting with our trip to the Dominican Republic,” Cosmos head coach and sporting director Giovanni Savarese said. “Our first three matches will help us get the group together and integrate our latest signings to the squad. We look forward to starting the 2017 preseason the best possible way.”

The Cosmos will meet Atlántico FC in Puerto Plata at Leonel Plácido Stadium Tuesday. Atlántico was founded in 2014 and plays in the newly formed Liga Dominicana de Fútbol (Dominican Soccer League). It closed the 2015 season with a runner-up finish.

New York will travel to Santo Domingo to play against 2015 national champion Club Atlético Pantoja at Estadio Olimpico Félix Sanchez on Friday, March 3. The Warriors are coached by Venezuelan head coach Lenin Bastidas, who managed Atlántico FC the previous year.

The tour will conclude on Sunday, March 5, when the Cosmos become the first American professional soccer club to play against the Dominican Republic. This match also will be played at Estadio Olimpico Félix Sanchez. Kickoff times for all three matches are to be determined and will be announced at a later date.

This will be the Cosmos’ second visit to the Dominican Republic. Their only appearance in the Caribbean country was in June 1976, when they played a friendly match against Haitian side Violette Athletic Club. The Cosmos won 2-1, with Pelé scoring the decisive goal late in the encounter.

Front Row Soccer editor Michael Lewis has covered 13 World Cups (eight men, five women), seven Olympics and 25 MLS Cups. He has written about New York City FC, New York Cosmos, the New York Red Bulls and both U.S. national teams for Newsday and has penned a soccer history column for the Lewis, who has been honored by the Press Club of Long Island and National Soccer Coaches Association of America, is the former editor of He has written seven books about the beautiful game and has published ALIVE AND KICKING The incredible but true story of the Rochester Lancers. It is available at