Arsenal have been officially confirmed as the international opponents for this summer's Major League Soccer (MLS) All-Star game in San Jose, California on 28 July. The match will form part of a mini pre-season tour of the United States for Arsene Wenger's side, who also travel to Los Angeles three days later for a friendly against Mexican outfit Chivas.
The Gunners, who currently sit third in the Premier League ahead of a crucial clash with leaders Leicester on Valentine's Day, last crossed the Atlantic in July 2014. On that occasion, they lost 1-0 to a New York Red Bulls team spearheaded by former favourite Thierry Henry and Tim Cahill, and lost courtesy of a first-half effort from Bradley Wright-Phillips. A capacity crowd of 25,000 turned out that day and the club will be hoping for a similarly warm reception on the west coast.
Speaking to Arsenal's official website after their attendance was confirmed, Wenger said: "Pre-season is a critically important time for us and we are delighted to be going to San Jose and Los Angeles to participate in the 2016 MLS All-Star game and to play Chivas.
"We have tremendous support across America and enjoyed our visit to New York in the summer of 2014 when we played the New York Red Bulls at Red Bull Arena. We look forward to giving our US fans the chance to see the team play live."
Arsenal also confirmed that these two matches will be their only pre-season friendlies played outside of Europe in 2016. For the last eight years, the club have hosted other reputable teams from around the continent as part of the Emirates Cup. They won the last edition of the tournament, thrashing Lyon and edging past Wolfsburg after returning from Premier League Asia Trophy duty in Singapore.
The MLS All-Stars, meanwhile, are currently on a two-year winning streak after following up a 2-1 win over Bayern Munich in 2014 with victory against Tottenham in Colorado last year. Fulham, Celtic, West Ham, Everton, Manchester United and Chelsea are the other British teams to have taken part in the fixture since the old format of Eastern vs Western conference was changed in the early 2000s.