Real Salt Lake will again take part in the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup

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Earlier this year RSL was able to get some great preseason matches in against the New York Red Bulls, New England Revolution, and the LA Galaxy.  Next year they will again take part in the preseason tournament in Tucson, next year the Red Bulls and Revolution will return and be joined by the Seattle Sounders.  The tournament will take place in mid February with the following schedule:

Schedule of Matches*

Wednesday, February 13th, 2013

New England Revolution vs. Seattle Sounders

New York Red Bulls vs. Real Salt Lake

Saturday, February 16th, 2013

Seattle Sounders vs. Real Salt Lake

New York Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution

Wednesday, February 20th, 2013

Real Salt Lake vs. New England Revolution

Seattle Sounders vs. New York Red Bulls

Saturday, February 23rd, 2013

MLS 3rd Place vs. MLS 4th Place

MLS 1st Place vs. MLS 2nd Place

*Game times are TBA; schedule subject to change

FC Tucson made two press releases today about the tournament, the first is that the final of the tournament will be broadcast live on NBC Sports:

NBC Sports Network to air 2013 Desert Diamond Cup Final in Primetime 

FC Tucson announces the four competing MLS clubs for the third annual Desert Diamond Cup

Tucson, AZ (Thursday, October 11, 2012) – FC Tucson is pleased to announce that NBC Sports Network will air the 2013 Desert Diamond Cup final live on Saturday, February 23, 2013 at 8 p.m. ET. Additionally, FC Tucson today confirmed the four MLS teams that will compete in the third edition of the tournament.

In 2013, the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup will welcome back the New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake and the New England Revolution while Seattle Sounders FC will make their first appearance in the competition.

The FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup is a four-day tournament during the MLS preseason hosted at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium. A full schedule of matches as well as ticket information will be announced at a later date.

“FC Tucson looks forward to working with a world-class organization like NBC Sports to air the final of the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup,” said FC Tucson chief business officer Chris Keeney. “We are excited that our tournament and the region will be on display on NBC Sports Network which is in nearly 80 million homes.  This is another big step in defining Tucson as one of the great soccer towns in the United States and a terrific destination for fans of the game worldwide.  Many thanks to our friends at MLS for supporting this endeavor and to the NBC Sports Group for its faith in American soccer.”

There was also a press release on the tournament at large:

2013 FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup Teams Announced 

New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake and Seattle Sounders to participate

Tucson, AZ (Thursday, October 11, 2012) — FC Tucson, in partnership with Desert Diamond Casino, announced today that four teams have accepted invitations to play in the 3rd Annual FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup. The four participants, who will play at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium, are the New England Revolution, the New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake and the Seattle Sounders.

“FC Tucson is quite pleased to continue building upon the success of last year’s tournament by welcoming back three of the four 2012 participants and introducing the community to the Seattle Sounders,” said FC Tucson managing member Greg Foster. “After talking extensively with MLS, Tucson has become the “Western Hub of MLS Pre-Season” and we look forward to celebrating the world’s game with our friends and family all around the region, including Northern Mexico.  We also expect to see a sizable influx of fans from each team’s city as we turn Tucson into a soccer mecca for the entire month of February.”

The 2013 FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup will take place over the course of four days: Wednesday, February 13th; Saturday, February 17th; Wednesday, February 20th and Saturday February 23rd. The teams will play a round-robin format through the first three dates. The tournament final and third-place game will be played on Saturday February 23rd.

More announcements, including game times and ticket information, will be released at a later date during the run up to the tournament.

The New England Revolution returns to Tucson after reaching last year’s Desert Diamond Cup final. The Revolution are led by manager and former player Jay Heaps, who was the 1999 MLS Rookie of the Year, and feature Honduran international Jerry Bengtson, star rookie Kelyn Rowe, MLS mainstay Matt Reis and team leading-scorer Saer Sene.

“We’ve very pleased to return to Tucson next February,” Heaps said. “We had an incredible experience last year and the city of Tucson was a wonderful host for two weeks. The facilities and hospitality are first-rate and the ability to train on good fields and in great weather just before the start of the season is paramount for us. We’re very excited to come back next year.”

The New York Red Bulls will also return to Tucson. The Red Bulls are managed by Hans Backe and feature the striker duo of Kenny Cooper and Thierry Henry, who are in top five in the league in goals scored, midfielder Rafa Marquez of Mexican National team fame and Australian national team member and former Everton star, Tim Cahill.  The Red Bulls are currently sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference Standings.

“We are excited to participate in the 2013 Desert Diamond Cup,” said Red Bulls Technical Director Ricardo Campos. “Last year, we had a very positive experience in Tucson, training in some very good facilities and playing in competitive matches which helped us prepare for our MLS season. We want to thank the tournament organizers for inviting us back.”

Real Salt Lake is the third team returning to Tucson. The club is managed by former MLS star Jason Kreis and is led by current U.S National Team members Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando as well as Tucson-born Nat Borchers and Costa Rican international Álvaro Saborío, who is currently second in the league with 17 goals.

“Our club enjoyed a fantastic preseason experience in 2012 in Tucson – everything was very well-organized on the field and off,” said Real Salt Lake General Manager Garth Lagerwey. “We look forward to returning to Arizona again in 2013, and expect that many of our region’s fans and media that cover RSL will also make the trip to see us participate in the second-ever Desert Diamond Cup.”

Seattle Sounders FC, who are new to the Desert Diamond Cup, are managed by two-time MLS Coach of the Year (1999 and 2008) Sigi Schmid. Seattle has been one of Major League Soccer’s most impressive teams, averaging more than 40,000 fans per game this season and have made the playoffs in every year since their league debut in 2009.  The team is led by two of the most talented strikers in MLS, Colombian Fredy Montero and US star, Eddie Johnson.

“We are very excited about playing in the Diamond Cup next preseason,” said Owner and General Manager Adrian Hanauer. “The facilities at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium and weather make this a good fit for us. The opportunity to play quality competition will help prepare us for the regular season.”

About FC Tucson

FC Tucson, established in 2010, is committed to bringing the highest caliber of competitive soccer to Tucson and establishing a successful and long-lasting source of pride for city, county, state and country. FC Tucson owns FC Tucson Soccer, Tucson’s top-level soccer team and the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, a Major League Soccer pre-season tournament.  Our owners, coaches, players and staff will play to win in sport, business and community connection.   We recognize that our quality, commitment and passion for the game will guide our success and establish deep bonds with our stakeholders as we strive to be recognized and respected locally, nationally and internationally. To stay up to date on what is going on with the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, check out the team’s website at www.fctucson.com. You can also visit the team’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FCTUCSON and follow all of the news related to FC Tucson on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FC_Tucson.

This was a great tournament last year, which allowed a number of the new RSL players, trialists, draft picks and others to get some great matches in and I believe the level of play and competition help RSL get off to a very good start in the 2012 MLS season.  They also did a great job of streaming the matches so fans who were unable to travel were also able to enjoy the action.  For sports fans looking for a good winter vacation, think about the Rugby 7′s tournament in Las Vegas from the 8-10th and then a trip to Tucson for the Desert Diamond Cup starting just 3 days later.

That’s How I See It

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