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’re 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.”
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