TUCSON, Ariz. – The Sounders FC will continue to put the final touches on preparations for the 2013 MLS season with its first match of the Desert Diamond Cup tonight against the New England Revolution.
Like the Sounders, though, the Revolution is looking to establish more of their identity as preseason rolls along, as are the New York Red Bulls and Real Salt Lake. This makes the Desert Diamond Cup the perfect venue for those preparations as the four teams gear up for the start of the regular season on March 2.
However, each team involved slightly different motivations at hand. While the Sounders open March 2 at home against the Montreal Impact, they will then turn around quickly and meet Tigres from Monterrey, Mexico, in the CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals on March 6, with the return leg coming on March 12 at CenturyLink Field.
“We are looking forward to good preparation for our season. We also have an important game in CONCACAF and these are going to be three very good games to prepare ourselves,” Mauro Rosales said.
The Red Bulls, meanwhile, open their season with consecutive road matches on the West Coast, starting against the Portland Timbers at Jeld-Wen Field on March 3, then against the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium on March 10 before finally hosting DC United on March 16.
Real Salt Lake also starts with two road matches as well, kicking off the season March 3 against the Earthquakes, then going East to meet DC United on March 9. They won’t have their home opener until March 16 against the Colorado Rapids.
“This is our last preparation before the season starts, so we’re just focused on putting good performances out there,” RSL goalkeeper Nick Rimando said.
The Revs, on the other hand, don’t start their 2013 campaign until March 9 when they face the Chicago Fire at Toyota Park and will also play at PPL Park against the Philadelphia Union on March 16 before their home opener March 23 against Sporting Kansas City.
For each team the Desert Diamond Cup will bring great opportunities for the players on the field. For that reason, players and coaches alike look forward to the tournament.
“Players get excited about coming here. I think that’s what’s most important,” New England head coach Jay Heaps said. “When you have you’re preseason, you have those first couple of weeks where you are trying to get everybody fit and mentally prepared. They have this to look forward to – playing in front of the crowds against great teams.”
The tournament opens when the Sounders face the Revolution at 4 p.m. PT, followed by the matchup between RSL and the Red Bulls at 6 p.m. PT. Each match will be streamed on MLSsoccer.com, with each Sounders match featured live on SoundersFC.com.