FC Tucson has announced that 12 teams will partake in the 2017 MLS Preseason in Tucson. The preseason will take place over two periods, with the Desert Friendlies running January 27-February 5, and the Desert Diamond Cup from February 15-25.
The Desert Friendlies will include seven MLS clubs: Seattle Sounders FC, Portland Timbers, Sporting Kansas City, San Jose Earthquakes, New England Revolution, Real Salt Lake, and a seventh team to be announced.
Fans will get a taste of a Cascadia Cup clash during the friendlies when Seattle Sounders FC face off against their rivals to the south, Portland Timbers, in a match that always features fantastic fan support.
The Desert Diamond Cup, the premier MLS preseason tournament, returns for its sixth year. This year’s edition features the most MLS sides, and the most compelling slate of teams, in the event’s history.
Joining Sporting Kansas City and New England Revolution for the Cup are Houston Dynamo, New York Red Bulls, Colorado Rapids, and New York City Football Club, who will be making their first appearance in Tucson.
In its sixth year, FC Tucson, Visit Tucson, and Pima County are continuing their partnership with MLS as the Western Hub of Preseason. The Desert Diamond Cup has come from humble beginnings, with Sporting Kansas City and New York Red Bulls playing the first edition at Hi Corbett Field in 2011, but has since turned into the primary destination for MLS sides during preseason.
This year’s lineup includes an exciting number of players that are household names in American soccer, including Andrea Pirlo and David Villa (NYCFC), Tim Howard and Jermaine Jones (Colorado), Dom Dwyer and Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City), Kyle Beckerman and Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), Chris Wondolowski and David Bingham (San Jose), Bradley Wright-Phillips and Sacha Klestjan (NYRB), and many more.
Tucson soccer fans will also have the opportunity to welcome home several familiar faces during preseason. Ricardo Velazco (RSL), Justin Bilyeu (NYRB), and Justen Glad (RSL) will all experience a homecoming of sorts, with Velazco and Bilyeu having started their careers with FC Tucson, and Glad being a native Tucsonan.
“This event is important to the community because it has brought groups together that are vital for the success of Tucson as a city,” FC Tucson General Manager Jon Pearlman said. “Through private and public partnership, great sponsors, the work of Pima County, the City of Tucson, Visit Tucson, and the Town of Oro Valley, FC Tucson is proud to again be the MLS Western Hub of Preseason and bring the beautiful game to Southern Arizona.”
Additionally, the Pima County Stadium District is happy to announce the overhaul of two lighted training fields in the Kino South Sports Complex. Fields 11 and 12 will now boast a world-class surface to replicate the conditions of the fields currently on the North side. These new fields make possible expansion of MLS preseason and the Desert Diamond Cup and, more importantly, increase access to high quality soccer pitches for youth and adult players in Tucson.
TICKET PACKAGE INFO: For more information, visit www.fctucson.com/tickets.
2017 Desert Diamond Cup (All kickoffs are Mountain Standard Time)
Saturday, Feb. 18th
- New England Revolution vs. Colorado Rapids, 1:00 p.m.
- New York Red Bulls vs. Sporting Kansas City, 3:30 p.m.
- New York City Football Club vs.Houston Dynamo, 6:00 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 25th
- 5th place team vs. 6th place team, 1:00 p.m.
- 3rd place team vs. 4th place team, 3:30 p.m.
- 1st place team vs. 2nd place team, 6:00 p.m.
*Desert Friendlies Schedule TBA soon