Nov 2, 2012 1:19 AM
Tucson - FC Tucson announced today that it has finalized contracts to invite five more MLS clubs to train and play preseason matches in Tucson. The Desert Friendlies Presented by FC Tucson will feature nine friendlies open to the public over six dates in the lead up to the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup
The five teams will be: Colorado Rapids, Houston Dynamo, Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting Kansas City.
In addition to the five teams training in Tucson two Desert Diamond Cup participants will also play matches in Tucson: New England Revolution and Seattle Sounders FC.
"This kind of event doesn't happen without hard work behind the scenes and Rick Schantz has been constantly on the phone with all of these clubs to ensure they have a world-class training experience," said FC Tucson co-managing member and general manager Jon Pearlman. "Not only will the teams enjoy themselves, but soccer fans in Tucson are going to love the up close view of professional soccer.
"The field will be set up just like they were for FC Tucson matches this summer. There will be limited seats, but those who come will be just a few feet from the sidelines. They will get to experience a match closer than they ever could at an MLS stadium and it's going to be very affordable for the entire family."
Tickets will go on sale in November.
Schedule of matches*
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
11 a.m. Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids
3 p.m. Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo
6 p.m. San Jose Earthquakes vs. New England Revolution
Thursday, January 31, 2013
6 p.m. Houston Dynamo vs. Colorado Rapids
Friday, February 1, 2013
6 p.m. Sporting KC vs. Portland Timbers
Saturday, February 2, 2013
11 a.m. San Jose Earthquakes vs. Houston Dynamo
6 p.m. Colorado Rapids vs. TBA
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
11 a.m. Seattle Sounders FC vs. Portland Timbers
Friday, February 8, 2013
11 a.m. FC Tucson vs. Portland Timbers
*All matches will be played at Kino North, Field #5
Sporting Kansas City will be making its third trip to Tucson for preseason training. Sporting Kansas City is the 2012 Eastern Conference champion and is managed by Peter Vermes. The club features one of MLS's best goalkeepers, Jimmy Nielsen and league super star Kei Kamara.
The San Jose Earthquakes are also returning to Tucson after a brief training stint last season. The Earthquakes are the 2012 Western Conference Champions and the Supporters' Shield winners for finishing with the best record in all of MLS. The Earthquakes are managed by Frank Yallop and led on the field by MLS's leading goal scorer Chris Wondolowski and U.S. Men's National Team member Alan Gordon.
The Colorado Rapids, who won the 2010 MLS Cup, are managed by Oscar Pareja who is entering his second season as the Rapids' Head Coach. The squad features defender Drew Moor, who was the only field player in MLS to play every minute of the 2012 regular season, newcomer Martín Rivero who led the Rapids in assists, and goalkeeper Matt Pickens who set new club records in 2012 for all-time shutouts and wins.
The Houston Dynamo (MLS Cup winners in 2006 and 2007) are managed by Dominic Kinnear and features MLS mainstay and former U.S. Men's National Team member Brian Ching, U.S. Men's National Team member Ricardo Clark and leading goal scorer Will Bruin. The Dynamo, who were MLS Cup runners up last season, opened a brand new soccer-specific stadium this year: BBVA Compass Stadium. Houston finished fifth in the Eastern Conference in 2012, the team's sixth playoff appearance in the last seven seasons.
Entering their third MLS season, the Portland Timbers will be led by new head coach Caleb Porter in 2013. Porter takes the helm of the Timbers after seven seasons at the University of Akron, where he became one of the most successful coaches in NCAA history and won a national championship in 2010. The Timbers feature midfielder Darlington Nagbe, a two-time selection to MLSsoccer.com's 24 Under 24 as one of the best young players in MLS. The Timbers won the 2012 Cascadia Cup, a regional competition against 2013 FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup participant Seattle Sounders FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC.