The Main Stream

Mar 4, 2011 7:26 PM

Thousands turn out for MLS Desert Cup

TUCSON - A two day soccer event here in the old pueblo is here.

The 2011 Major League Soccer Desert Cup will feature the New York Red Bulls and Sporting Kansas City. It's the first time MLS teams have ever played in Tucson.

Soon after the Desert Cup was first announced ticket sales started rolling.

Lea Marquez Peterson, the President of the Tucson Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, played a big part in selling tickets. She said, "It has been a steady stream of people since the moment we mentioned it. People were not just buying one ticket but 20 for an entire youth team, or the entire family"

And in the last few days leading up to kickoff organizers said sales sky rocketed even more and its not just people from Tucson.

Greg Foster is the manager with FC Tucson. He said, "We're hearing about people coming up from Hermosillo, and other towns and cities from northern Mexico so we'll get fans from there. People are coming from western New Mexico, Yuma and Phoenix."

And he said that's exactly what's needed to put on a great show for the MLS teams. Foster said, "I think this is going to look like big soccer match, feel like a big match and I think its going to be impressive for these MLS teams, especially for a spring training situation.

And even before things got going the Kansas City team said it's already impressed and the odds of a return trip for future spring training games are good.

Team Administrator Rick Dressel said, "As long as the event goes well and the field is in good condition and we see signs of other good fields around the area I think the chances are very very good."

Major news for not just soccer fans, but all of Tucson.

Maldn Kozak is the owner of Maracana Indoor Sports Arena. He said, "Spring Training would bring a lot more teams to here and that's a lot of revenue. It would be really good for the entire Tucson community."

Now it's not set in stone yet, a lot is riding on the success of the Desert Cup.

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