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Pics: Houston, Red Bulls come away with wins in MLS preseason

Three former FC Tucson players took field for major soccer teams on Wednesday

You can call it a "soft opening." The promotional materials say that the Desert Diamond Cup begins on Saturday, but six soccer teams were in action on Wednesday night.

Houston Dynamo 2 (Torres 54’, Elis 89’) – New England Revolution 0

Mexican star Erick “El Cubo” Torres opened up Houston’s scoring ledger in this year’s Desert Diamond Cup a nighttime match. El Cubo scored after stripping New England defender Trevor Haberkorn leaving him all alone against keeper Brad Knighton.

New England’s second-half offensive line consisted of new acquisitions Brian Wright and Tristan Bowen. They only managed to generate one chance against Houston in their time on the field.

Former Grand Canyon University standout and Phoenix native Jose Rodriguez has been on trial with New England, but did not see action in the match.

New York Red Bulls 2 (Kljestan 25’, 43’) – New York City FC 0

Sacha Kljestan’s two goals were all that the Red Bulls needed to beat what was termed an “experimental” line-up of NYCFC in a mid-day match.

As befitting coach Jesse Marsch’s steep ramp up for the Red Bulls’ Champions League contest next Wednesday, his players were all anticipated starters, with nine of his 11 players playing a full 90. Only Bradley Wright-Phillips and Derrick Ettienne Jr. left the match in the waning moments of the match. NYCFC coach Patrick Viera, on the other hand, elected to play a lineup mostly of draft-picks and trialists.

Former TSA goalkeeper Luis Robles, along with former FC Tucson players Aaron Long and Justin Bilyeu, were among those who played the full 90-minute match.

Sporting Kansas City 1 (Didic 51’) – Colorado Rapids 1 (Powers pk 90’+)

Old Tucson preseason hands Sporting opened up the Desert Diamond Cup with a draw against the Colorado Rapids. Canadian defender Amer Didic, who plays for SKC’s USL affiliate Swope Park Rangers, scored the lone goal Sporting as regulars Graham Zusi, Benny Feilhaber and Dom Dwyer all made their preseason debuts for the squad.

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Colorado’s goal was something of a milestone. The penalty was awarded after the referee consulted the “Video Assitant Referee” system. The goal is the first to result from a VAR review.

Former FC Tucson player Christian Volesky was brought on at halftime to replace midfielder Gerso Fernandes.

Ted Prezelski writes about all things soccer, fútbol and piłka nożna for TucsonSentinel.com and at the blog How Flair is Punished (mindingthe.net).


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Joshua Pearson/TucsonSentinel.com

Kansas City defender Jimmy Medranda attempts to tackle the ball away from Colorado midfielder Dillon Powers.

Desert Diamond Cup 2017

  • Schedule
  • All matches at Kino North Stadium
  • Saturday, Feb. 18
  • New England Revolution v Colorado Rapids, 1 p.m.
  • New York Red Bulls vs. Sporting Kansas City, 3:30 p.m.
  • New York City FC vs. Houston Dynamo, 6 p.m.
  • Saturday, Feb. 25
  • Fifth place vs. sixth place, 1 p.m.
  • Third place vs. fourth place, 3:30 p.m.
  • Championship game, 6 p.m.