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Preseason giving players with local ties a chance at pros

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Soccer notes

Preseason giving players with local ties a chance at pros

Our roundup of Tucson players in the pros includes locals playing in Canada, Finland & Croatia

Since the MLS season is almost upon us, we resurrect our feature on Tucson players. I have left off former FC Tucson player Michael D'Arrigo and Rincon High School standout Minh Vu since neither has been re-signed by their USL clubs thus far.

Maz Alvarez, F - Sacramento Republic (USL)

The USL season starts later than the MLS season, but that isn't stopping Sacramento from already rolling out a preseason. Alvarez didn't take the field in a match against Fresno Fuego on Feb 7 (a 2-2 tie) and line-ups were not available for a 4-0 win over the Ventura County Fusion on Feb 9. Although the line-up was not available for the VC Fusion match, both matches were reportedly a chance for the team to test trial players.

The team next takes on UC Santa Barbara on Wednesdays, with matches later in the month against the San Jose Earthquakes and New York Cosmos.

Nat Borchers, D - Portland Timbers (MLS)

Borchers captained the team in the February 7 match in Tucson, a 1-1 draw with the Houston Dynamo. The team gave him a rest in their final match in the Old Pueblo, Tuesday's match against San Jose.

Connor Brandt, D – New York City FC (MLS)

Brandt played in the second half in two matches last week during the team's stay in Manchester, England, a 2-0 win over St. Mirren FC and a 2-0 loss to Brøndby IF. The team next travels to South Carolina for a preseason tournament hosted by the Charleston Battery.

Dakota Collins, F - NK HAŠK (Treća HNL, Croatia)

Collins is currently in preseason with Zagreb-based club HAŠK, which plays in the west division in the third tier of Croatian football.

Renae Cuéllar, F - Washington Spirit (NWSL)

Cuéllar is still recovering from a meniscus tear in her right knee that has kept her out of action for Mexico and took her out of the line-up for the Spirit last season.

Otis Earle, D – FC Dalllas (MLS)

Details are sketchy about the lineups of FC Dallas's first two preseason matches, but he was listed as a bench player in their 4-0 loss to Orlando Ciy and didn't play in a mach against Swedish club Jönköpings Södra IF.

Details of last week's ATX Pro Challenge in Austin were easier to come by. Earle played 34 minutes on the back line in a match against Columbus on Friday, and ten minutes in the final of that tournament on Sunday, a 1-0 loss to DC United.

Justin Glad, D - Real Salt Lake (MLS)

Glad has missed much of preseason due to rehabbing after knee surgery.

Aaron Long – Seattle Sounders FC (MLS)

Seattle's lone preseason match was a closed door scrimmage on February 6 against the LA Galaxy. Long played a short stint in the second half and his team lost 2 -1.

Long and the Sounders next take the field on Wednesday against a little club called FC Tucson.

Samantha Monahan, M - FK Honka (Naisten Liiga, Finland)

Honka went into the winter break in third place and begin play again on February 28 against Turun Palloseura.

Luis Robles, G - New York Red Bulls (MLS)

Robles wore the captain's arm band for a one of two matches the Red Bulls played on Feb 5, a 2-0 win over Toronto FC. The second match, a 4-1 loss against NASL side Jacksonville Armada, featured mostly trialists.

The Red Bulls will return to preseason action on Wednesday for a match against Danish club HB Køge as part of the IMG Suncoast Pro Classic.

Billy Thompson, G - OC Blues (USL)

Last year's netminder for FC Tucson is getting a run-out with OC Blues. The team had a preseason match with Real Salt Lake on Thursday (that team's last before they come to Tucson), but line-up details for the Blues were not released.

Donny Toia, D – Impact de Montréal (MLS, Canada)

Toia came on in the 60th minute in the only match of the Impact’s preseason so far, a 1-0 loss to Cruz Azul on Tuesday. A Friday match against Club Proyeca Tecamachalco, a third tier Mexican club, was cancelled. The Impact will continue to train in Mexico in anticipation of next week’s CCL match against Pachuca.

Ricardo Velazco, M – Real Salt Lake (MLS)

Velazco figured in one of two preseason matches RSL played last week. He played the first half of a match against UC Irvine and got an assist on Luke Mulholland's goal. RSL finished off their stay in Southern California with a win over the OC Blues. 

Their next match is in Tucson against the New England Revolution on the opening day of the Desert Diamond Cup on Wednesday. The game is scheduled for 6 pm at Kino North Stadium.

Christian Volesky – Portland Timbers FC (MLS)

Volesky only figured in one match during Portland's time in Tucson, a tie with Houston on February 10. The team next takes the field against Norwegian club Stabæk Football in the opening match of the Simple Invitational on Feb 22.

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