Sun Cup: Real Salt Lake earns Tucson soccer trophy despite loss on final day
Toia, Glad make appearances; Kreilach earns MVP
The 2021 edition of the Visit Tucson Sun Cup closed Saturday night with Real Salt Lake winning the coveted preseason trophy. RSL’s two wins earned them six points to finish at the top of the table, despite their loss on the final day of the tournament.
Real Salt Lake 0 - LA Galaxy (Vasquez 42’)
The Galaxy entered the match after a morning controversy when midfielder Sebastian Lletget posted a video on Instagram that contained an anti-gay slur. Despite this, Lletget had the start for the evening match.
RSL’s Anderson Julio and Justin Meram both had good looks at the Galaxy goal early in the half, but it was the Galaxy that scored first. Mexican star Chicharito combined with Lletget to set up a goal for former Barcelona player Victor Vazquez.
Catalina Foothills grad Justen Glad appeared in the match for RSL, as did former Pima College star Donny Toia who played all 90 minutes and fouled Chicharito.
In addition to hoisting the Sun Cup, Damir Kreilach, RSL’s Croat midfielder, won the tournament’s Most Valuable Player award.
Colorado Rapids 1 (Barrios 20’) - Phoenix Rising SC 0
The match looked to start well for Phoenix, but poor finishing left Colorado’s lone goal to be the decider.
The goal came after Younes Namli took a free kick in Phoenix’s final third. Michael Barrios collected the pass from the Danish loanee and put it in the back of the net.
As the match progressed, the phrase “the beautiful game” didn’t seem to apply to the scrappy, dull mess that happened on the field. Numerous cards and warnings were issued to players for violent play as the match wore on. One unidentified trialist for Rising left the match after vomiting on the field.
The match mercifully ended around 10 p.m. Former FC Tucson player Jon Bakero played 50 minutes.
Preseason is over for the three MLS teams that played in the match. Saturday, April 17, will be the debut of the 2021 Colorado Rapids as they play against FC Dallas. The Galaxy’s start will wait until the following day for a game at Miami. RSL gets a week off and starts their season on the 24th in Minnesota. Phoenix opens their USL season for a possibly fraught match against San Diego on April 30.