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FC Tucson announces schedule, teams for MLS preseason
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FC Tucson announces schedule, teams for MLS preseason

In addition to two Desert Diamond Cup sides, 5 teams will come to Tucson for preseason workouts

  • courtesy FC 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 general manager Jonathan 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.

You are Number Six

This would be an expanded list from last year, with only two teams doing preseason camp here, San Jose and Kansas City, in the weeks before the Desert Diamond Cup. In addition, FC Tucson traveled up to Casa Grande last year to play against New England and second division team Edmonton FC.

Casa Grande, with its expansive soccer facility, is still expected to be a popular spot for teams, and organizers are dangling the possibility of a sixth team participating in preseason (a good assumption that that’s the “TBA” on the schedule) that would travel from Casa Grande.

This would not be unprecedented. The New York Red Bulls trained in Casa Grande and bused it to Tucson for two Desert Cup matches in 2011.

A bit busy

The teams participating for the most part have just a simple press release on their website announcing the dates. Others have nothing. In at least one case that’s understandable: the San Jose Earthquakes have a tough postseason to worry about plus the possibility that they have to host the MLS Cup final. Let’s just say that next February is far from their minds.

2013 Preseason MLS Schedule

  • 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

The teams

  • Portland Timbers
  • 2012 Record: 8-16-10 (34 points) eighth in Western Conference, seventeenth overall
  • Founded in 1974 as a NASL franchise, continued intermittently from 1985 to 1990 in different minor leagues, reestablished in 2001 as a USL team, joined MLS in 2011
  • Coach: Gavin Wilkinson (interim), University of Akron coach Caleb Porter will take over team in 2013
  • Honors: USL A-League Commissioner’s Cup (2004, 2009)
  • Houston Dynamo
  • 2012 Record: 14-9-11 (53 points), fifth in Eastern Conference, ninth overall
  • Founded in 2005 when owners of the Earthquakes moved team from San Jose
  • Coach: Dominic Kinnear
  • Honors: MLS Cup (2006, 2007)
  • Colorado Rapids
  • 2012 Record: 11-19-4 (37 points), seventh in Western Conference, fourteenth overall
  • Founded in 1996
  • Coach: Óscar Pareja
  • Honors: MLS Cup (2010)
  • Arizona connections: Former Tucson Amigos player Pablo Mastroeni is the team captain, and Gilbert born Tony Cascio scored three goals for the team this year.
  • San Jose Earthquakes
  • 2012 Record: 19-6-9 (66 points), first in Western Conference, first overall
  • Founded in 1994 as San Jose Clash, known as San Jose Earthquakes after 2000, franchise moved to Houston in 2005, but “new” Earthquakes started in 2006.
  • Coach: Frank Yallop
  • Honors: MLS Cup (2001, 2003), Supporters’ Shield (2005, 2012)
  • Arizona connection: Gilbert native Alan Gordon had 25 appearances for the team this year.
  • Sporting Kansas City
  • 2012 Record: 18-7-9 (63 points), first in Eastern Conference, second overall
  • Founded in 1995 as the Kansas City Wiz, changed name to Kansas City Wizards in 1996, Sporting Kansas City in 2011
  • Coach: Peter Vermes
  • Honors: MLS Cup (2000), Supporters’ Shield (2000), US Open Cup (2004, 2012)
  • New England Revolution
  • 2012 Record: 9-17-8 (35 points), ninth in Eastern Conference, sixteenth overall
  • Founded in 1995
  • Coach: Jay Heaps
  • Honors: US Open Cup (2007), Superliga (2008)
  • Arizona connection: FC Tucson player Kareem Smith made an appearance with their reserve squad late this season.

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