Desert Diamond Cup: RSL, Seattle into Saturday title game
FINAL: Seattle 2, New York 0
The Seattle Sounders continued to roll through the 2013 preseason, braving rain, snow and dark of night on Wednesday to lay a 2-0 hurting on the New York Red Bulls at the Desert Diamond Cup. Seattle got a goal on either side of halftime to stay undefeated in the tournament.
Sigi Schmid mixed-and-matched starters and reserves, and it was two of the latter who combined to produce the first goal 36 minutes in. Trialist Travis Bowen laced a shot at New York ‘keeper Luis Robles, who could only punch it away. It fell into the path of Seattle winger Alex Caskey, who fired home from close range for the 1-0 lead.
It was a couple of guys who are expected to player larger roles that combined for the second goal. Captain Mauro Rosales got loose down the right side, and his cross was cleared poorly by the RBNY defense. Mario Martinez, unmarked 22 yards from goal, picked the clearance out of the air with his left foot and smashed it past Robles for the 2-0 lead.
The Sounders had already punched their ticket for the final thanks to wins over New England and RSL in the first two games. They’ll face RSL again for the title, which will be broadcast on NBCSN on Saturday, Feb. 23 at 9 pm ET.
FINAL: RSL 3, New England 2
A pair of late strikes from Alvaro Saborio and Khari Stephenson handed Real Salt Lake a 3-2 comeback win over the New England Revolution in a sometimes-snowy Desert Diamond Cup encounter.
RSL opened the scoring when Sebastián Velásquez unleashed a knuckling shot from outside the area that New England keeper Bobby Shuttleworth couldn't hold on to, leaving newly-signed rookie Devon Sandoval with the easy task of finishing things off.
New England turned things around though, scoring twice in the first 12 minutes of the second half to take the lead.
The Revs leveled things up just four minutes in second half when Diego Fagundez broke to the endline and cut back for Andy Dorman, who finished off the move from close range. Not long after, unsigned Supplemental Draft pick Gabe Latigue delivered an inch-perfect free kick into the box that A.J. Soares redirected into the net to give his side a one-goal advantage.
The 2009 MLS Cup champs had the last laugh, though, with Saborío setting himself up to lace one into the top corner with a few minutes remaining, before Stephenson took his time to place a cutback from Ned Grabavoy just under Shuttleworth and into goal from 18 yards out.
Both teams will feature in the final stages of the tournament on Saturday, though the opponents are yet to be determined. Depending on New York's result against Seattle, RSL could feature in the final against the Sounders, while New England will play in the third-place game.