Real Salt Lake have held two preseason camps at their Arizona base.
Courtesy of Real Salt Lake

Four MLS teams to compete in Tucson Desert Diamond Cup

NEW YORK – Four MLS teams will square off this preseason in the second annual FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup in Arizona.

Real Salt Lake, the New York Red Bulls, New England Revolution and reigning MLS Cup champions LA Galaxy announced on Thursday that they will participate in the round-robin tournament,which runs from Feb. 22 until March 3, as they make their final preparations for the 2012 MLS season.

RSL’s general manager Garth Lagerwey was certainly delighted to see the Utah outfit included in the star-studded tournament.

“Real Salt Lake is honored to be invited to the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup tournament, a competition that should provide an outstanding opportunity for our squad to wrap up the 2012 preseason,” he said in a statement. “The strong field assembled will ensure a solid test from a competition standpoint and should spark interest from our fans, whom we encourage to make the trip to Tucson to grow the tournament and get a sneak peek at their Claret-and-Cobalt in advance of the MLS regular season.”

The matches will take place at the Kino Veteran Memorial Stadium in Tucson, with the first games kicking off on Feb. 22. Two double-headers will take place on Feb. 25 and Feb. 29, while the championship game and third-place game will close out the tournament on March 3.

LA head coach Bruce Arena, who won his record third MLS Cup as a manger in 2011, is a huge admirer of the tournament and believes it prepares his side well for the grueling season ahead.

"The LA Galaxy are excited to participate in the second annual FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup,” he said in a press release. “Tucson is an outstanding venue for our preseason as we prepare for the CONCACAF Champions League and the MLS regular season. We look forward to the outstanding weather, facilities and hospitality that Tucson has to offer and look forward a challenging competition."

The 2011 Desert Cup was the first such event that Tucson hosted. It featured Sporting Kansas City and the New York Red Bulls along with hosts FC Tucson and the Arizona Sahuaros. The tournament was a huge success in terms of both attendance and preparation for the upcoming MLS season.

FC Tucson managing partner Chris Keeney is excited to welcome four of the most recognizable franchises in MLS to his side's training complex in 2012.

“FC Tucson is proud to host these four legendary MLS teams to compete in this year’s FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup,” he said. “These highly successful franchises have visionary owners, tremendous athletes and passionate fan bases. We look forward to welcoming them to Tucson to train, compete and enjoy our world-class amenities. This tournament will be a celebration for soccer fans throughout the great state of Arizona, Northern Mexico and all across the United States.”  

Tickets for the Desert Diamond Cup go on sale on Monday, Dec. 12.

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