By Jeremiah Paschke-Wood | Only Love Soccer
Saturday I was able to head down to Tucson to attend the final and third-place matches of Tucson’s possibly turning annual preseason tournament, dubbed this year the Desert Diamond Cup. I attended last year, when Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake joined FC Tucson and the Arizona Sahuaros for a round-robin tournament. This year they eliminated the local clubs – which I kind of wished they hadn’t – and moved the tournament to Tucson Electric Park (I think it’s called something else now, but it was TEP when I lived there, so TEP it stays.) I liked it at the smaller stadium, though seeing as how attendance was announced as over 10,000, it was probably a wise move on their part. Here is my verdict on the games.
Third place match: Real Salt Lake 1, New York Red Bulls 0.
I was actually a little surprised that both teams fielded largely first teams in this game. Thierry Henry played the whole match, as did Kyle Beckerman, who is apparently the Cactus Pricks’ (FC Tucson’s supporters club. Yes, you heard that right) favorite player. Of the two teams, RSL, as you’d expect, looked the more composed of the two, and new signing Terakazu Tanaka should compete with Beckerman for most ridiculous hair on the team. The Red Bulls were a little wasteful, though Kenny Cooper and Henry combined nicely on a couple occasions. The match’s lone goal came from Chris Wingert, and it was a firebolt. (I just made that word up. Watch it here – goal comes at about the :35 mark.) The atmosphere was good, but the lack of local teams (or Beckham or Donovan or Keane, though I’ll get to that in a minute) made it a little flat sometimes.
Championship match: LA Galaxy 0, New England Revolution 0 (Galaxy win 4-2 on penalties)
OK, a big boo goes to the Galaxy, who didn’t play any starters except Juninho and Todd Dunivant in the match. I know the Galaxy have a Champions League match coming up on Wednesday, but throw us a bone here, guys, OK? Hey, I’m a big fan of Brian Perk and Jack McBean too, but still. As far as the Revs go, though their tournament was a surprisingly good one, they still couldn’t beat the Galaxy’s fourth string with their starters. It’s been mentioned in other blogs, but Saer Sene – a new signing at forward – was unconvincing despite being a foot taller than anyone on the Galaxy. By the end of the match, we were ready to go – it was cold and dull. Sort of a anticlimactic end to what has been a good tournament, with several good goals. On to the regular season!
Oh, one more thing: The second match had twin refs. No joke.