Now that's a birthday party
Ethan Kelt decided to have his 11th birthday party at Kino Stadium on Saturday night - in style, no less - arriving in a 30-foot-plus motor home and setting up in the parking lot by 2 p.m. His mom, Lana, said she wasn't sure how many people were coming but they already had enough folks at 5 p.m. to start up a soccer match, which they had on a small space of grass just outside the east entrance.
"We decided to do this for him a while ago," Lana said. "His birthday is actually (today), but this is how we wanted to celebrate it. Ethan's an awesome soccer fan."
I hope he had coverage
In the 22nd minute of the first match, New York forward Kenny Cooper and Real Salt Lake defender Jamison Olave clashed while going over the touchline trying to track down a long ball. With his momentum carrying him over the line, Cooper ran into an Audi that was parked on the field as part of a display in the VIP area. The 6-foot-3-inch, 210-pounder didn't seem the worse for wear. Neither did the car.
Heaps once played hoops
New England Revolution coach Jay Heaps was on the Duke basketball team that faced Arizona in the 1997 Maui Invitational. He didn't play in the game but "I just remember beating them and that I had just joined the team from soccer." The Blue Devils won 95-87 in the championship game in Lahaina, Hawaii.
"I remember the most recent one where Derrick (Williams) was dunking all over us," Heaps said of the Wildcats' 93-77 win in a Sweet 16 game in Anaheim, Calif., last year. "I was at that game, watching an Arizona team just dominate in the second half."
The big number
Saturday marked the 28th day in the last 33 that Real Salt Lake has been in the Grand Canyon State. RSL spent time in Casa Grande before coming to Tucson for the Desert Diamond Cup.
Marquez leaves a mark
Rafa Marquez came on as a substitute to start the second half. He was shown a yellow card in the 77th minute on a late sliding tackle.
About 15 members of the Angel City Brigade, a Los Angeles Galaxy supporters group, made the eight-hour drive east to attend Saturday night's matches and enjoy a little pregame revelry in the Kino Stadium parking lot with FC Tucson's supporters group, the Cactus Pricks.
No Beckham, Donovan
The roster for Los Angeles in Saturday night's championship game was missing a few first-choice names. Midfielders David Beckham and Landon Donovan were not listed, nor were starting keeper Josh Saunders and forward Mike Magee.
He said it
"It's been superb. I don't really have anything bad to say about it. Facilities have been great. … We'll hope to be invited back for next year."
- Coach Jason Kreis on Real Salt Lake's stay in Tucson.
Learning on the Web
All eight matches at Kino Stadium were broadcast on the mlssoccer.com website. Using four cameras and a half-dozen staffers, the webcast team brought viewers all over the world spectacular goals and equally spectacular views of the Catalina Mountains.
"It's gone pretty good for the first time we've ever put together a production like this," said Jason Saghini, director of video content. "I think we've learned as we've gone along. We've gotten better each time."
Where to next?
The teams will be heading far and wide this morning. Los Angeles travels to Toronto FC for the first leg of a CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinal Wednesday and then comes home to take on Real Salt Lake in their MLS regular-season opener Saturday.
That same day, New England will open on the road against the San Jose Earthquakes. New York will open next Sunday at FC Dallas.