MLS: LA Galaxy one of 4 to play here

2011-12-09T00:01:00Z 2011-12-09T10:49:31Z MLS: LA Galaxy one of 4 to play hereDaniel Berk Arizona Daily Star Arizona Daily Star
December 09, 2011 12:01 am  • 

Standing on the stage at Desert Diamond Casino's Club Monsoon, FC Tucson managing partner Chris Keeney wanted the press conference announcing the field for the 2012 Desert Diamond Cup to have a real soccer feel to it.

"If the fans here begin standing up, cheering and dancing, that's fine with me," Keeney said smiling to the 30 or so fans in attendance. "If you need to boo, that's fine, too."

There was no reason to boo on this day though.

Keeney and FC Tucson announced the four Major League Soccer teams that will participate in the second annual Desert Diamond Cup.

They are: the New England Revolution, Real Salt Lake, the New York Red Bulls and the Los Angeles Galaxy.

The Desert Diamond Cup will open with a pair of games on Feb. 22 and will also feature double-headers on Feb. 25 and Feb. 29. On March 3, the first- and second-place teams will play for the tournament championship, with a third-place game also scheduled that night.

Teams will be given three points for a win and one point for a tie. All games will be played at Kino Stadium. There is currently no television deal, but organizers are hoping work one out.

The highlight of the Cup is expected to be the showdown between the Galaxy, the 2011 MLS champion, and the Red Bulls, featuring one of the league's top players in Thierry Henry. That game is set for 8 p.m., on Feb. 29.

English star David Beckham's contract with the Galaxy is expiring, but he has not ruled out signing a new deal with Los Angeles.

FC Tucson managing partner Greg Foster said two more MLS teams will likely also come to Tucson for preseason training, but will not participate in the Desert Diamond Cup.

Foster said MLS would eventually like to have two designated locations for spring training and the league is interested in making Tucson one of those spots. Before that happens, Foster knows there would have to be more facilities available for teams.

He said Tucson currently couldn't host more than six teams at a time and even that is pushing it.

"They've challenged us," Foster said. "They've given us some time to make that happen. We have to find a way to accommodate 10 teams."

Foster said FC Tucson had to turn down a few teams that were hoping to train in Tucson because of facility limitations.

"If we really want to establish ourselves as one of the two hubs, we're going to need to accommodate them better," Foster said. "I'm completely disappointed we said no to any teams. I'd like to accommodate as many teams as the league would give us."

Foster said MLS teams could arrive as early as Jan. 30 to begin training.

Desert Diamond Cup

A look at the schedule for the Desert Diamond Cup. Tickets on sale Monday at www.ticketreturn.com or www.fctucson.com

All games at Kino Stadium.

Wednesday, Feb. 22

• New England Revolution vs. Los Angeles Galaxy, 6 p.m.

• New York Red Bulls vs. Real Salt Lake, 8 p.m.

Saturday, Feb. 25

• Los Angeles Galaxy vs. Real Salt Lake, 6 p.m.

• New York Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution, 8 p.m.

Wednesday, Feb. 29

• Real Salt Lake vs. New England Revolution, 6 p.m.

• Los Angeles Galaxy vs. New York Red Bulls, 8 p.m.

Saturday, March 3

• Third-place game, 6 p.m.

• Championship game, 8 p.m.

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