When the team sheets are announced for tonight's FC Tucson match, a few of the club's faithful sitting in the stands will probably do double takes.
They'll hear the names of a few former men in black when the Real Phoenix player list is boomed over the public address system before the 7:30 p.m. kickoff of FC Tucson's nonleague match at Kino Sports Complex North Field No. 5.
Real Phoenix "is more or less a collection of the best players that coach (Mike) Duhaney could find in the Phoenix area," FC Tucson coach Rick Schantz said. "The neat thing about that is that a lot of them have worn FC Tucson jerseys before. That's kind of a kudos to our organization as well, as those players want to come down and play. They didn't hesitate when they got this opportunity to play against us."
Schantz said former FC Tucson players Conor Spence, Dom Papa, Imad Id-Deen and Dre Saldana are on the Real Phoenix roster.
Spence, who was a rock in the FC Tucson backline last season, began this year with the club but saw action in only one 2013 USL Premier Development League match.
"We had to release Spence because he took a coaching job up in the Phoenix area and couldn't quite commit as much as he really wanted to FC Tucson," Schantz said. "So I'll be really excited to see him play again on our field."
Papa was a stalwart in FC Tucson's first two seasons. Id-Deen played in a couple of exhibition matches for the club in 2012, and Saldana was with the team in 2011.
Real Phoenix, which played indoors in the Professional Arena Soccer League over the winter but is not playing in an outdoor league this summer, gives FC Tucson some competition but still allows for a break from a strenuous USL PDL season in which every match holds vital points to reach the playoffs.
"The starters will play" tonight, Schantz said. "But the sense of urgency might be off a little bit.
"The fans will get to see the future of FC Tucson. We're going to have some of our youngsters out there. … For me, it's great because it's a reward opportunity for guys that have been there every day. That's what these games are all about, getting these reserve players a chance to play and showcase their ability. We always want to win though."
• FC Tucson defeated a Real Salt Lake-Arizona Academy team 4-3 in a scrimmage Friday morning at Kino Sports Complex North.
Ricardo Velazco converted a penalty for the game-winner in the 89th minute of the scrimmage, which was divided into three 30-minute periods in the already baking sun.
• Who: Real Salt Lake women vs. Tucson Soccer Academy FC, 5:15 p.m.; Real Phoenix vs. FC Tucson, 7:30 p.m.
• Where: Kino Sports Complex North Field No. 5
Dave Ord can be reached at 573-4145 or firstname.lastname@example.org