When the Seattle Sound-ers FC headed to Tucson a couple of weeks ago, coach Sigi Schmid could have told his charges "been there, done that."
Only the "been there" part was decades ago and the "done that" half involved high school and youth matches.
Both seem a world away from today, when Seattle will play the New York Red Bulls at 7 p.m., in the third Desert Diamond Cup doubleheader. Real Salt Lake will take on the New England Revolution in the opener at 5 p.m.
Well before he guided teams to two MLS Cups, four U.S. Open Cups and a CONCACAF Champions Cup, Schmid came to Tucson as UCLA's coach to check out a talented Salpointe Catholic High School player.
"That's a long time ago, that's going back into the late '80s," Schmid said after a Sounders practice Monday. "I know (Salpointe coach) Wolfgang Weber had a player - Trong Nguyen. We looked at him. … Unfortunately at the time, he played the position of another player we had who eventually played for the U.S. national team - Joe-Max Moore.
"I've always respected Wolfgang and what he's done. Obviously, Salpointe is a focal point from the high school level."
"Years later, when my son was playing," Schmid added, "we used to come out to a tournament to play. ... That was like a yearly trek. That was in the early 2000s. The city's gotten a lot bigger than I remember it, for sure. It seemed like every two seconds you were driving past the University of Arizona."
Weber knows how important Schmid has been to American soccer.
"I've known him going back to the '70s," Weber said.
"Sigi is what we call, affectionately, one of the dinosaurs of American soccer. He has been instrumental to the game in the U.S."
Figuring out the final
By winning its first two matches and picking up six points in the Desert Diamond Cup, Seattle locked up a spot in Saturday's final.
The Sounders' foe will be determined tonight, with all three teams still having a shot at playing in the 6 p.m. game Saturday.
New England is in second place with three points. Real Salt Lake and New York have one point apiece. If two or more teams are tied on points at the end of tonight's action, the order of tie-breakers is goal difference, total points versus tied teams, goal difference versus tied teams and most goals versus tied teams.
If New England wins tonight, it will lock up the other spot in the final. The Revolution can also advance if it draws and New York draws or loses.
Real Salt Lake can advance if it beats New England and New York draws or loses.
New York will need to win big and hope things go its way in the other match.
Desert Diamond Cup standings
Team Wins-draws-losses Goals for-against Goal difference Points
x-Seattle 2-0-0 4-1 +3 6
New England 1-0-1 3-3 0 3
Real Salt Lake 0-1-1 3-4 -1 1
New York 0-1-1 3-5 -2 1
x-advanced for final
• What: Desert Diamond Cup
• When: Real Salt Lake vs. New England Revolution, 5 p.m.; Seattle Sounders FC vs. New York Red Bulls, 7 p.m.
• Where: Kino Stadium