New York Red Bulls vs. Real Salt Lake
Desert Diamond Cup
Kickoff: 10:00 ET, Wednesday, February 22
Kino Sports Compex, Tucson, AZ
SBN RSL perspective: RSL Soapbox
Form: RBNY WDD | RSL DD
Media Coverage: mlssoccer.com
The FC Tuscon Desert Diamond Cup, a four team preseason tournament with other prominent Major League Soccer heavyweights such as Real Salt Lake, the LA Galaxy and New England Revolution (?), begins tonight as the New York Red Bulls will compete for their first mostly meaningless trophy of 2012.
With Thierry Henry rejoining New York after a relatively successful loan to Arsenal, the only absent Red Bulls will be Juan Agudelo and Luke Rodgers. Agudelo was called into the U-23 National Team camp and is close to being fully recovered from an off-season ankle injury, while Rodgers is still trying to resolve an issue renewing his visa
The Red Bulls first opponent in the Desert Diamond Cup, Real Salt Lake, aren't missing players due to national team call-ups (Luis Gil was not included in Caleb Porter's list of camp invitees), but an accumulation of injuries has left many of their key contributors sidelined or working to regain full match fitness. The RSL players recovering from or dealing with injuries are Nat Borchers, Jamison Olave, Kyle Beckerman, Will Johnson, Javier Morales, Chris Wingert, Tony Beltran, and Alvaro Saborio.New York, on the other hand, has waived more players during the preseason than they have lost to injury, but what their lineup will look like tonight is unclear as they also have a friendly scheduled against Pumas UNAM tomorrow night and play in their second Desert Diamond Cup match against the LA Galaxy on Saturday. With a number of trialists still traveling with the team fighting for roster spots, even if Hans Backe elects to give starting eleven caliber players time on the field together, it's likely that New York will utilize more substitutions than usual during this preseason tournament.
Kickoff tonight is at 10 PM (EST) and the match will be streamed live at MLSSoccer.com.
Are you expecting New York to win this preseason tournament? What are some things that you're going to be watching for? Share your thoughts below.