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New York City FC adds preseason game against New York Red Bulls to schedule

Derby Day in the Desert? Maybe.

Andy Marlin-USA TODAY Sports

It is Monday, January 16, 2017, and the New York Red Bulls preseason schedule still makes no sense.

To be fair to RBNY, that is one man's opinion - and not the opinion of someone who had any input into the Red Bulls' preseason plans. The Red Bulls surely do have preseason plans: Jesse Marsch made mention of them at the MLS SuperDraft. (Around the 2:40 mark below)

And the Red Bulls surely do have reasons for those plans. But there is no published preseason schedule from RBNY just yet, and one cannot reasonably expect the club to explain its reasoning for a plan not yet made public.

But if the published plan looks like the one that can be pieced together from the schedules of other teams - there will be a few questions for RBNY when the time comes.

In the meantime, another data point has popped up. New York City FC has added a game against RBNY in Arizona to its schedule. February 15 at the Kino North Stadium in Tucson, Arizona.

Add that to what we already think we know, and you get a preseason schedule for RBNY that might look something like this:

Jan 23: players report; travel to Arizona (?)

Jan 27: vs. Portland Timbers in Tucson

Jan 31: vs. Real Salt Lake in Tucson

February 3: vs. New England Revolution in Casa Grande

Feb 4 - Feb 14: back in Harrison?

Feb 15: vs. NYCFC in Tucson

Feb 18: vs. Sporting Kansas City in Tucson

Feb 22: vs. Vancouver Whitecaps in CONCACAF Champions League

Feb 25: play TBD in Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson

March 2: @ Vancouver Whitecaps in CONCACAF Champions League

You can see the question the Red Bulls will be asked whenever it is that they publish their schedule.

RBNY is committed to playing Desert Diamond Cup - a preseason exhibition tournament for MLS teams seeking warm-weather training. DDC clashes with CONCACAF Champions League, which is an actual competitive tournament of the sort preseason is supposed to help a team get ready to play.

Playing in Arizona from late January to early February? Fine: the team has to get fit and ready somewhere, and Harrison will be more than a little cold. Playing in Arizona from February 15 through February 25? Um...your season starts on February 22, RBNY.

Even being in Arizona on February 15 to play NYCFC seems to be cutting it a little fine. Something has gone wrong if you're still preseasoning when the season starts. A week before the first competitive game of the year is the traditional cut-off for preseason friendlies. The 'Caps are playing their last preseason game on February 15 - and that is in Portland, which is not nearly as far from Vancouver as Tucson is from Harrison. So maybe playing NYCFC is the way RBNY intends to get itself motivated for the games that count  that start a week later.

It still seems very likely that RBNY will, in effect, have two preseasons: one for the squad involved in CCL and one for the players auditioning for USL contracts with NYRB II or spots on the fringes of the MLS roster. In which case, the NYCFC friendly on February 15 might be more of a NYCFC-vs-NYRB-II match-up than the Derby Day in the Desert suggested at first glance.

But we won't know what exactly RBNY plans to do until it confirms its schedule and gets its preseason underway.