The New York Red Bulls play FC Tucson in a preseason friendly on February 11, 2017. The game has become more important to RBNY, as the late cancellation of a match against Sacramento Republic means it is one of just two preseason friendlies in which the Red Bulls will have the chance to get their first-choice players on the field together prior to the season-opening CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals that commence on February 22.
RBNY needs match-day minutes to try to maximize fitness and sharpness for CCL, and FC Tucson has generously reworked its own schedule to accommodate the needs of its MLS guest. Beyond that, PDL's FC Tucson is a bit of a mystery opponent, at least from Once A Metro's perspective. RBNY's current roster includes two former Tucson players - Aaron Long and Justin Bilyeu - so the club isn't all that mysterious to the Red Bulls.
Since joining PDL in 2012, Tucson has consistently been one of the better teams in the league. It appears regularly in US Open Cup, has won its Division in PDL for the last three seasons, and made the league's Western Conference playoff final in each of those years. Consistency is an admirable trait for a team that essentially remakes its roster every year: PDL sides are mostly made up of college players seeking professional-grade summer soccer without jeopardizing their NCAA eligibility.
They're doing something right in Tucson.
To find out a little more about RBNY's latest preseason opponent, OaM turned to FC Tucson Supporters' Group The Cactus Pricks. But before we found out anything about FCT, we needed to know more about TCP.
1. What's The Cactus Pricks' story?