The New York Red Bulls' 2017 preseason will finish with this Desert Diamond Cup classification game against New England Revolution. For reasons that aren't entirely clear, this is the match-up to decide the fifth and sixth placed finishers in the six-team field. RBNY finished with the fourth-best record in the tournament, but winless NYCFC has been leapfrogged to the third-place playoff against Sporting Kansas City because...perhaps because this isn't a real tournament.
No team will lose any sleep over where it finished in the 2017 Desert Diamond Cup. The contestants simply want to get fit and ready for their respective MLS campaigns.
RBNY's season has, of course, already started - it is involved in the 2016-17 CONCACAF Champions League quarterfinals, a real tournament for which there are actual consequences to winning and losing. This DDC game will therefore be the third and last preseason friendly played by a squad of NYRB II players and trialists, with a handful of RBNY Academy prospects thrown in for good measure.
Both preceding games have seen the II-teamers struggle to contain MLS opposition, though a second-half fightback for a 2-2 draw against Houston Dynamo was encouraging. But NYRB II isn't playing this game so much to win as to identify the players who will fill out its squad for the 2017 USL season.
New York Red Bulls (II) vs New England Revolution
When: 3:00 pm, Eastern; Saturday, February 25, 2017
Where: Kino Sports Complex, Tucson, Arizona
Online: NewYorkRedBulls.com, RevolutionSoccer.net, and MLS YouTube channel