MLS Preseason: Tournaments kick off in Orlando and Tucson

Claudio Bieler .

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

By DAN ITEL

It’s MLS preseason tournament time, and a meeting of Cup champions will highlight the early proceedings as action kicks off today and runs through next week.

Cup champions Sporting Kansas City will meet the Supporters’ Shield holders New York Red Bulls in the six-team Disney Pro Soccer Classic at Orlando’sĀ ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at 3 pmĀ (streaming live at SportingKC.com). It’s a tantalizing preview of two of the sides once again expected to compete in the Eastern Conference.

“It’s a bit less of the physical workout and more of then approach of the game and tactics and how we want to go into each of these games coming up,” New York manager Mike Petke said of the team’s approach to the upcoming tournament in an interview on NewYorkRedBulls.com fresh off his team’s 2-1 preseason win last week over the Philadelphia Union.

Kansas City is looking to pick up right where they left off from their Cup victory over Real Salt Lake last December with another high stakes competition looming in the CONCACAF Champions League round of 16. Sporting will play host to Liga MX side Cruz Azul on March 12 in the first leg at Sporting Park.

The day will also feature a showdown between two of MLS’ new-look sides when Toronto FC takes on the Columbus Crew at 1 pm (live at MLSsoccer.com). Other games in the tournament include USL PRO’s Orlando City vs. Philadelphia Union (6 pm) and the Montreal Impact vs. Brazilian side Fluminese FC in the nightcap at 8 pm (live at MLSsoccer.com).

The Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Ariz., also gets started with three games Wednesday. Chivas USA, looking to continue their positive start this preseason thanks to a handful of goals from new striker Adolfo “Bofo” Bautista, takes on tournament host and Premier Development League side FC Tucson in the tournament opener at 4 pm. The Rojiblancos are fresh off a 2-1 win over the Colorado Rapids on Sunday, which included the former Mexican international star’s second set-piece goal of the preseason.

Chivas’ game will be followed by Colorado Rapids vs. Chicago Fire (6:30 pm, live at Chicago-Fire.com) and Real Salt Lake vs. New England Revolution (9 pm).

The four-team Carolina Challenge Cup in Charleston, S.C., gets started Saturday with the Houston Dynamo taking on D.C. United and USL PRO side Charleston Battery facing the Seattle Sounders. The Portland Timbers’ four-team Rose City Invitational kicks off at Providence Park on Sunday, with Jamaican side Portmore United playing the Vancouver Whitecaps and then the Timbers facing off against the San Jose Earthquakes.

What do you think of the slate of preseason tournament games?

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17 Responses to MLS Preseason: Tournaments kick off in Orlando and Tucson

  1. Alex H says:

    They should make the US Open cup the pre-season tournament. Nothing like a little hardware to get raise the level of competition, put some fannies in the seats and maybe get a bit of TV coverage. Even better the MLS teams would be able to go 100% rather than fielding a B team like they do when cup fixtures intrude on the regular season.

    • EricJ says:

      Teams tend to use preseason to see trialists play and make final roster decisions which would be awkward if they were attempting to win a 100+ year old trophy…

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        But the dirty secret is most first division teams don’t play their first team in cups until they see the money being on the line. They run out the reserve side with a sprinkling of starters and hope not to slip on a banana peel.

        The way my local Dynamo handle it is no different.

        I could also see an eligibility enforcement issue in policing rosters that are by their very nature in flux at this stage. Not only are people trialing — in terms of roster priorities — but players are bouncing around, getting traded, getting released. If a MLS team plays you are you ineligible if they cut you and your new team is still in? CCL deals with the issue by allowing winter changes but you’re talking you could be in Houston one week and Dallas the next, and maybe Dallas needs to evaluate you quick.

    • drew11 says:

      Teams wouldn’t go 100%. Preseason is about getting fit and filling out the squad.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      One reason USOC is timed as it is, is because of the college involvement in the amateur/PDL teams. At this point in the year NCAA teams are in spring season. Can’t get PDL until April/May, season for them starts May, ie, “after school.”

      Also, big cups are generally in-season events, and I’m not sure an indefinite cup schedule is the sort of thing teams want with a programmed preseason. Would everyone competing have to clear certain weekends but only some teams that advance actually use the gap? Lot of teams have a concept, I’m looking at rookies for games x through y, the veterans start playing game z, the kids go to the bench and veterans are up to regular season playing time by game q. Not sure they’d like having unreliability throwing off their timelines.

      It would also make it hard to have abroad tours if everyone has to be state-side to compete in the cup.

      I do, however, think that the US could easily hold a warm weather international soccer tournament for preseason sides domestic and foreign in these months. A pumped up version of one of these bite size tournaments. I’d prefer the novelty of that over a USOC tournament that devolves into MLS matchups by the late rounds most seasons.

      • beto says:

        +1 and the amateur divisions hold qualifying tournaments in the Spring/early summer.. I think the timing of the USOC is fine and there is no problem with MLS teams using reserves until the last few stages. no different than anyother cup around the world…

        as every tier of US Soccer fills out the USOC will only get better and better.

  2. SilverRey says:

    Has anyone been able to get the feeds working yet? I’m just getting ‘Technical Difficulties…’

  3. SilverRey says:

    They finally get the feed working, show the first 10 min., then it skips forward 15 minutes and BOOM it’s 2-1 Crew. Anyone know who scored?

  4. SilverRey says:

    End of the first half – still 2-1 Crew.
    Ok, starting to piece it together now. Higuain with a beautiful curling shot from the left, and then Williams with a Bomb!!!! Couldn’t catch who got the shot for Toronto.
    Go to 27:50 to see the goal highlights – link to youtube.com

  5. SoB says:

    So basically every game is being streamed except for The Union. That’s just great. Reason?

  6. SilverRey says:

    And the feed is down again…. Anyone know if USL ran into this many problems streaming their games last year?

  7. SilverRey says:

    Starting lineups from Adam Jardy –
    Toronto XI: Cesar, Hagglund, Caldwell, Henry, Morrow, Jackson, Osorio, Bradley, Rey, De Rosario, Gilberto.
    Crew starters: Lampson; (R-L) Williams, Slogic, Wahl, Francis; Trapp, Tchani; Jimenez, Higuain, Meram; Arrieta. 4-2-3-1. Jimenez on R.

  8. SilverRey says:

    Feed still down :(
    Living vicariously through Adam Jardy
    Viana to Bedell – Crew 3-1
    Second-half lineup for Crew: Lampson; Barson, George, Parkhurst, Sweat; Baiden Viana; Oduro, Speas, Anor; Bedell.

  9. SilverRey says:

    Well the first game the Crew played against Malmo was pretty unwatchable because it kept stalling midplay. This one was unwatchable simply because they didn’t show it. 30min of the first half aired and a whopping 2 min of the second half. I appreciate the idea MLS (these games haven’t always been available in the past), but…

  10. beto says:

    i like the inclusion of teams from other leagues both in USL, NASL and abroad. Hopefully more in the future