Preview: RSL to face Seattle in Desert Diamond Cup Final
TUCSON, Ariz. – Real Salt Lake will take on Seattle Sounders FC in the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup Final on Saturday night at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium. The match will be broadcast nationally on NBC Sports Network beginning at 6 p.m. MT.
The Claret-and-Cobalt only barely qualified for Saturday’s final, edging its way into the tournament championship by scoring two goals in the final three minutes to beat the New England Revolution 3-2 in the team’s Group Stage finale on Wednesday night.
RSL went 1-1-1 in its first three games of the tournament, drawing New York 2-2 in its Desert Diamond Cup opener and losing to Seattle 1-2 last Saturday, Feb. 16. Seattle scored in the 65th and 71st minutes of that match, holding on to defeat RSL after Claret-and-Cobalt rookie MF John Stertzer pulled one back in the 86th.
Real Salt Lake Head Coach Jason Kreis is expected to run out his best available starting lineup on Saturday. The starters will likely play the majority of the match, as Kreis will probably want to get them as close to full match fitness as possible ahead of the team’s March 3 opener at 2012 Supporters’ Shield winners San Jose Earthquakes.
Seattle, on the other hand, will feature a second-team lineup on Saturday night after Sounders Head Coach Sigi Schmid ran out his best XI for a friendly match against Mexican side Veracruz on Friday night. Schmid played his starters on Friday in order to give them a look against a Mexican team ahead of their CONCACAF Champions League Quarterfinal series against Monterrey-based club Tigres UANL.
Real Salt Lake will return to Utah on Sunday. The team will start prepping for its March 3 MLS regular season opener at San Jose early next week.