United States national teamers Brad Evans and Eddie Johnson scored one goal each in leading Sounders FC to a 2-0 win over the New England Revolution on Wednesday in the opening match of the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Ariz.
Seattle took the lead in the 27th minute as Evans nailed a penalty kick that followed a handball in the box.
Johnson doubled the lead in the 45th minute, cutting in from the right side and then using his left foot to curl the ball into the top far corner.
The Sounders will return to training Thursday and Friday. They will resume Desert Diamond Cup competition at 3 p.m. Saturday against Real Salt Lake.
The competition continues next Wednesday with a match against the New York Red Bulls and concludes Feb. 23 with the championship and third-place games.
Lineup: Here is how the Sounders opened for their Desert Diamond Cup opener vs. New England: GK Gspurning; D Johansson, Traore, Hurtado, Gonzalez; M Rosales, Alonso, Evans, Zakuani; F Estrada, Johnson.
Here’s what coach Sigi Schmid said yesterday when asked about his goals for this match: “It’s to keep possession of the ball, hold onto it and make sure we see our share of the ball and get our cohesion down. … We always look for a result. We always want to win even if it’s a practice game so we are always looking for a result. We want to push some guys physically so we want to get them into the 60-70 minute range, so we want to get that part of it done. We still need to look at some players and make some decisions so we are trying to do that as well. … Right now the emphasis is on getting the group cohesively ready but they can’t go 90 minutes so those last 30 minutes are for people to come up and show what they can do.”
Preview: The Sounders begin the Desert Diamond Cup competition in Tucson today, meeting the New England Revolution at 4 p.m.
Here’s a preview story I wrote in today’s paper, looking at Tucson’s hopes of emerging as a sort of Cactus League of MLS preseason training.
And here’s a Cup preview from the Sounders:
FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup
The Seattle Sounders FC will participate in the Third Annual FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup. The three other MLS clubs participating in the tournament include the New England Revolution, New York Red Bulls and Real Salt Lake. The teams will play a round-robin format through the first three dates with the tournament final and third-place game played on Saturday, February 23. The matches will take place over the course of four match days at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Fans can purchase tickets to the Desert Diamond Cup by visiting www.FCTucson.ticketsocket.com.
The Sounders FC will participate in the Desert Diamond Cup for the first time. The Revolution, who reached last year’s final, the Red Bulls and Real Salt Lake have all participated in the tournament previously. Sounders FC previously participated in preseason tournaments in 2010 (La Manga Cup) and 2011 (Cascadia Summit).
Schedule of Matches (all times local)
Wednesday, February 13
New England Revolution vs. Seattle Sounders FC, 5 p.m.
New York Red Bulls vs. Real Salt Lake, 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 16
Seattle Sounders FC vs. Real Salt Lake, 4 p.m.
New York Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution, 6 p.m.
Wednesday, February 20
Real Salt Lake vs. New England Revolution, 5 p.m.
Seattle Sounders FC vs. New York Red Bulls, 7 p.m.
Saturday, February 23
3rd Place vs. 4th Place, 4 p.m.
1st Place vs. 2nd Place, 6 p.m.