Defending M.L.S. Champions Make Presence Felt in AZ by Joey Putrelo; KAMP News Team sports writer and DJ
It was an exciting two weeks here in Southern Arizona as FC Tucson hosted the Desert Diamond Cup at Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium, home of the Tucson Padres. The Los Angeles Galaxy brought the Cup home after a 0 (4) - 0 (2) penalty shootout victory over the New England Revolution in the championship match on Saturday. Other teams that participated were Real Salt Lake who finished in third, and the New York Red Bulls who were at the bottom. Kino, usually a place to play baseball, was modified into a high quality soccer field for the four teams to compete on.
It was evident that the city was ecstatic to host this soccer tournament; household names in Tucson such as Kwang An, owner of multiple restaurants here, were in attendance. An wasn’t just there for doing business with Greg Foster, head of civic and media relationships of FC Tucson, though.
“I wanted to become a part of a great sports town like Tucson,” said An.
The other big names at the Desert Diamond Cup were actual players for the teams competing. They included former Arsenal star Thierry Henry (NY Red Bulls), American hero Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy), and perhaps most importantly, David Beckham (LA Galaxy). In fact, Beckham was seen around the bar scene in Tucson, and even had a short chat at one of the bars with Sean Hogan, head coach of the Arizona Wildcats ice hockey team. Although Landon Donovan did not play because of bronchitis, he still was at the stadium before each game signing autographs and visiting his adoring fans.
On the day of the tournament’s final match, the attendance was at 10,172 according FC Tucson’s official Facebook page. That match was between the New England Revolution and the Los Angeles Galaxy. Beckham and Donovan did not play in that game, to the disappointment of many fans.
One fan posted on the FC Tucson Facebook page, “Why didn't Beckham even show? If I had gotten a ticket for one of the early round games I could understand a bigger name not being there, but a lot of the reason most people wait for the day with the Consolation and Championship game to go is because you expect the bigger names will definitely play.”
Regardless of not having Beckham and Donovan on the field, the Galaxy emerged victorious 4-2 in a penalty shootout after going 90 minutes without either team scoring a goal. It was a sweet victory for the Galaxy as they avenged last week’s 3-2 loss in the opening match of the tournament to the Revolution. The heroes of Saturday’s championship match for the Galaxy was midfielder Marcelo Sarvas, who notched the game- winner in the PK, as well as Galaxy goalie Brian Perk who made two saves in the PK. The Galaxy will open their official 2012 season on March 10th where they will once again face Real Salt Lake at the Home Depot Center in Los Angeles. The Revolution will begin their season on March 10th as well, when they take on the San Jose Earthquakes at Buck Shaw Stadium in San Jose.
Official scores from the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup:
Wednesday, February 22nd 2012:
New England Revolution 3, Los Angeles Galaxy 2
New York Red Bulls 0, Real Salt Lake 1
Saturday, February 25th, 2012
Los Angles Galaxy 2, Real Salt Lake 0
New York Red Bulls 0, New England Revolution 2
Wednesday, February 29th, 2012
Real Salt Lake 1, New England Revolution 2
Los Angeles Galaxy 1, New York Red Bulls 2
Saturday, March 3rd, 2012
Real Salt Lake 1, New York Red Bulls 0
Los Angeles Galaxy 0 (4), New England Revolution 0 (2)