After a brief recovery period in Kansas City, Sporting KC is back in Arizona prepping for The Desert Diamond Cup, a 10-day tournament in the desert.
Kansas City, in the tournament for the first time since winning it in 2011, kicks off the tournament against the Colorado Rapids on Wednesday at 6:30 p.m. central).
So, what is the Desert Diamond Cup?
It is an annual preseason tournament hosted by FC Tucson (of the Premier Developmental League) held at the Kino North Sports Complex. This is its fourth year.
Six teams will compete — Sporting KC, Seattle Sounders, Real Salt Lake, New England Revolution, Colorado Rapids and FC Tucson — in three group matches from Wednesday to Feb. 25, with the finals on Feb. 28 pitting the two teams with the best record in the group. Every team is guaranteed four games — the consolation games will pit the teams that finish third-fourth and fifth-sixth.
Has Kansas City appeared in the tournament before?
Yes, back in 2011, Kansas City won the four-team group cup on aggregate goals scored. Kansas City defeated the Arizona Sahuaros (a National Premier Soccer League team currently on hiatus) 6-1 and drew with the New York Red Bulls 2-2.
What is Kansas City’s schedule?
Game 1: vs. Colorado Rapids, Wednesday at 6:30 p.m.
Game 2: vs. Seattle Sounders, Saturday at 9 p.m.
Game 3: vs. Real Salt Lake, Wednesday Feb. 25 at 9 p.m.
Will those games be broadcast?
Yes, you can find all of the matches streaming on SportingKC.com. It will also be the first chance to hear the new commentary team of Nate Bukaty and Andy Gruenebaum.
What’s new for SKC during this round of preseason training?
Matt Besler and Jon Kempin have returned from U.S. national team camp. There are several players recovering from injury — including Graham Zusi and Ike Opara — would could see their first preseason action as well.
New midfielder Soni Mustivar will join the team after his P-1 Visa comes through.
Is Peter Vermes done shaping his team?
The manager told SportingKC.com that “there are still more additions to come.”
There are five trialists still in the mix: goalkeeper Matt Bersano, defender Amadou Dia, defender/midfielder Marcel De Jong, midfielder Christian Duke and forward James Rogers. De Jong is a Canadian international who last played for FC Augsburg in the German Bundesliga. He is currently unattached after his contract ended at the start of 2015.
Players who trained with KC during the first stint who have left the club included goalkeeper Kevin Corby; defenders Brent Griffiths and Daniel Rodriguez; midfielders Santiago Otero, Felipe Hernandez (a 16-year-old Sporting KC academy prospect) and Tony Rocha (KC’s fourth-round pick in the 2015 MLS Draft); and forward Alex Dixon.