Desert Diamond Cup opens with fist flying

Buena High School grad and New York Red Bulls goalie Luis Robles missed opening night of the Desert Diamond Cup with a sore back.
Buena High School grad and New York Red Bulls goalie Luis Robles missed opening night of the Desert Diamond Cup with a sore back.


Real Salt Lake 2, New York Red Bulls 2

A team comprised mainly of reserves staked RSL to a two-goal lead on the New York Red Bulls inside three minutes. They then spent the rest of the game holding on, as New York eventually fought back for a 2-2 draw in Tucson on Wednesday night at the Desert Diamond Cup.

Defensive miscommunication led to the two early goals for RSL. First it was left back Connor Lade who was the culprit, leaving his headed backpass short and putting it on a platter for RSL striker Joao Plata. The little Ecuadorian made no mistake, taking a touch before slotting home to the back post after just 18 seconds.

Plata was involved in the second as well. After being slotted through on goal his well-struck shot was parried into the path of onrushing midfielder Cole Grossman, who picked his spot on the rebound to complete the dream start.

That second goal woke New York, who were fielding largely a First XI side. They took control of the game and pressed for the remainder of the first half, coming close several times before former RSL defender Jamison Olave finally broke through just before the break. Olave got lost far post on a corner kick, eventually putting home a knock-down that made it 2-1 at the break.

Supplemental draft pick Michael Bustamante completed the comeback with a nicely taken one-touch finish midway through the second half. Bustmante steered home a cross from left back Roy Miller on the overlap, a clinical bit of transition play.

RSL head coach Jason Kreis put on many of his veterans for the final 30 minutes, while New York's Mike Petke played mostly reserves through the whole second half.

The homecoming of Sierra Vista's Luis Robles was put on hold until the weekend. The Buena grad ('02) and goalkeeper for the Red Bulls told Tucson News Now's David Kelly that he tweaked his back during practice on Tuesday.

Robles sat out the match against Real Salt Lake but says he expects to play when both teams return to action on Saturday. RSL will face Seattle at 6 pm ET, while New York take on New England in the nightcap.

Seattle Sounders 2, New England Revolution 0

The Seattle Sounders rode first half goals from Eddie Johnson and Phoenix native Brad Evans (Mountain Pointe '03), both recently returned from US national team duty, to a 2-0 win over the New England Revolution in the opening game of the Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Ariz., on Wednesday.

Both teams fielded strong lineups to start the game, and Seattle got their first goal after holding the upper hand in the opening parts of the game. Mauro Rosales slammed his free kick from just outside the area into the wall in the 27th minute, but the referee Juan Guzman adjudged a New England player to have blocked the shot with his hand, and Evans converted the resulting spot kick.

The game was punctuated by a scuffle late in the first half, following a late challenge from behind by Osvaldo Alonso on Chris Tierney, which forced the New England left back to be taken out. Alonso was subbed out as was Clyde Simms for his reaction to the challenge. Both teams continued with 11 men despite actions that probably would have led to red cards during the regular season.

Johnson then added Seattle's second just before the break after cutting in from the right and firing home a left-footed shot.

New England gave Seattle substitute goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann some work to do in the second half, most notably during a late goalmouth scramble which saw a shot deflected onto the crossbar, but the Revolution couldn't find a way through a stout Sounders backline.

A late clash between Marc Burch and Sainey Nyassi saw both players given straight red cards, forcing both teams to play the final 12 minutes of regulation with 10 men apiece, and though New England had plenty of good looks, their young forward line was unable to make an impact on the scoresheet.

Here's the remaining schedule of games:

  • Saturday, Feb. 16                 4 p.m.             Seattle Sounders vs. Real Salt Lake
  • Saturday, Feb. 16                 6 p.m.             New York Red Bulls vs. New England Revolution
  • Wednesday, Feb. 20            5 p.m.             Real Salt Lake vs. New England Revolution
  • Wednesday, Feb. 20             7 p.m.             Seattle Sounders vs. New York Red Bulls
  • Saturday, Feb. 23                 4 p.m.             MLS 3rd Place vs. MLS 4th Place
  • Saturday, Feb. 23                 6 p.m.             MLS 1st Place vs. MLS 2nd Place

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David Kelly contributed to this story.