Tucson is rapidly becoming the western hub of Major League Soccer preseason training. It already is hosting the 2013 Desert Diamond Cup, a tournament featuring the New York Red Bulls, Seattle Sounders, Real Salt Lake and the New England Revolution from Feb.13-23.
Late last week, it was announced that five more clubs will play preseason matches at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson -- the Colorado Rapids, Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes, Houston Dynamo and Sporting Kansas City.
Those five will join the Revolution in a series of friendlies from Jan. 29 to Feb. 8. FC Tucson, the local Premier Development League club whose owners are among those responsible for attracting MLS teams to the area, will also take part in the "Desert Friendlies."
Portland vs. Colorado, a pair of teams who didn't make the MLS playoffs this season, will kickoff the series on Jan. 29 at 11 a.m. at Kino Field No. 5. It will be the first of three matches played that day.
While individual teams have yet to formally announce their 2013 preseason training plans -- the MLS playoffs are in the quarterfinal round at present -- fans of the nine clubs can make plans to be in Arizona for some time early next year.
San Jose, Houston, Seattle, New York, Real Salt Lake and Sporting KC are all playoff teams this year. All have spent at least a little time training in Arizona before the regular season in years past.
Here's a schedule of matches (best to check with the individual teams, the FC Tucson website or the MLS website to confirm these as the event gets closer).
Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2013 (all matches at Kino Sports Complex, Field No. 5):
11 a.m. - Portland Timbers vs. Colorado Rapids
3 p.m. - Sporting KC vs. Houston Dynamo
6 p.m. - San Jose Earthquakes vs. New England Revolution
Thursday, January 31, 2013
6 p.m. -- Houston Dynamo vs. Colorado Rapids
Friday, February 1, 2013
6 p.m. -- Sporting KC vs. Portland Timbers
Saturday, February 2, 2013
11 a.m. -- San Jose Earthquakes vs. Houston Dynamo
6 p.m. -- Colorado Rapids vs. TBA
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
11 a.m. -- Seattle Sounders FC vs. Portland Timbers
Friday, February 8, 2013
11 a.m. -- FC Tucson vs. Portland Timbers