The Desert Friendlies Presented by FC Tucson will feature MLS action up close

Tucson, AZ (Thursday, November 1, 2012) — FC Tucson announced today that it has finalized contracts to invite five more MLS clubs to train and play preseason matches in Tucson. The Desert Friendlies Presented by FC Tucson will feature nine friendlies open to the public over six dates in the lead up to the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup

The five teams will be: Colorado Rapids, Houston Dynamo, Portland Timbers, San Jose Earthquakes and Sporting Kansas City.

In addition to the five teams training in Tucson two Desert Diamond Cup participants will also play matches in Tucson: New England Revolution and Seattle Sounders FC.

“This kind of event doesn’t happen without hard work behind the scenes and Rick Schantz has been constantly on the phone with all of these clubs to ensure they have a world-class training experience,” said FC Tucson co-managing member and general manager Jon Pearlman. “Not only will the teams enjoy themselves, but soccer fans in Tucson are going to love the up close view of professional soccer.

“The field will be set up just like they were for FC Tucson matches this summer. There will be limited seats, but those who come will be just a few feet from the sidelines. They will get to experience a match closer than they ever could at an MLS stadium and it’s going to be very affordable for the entire family.”

Tickets will go on sale in November.

Schedule of matches*
Tuesday, January 29, 2013
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

*All matches will be played at Kino North, Field #5

Sporting Kansas City will be making its third trip to Tucson for preseason training. Sporting Kansas City is the 2012 Eastern Conference champion and is managed by Peter Vermes. The club features one of MLS’s best goalkeepers, Jimmy Nielsen and league super star Kei Kamara.

The San Jose Earthquakes are also returning to Tucson after a brief training stint last season. The Earthquakes are the 2012 Western Conference Champions and the Supporters’ Shield winners for finishing with the best record in all of MLS. The Earthquakes are managed by Frank Yallop and led on the field by MLS’s leading goal scorer Chris Wondolowski and U.S. Men’s National Team member Alan Gordon.

The Colorado Rapids, who won the 2010 MLS Cup, are managed by Oscar Pareja who is entering his second season as the Rapids’ Head Coach. The squad features defender Drew Moor, who was the only field player in MLS to play every minute of the 2012 regular season, newcomer Martín Rivero who led the Rapids in assists, and goalkeeper Matt Pickens who set new club records in 2012 for all-time shutouts and wins.

The Houston Dynamo (MLS Cup winners in 2006 and 2007) are managed by Dominic Kinnear and features MLS mainstay and former U.S. Men’s National Team member Brian Ching, U.S. Men’s National Team member Ricardo Clark and leading goal scorer Will Bruin. The Dynamo, who were MLS Cup runners up last season, opened a brand new soccer-specific stadium this year: BBVA Compass Stadium. Houston finished fifth in the Eastern Conference in 2012, the team’s sixth playoff appearance in the last seven seasons.

Entering their third MLS season, the Portland Timbers will be led by new head coach Caleb Porter in 2013. Porter takes the helm of the Timbers after seven seasons at the University of Akron, where he became one of the most successful coaches in NCAA history and won a national championship in 2010. The Timbers feature midfielder Darlington Nagbe, a two-time selection to MLSsoccer.com’s 24 Under 24 as one of the best young players in MLS. The Timbers won the 2012 Cascadia Cup, a regional competition against 2013 FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup participant Seattle Sounders FC and Vancouver Whitecaps FC

About FC Tucson
FC Tucson, established in 2010, is committed to bringing the highest caliber of competitive soccer to Tucson and establishing a successful and long-lasting source of pride for city, county, state and country. FC Tucson owns FC Tucson Soccer, Tucson’s top-level soccer team and the FC Tucson Desert Diamond Cup, a Major League Soccer pre-season tournament. Our owners, coaches, players and staff will play to win in sport, business and community connection. We recognize that our quality, commitment and passion for the game will guide our success and establish deep bonds with our stakeholders as we strive to be recognized and respected locally, nationally and internationally. To stay up to date on what is going on with the FC Tucson, check out the team’s website at www.fctucson.com. You can also visit the team’s Facebook page at www.facebook.com/FCTUCSON and follow all of the news related to FC Tucson on Twitter at www.twitter.com/FC_Tucson.

About Kino Sports Complex
Kino Sports Complex (www.kinospsortscomplex.com) is the largest professional sports and entertainment venue of its kind in Pima County. It includes the 11,000-seat Kino Veterans Memorial Stadium, seven baseball fields (four with lights), lighted softball fields, and a regulation Soccer Stadium (lighted) with four additional fields available for soccer, field hockey, rugby, and lacrosse. With its panoramic view of the Santa Catalina Mountains, it is a natural fit for youth, high school, collegiate, and professional sports. Plus, it makes a great setting for social gatherings, concerts, and community events. Kino Sports Complex is home to both the Triple-A Tucson Padres baseball team and the FC Tucson soccer club.

About Sporting Kansas City
Sporting Kansas City is proud to be the only professional sports team in Kansas City with local ownership. The team’s parent organization, Sporting Club, consists of the following five entrepreneurs in the Kansas City business community: Neal Patterson, Cliff Illig, Robb Heineman, Greg Maday and Pat Curran. Sporting Kansas City is currently in its 17th season as a charter member of Major League Soccer and plays at state-of-the-art LIVESTRONG Sporting Park, which opened in June 2011 as one of the best stadiums of its size in the world. After finishing in first place in the Eastern Conference last season, Sporting Kansas City are again atop the East in 2012 and will represent Major League Soccer in the 2013-14 CONCACAF Champions League as winners of the 2012 Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup.

About San Jose Earthquakes
The San Jose Earthquakes are a Major League Soccer franchise that entered the league as an expansion side in 2008. The Earthquakes play their home matches at Buck Shaw Stadium in Santa Clara. They won the MLS Cup in 2001 and 2003, and captured the Supporters’ Shield in 2005 and 2012. The team played in San Jose from 1996-2005 before being relocated to Houston. The Earthquakes then returned to MLS as an expansion team in 2008. In 2010, the Earthquakes qualified for the MLS Cup Playoffs for the first time since rejoining the league, and reached the Eastern Conference Championship. The club’s non-profit arm, the San Jose Earthquakes Community Fund, focuses on health and fitness initiatives for underserved youth in the Bay Area. For more information about the Earthquakes, log on to www.sjearthquakes.com.

About Colorado Rapids
Established on October 17, 1995, the Colorado Rapids have achieved success both on and off the field, including the team’s first MLS Cup championship in 2010. A leader in the community, the Rapids participate in many initiatives and causes, raising tens of thousands of dollars annually for Kroenke Sports Charities. The Rapids’ extensive youth soccer system also provides opportunities for children to develop as players and people in a challenging, competitive, and safe environment. Based at Dick’s Sporting Goods Park in Commerce City, the Rapids are a part of Kroenke Sports and Entertainment, owned and governed by E. Stanley Kroenke.

About Houston Dynamo
The Houston Dynamo are a Major League Soccer club that has won two MLS Cup championships and three conference championships in its first six seasons and qualified to represent the United States in international competition five times, including in the 2012-13 CONCACAF Champions League. The team currently trains in the Methodist Champions’ Field at Houston Amateur Sports Park (HASP), the premier training facility in Southeast Texas. The Houston Dynamo play at BBVA Compass Stadium in downtown Houston. For more information, log on to www.HoustonDynamo.com or call (713) 276-7500.

About Portland Timbers
On March 20, 2009, Major League Soccer (MLS) awarded Portland the league’s 18th franchise, and the Portland Timbers played their inaugural season in the top-flight professional soccer league in 2011. The Timbers have been a beloved part of the Portland sports landscape since their early beginnings in the North American Soccer League in 1975, launching the era of “Soccer City USA” in the Rose City. The Timbers, the 2012 Cascadia Cup winners, play at JELD-WEN Field, which has emerged as one of the most exciting and authentic soccer environments in the country. The club has sold out 34 consecutive league matches at JELD-WEN Field since joining MLS in 2011, and has a Season Ticket Waiting List of more than 7,500 fans. For more on the Portland Timbers, visit www.portlandtimbers.com.