The final day of the 2017 Desert Diamond Cup featured matchups between the New England Revolution and New York Red Bulls, Sporting Kansas City and New York City FC, while the Colorado Rapids faced off against the Houston Dynamo for the right to lift the cup in the final.
The Noche Latina De Fútbol De Univision Arizona and La Poderosa festivities, presented by Vantage West and benefitting Chicanos Por La Causa – featured live music throughout the day, as well as inflatables in the kids zone that also included a velcro wall.
In the first match of the day, the Revs dispatched of a Red Bulls side 2-0 that was largely made up of members of their Red Bulls II USL side, as the senior squad faced off against the Vancouver Whitecaps in a CONCACAF Champions League match.
Behind goals from Kelyn Rowe and Lee Nguyen, New England picked up some momentum heading into their MLS season opener against the Rapids in Denver.
The second match featured the return of David Villa to the field after serving a one-match suspension for slapping AJ DeLaGarza during NYC’s match against Houston.
Despite creating chances, Sporting were unable to capitalize and ultimately fell victim to the Spaniard, as Villa got on the end of newly-signed designated player Maxi Moralez’s cross to head in the game winner in the 51st minute.
The man of the match may have been goalkeeper Sean Johnson however, as he came up with a penalty save in the 64th minute to deny Soony Saad from the spot.
In the final, the Houston Dynamo and Colorado Rapids battled for the first Desert Diamond Cup Championship in either side’s history, continuing the tradition of a new winner each year since its inception in 2011.
Romell Quioto made sure the Cup came home to Houston, smashing home a thunderous strike in the 43rd minute before adding to his tally in the 67th to seal it 2-0.
With his performance in the final, Quioto clinched the CARF International MVP, as well as the Desert Diamond Cup Copper Boot, awarded to the tournament’s highest scorer.
Since the beginning of MLS Preseason in Tucson, no team has gone onto with the MLS Cup without first visiting the desert first. Could this be the year the Dynamo return to the playoffs?
Their performance under the Arizona sun certainly indicates they’re headed in the right direction.