The 6th annual Desert Diamond Cup has concluded and the New England Revolution are the Desert Diamond Cup champions. After defeating Columbus Crew SC, the Revs won the cup with a total of eight points and will go into the regular season with a preseason trophy.
Swope Park Rangers 1-0 FC Tucson
Swope Park Rangers may have been the surprise of the tournament. The new USL team owned by Sporting Kansas City ended their preseason unbeaten with a 2-2-0 record and 8 of 12 points. Tonight, they won 1-0 and held onto their unbeaten record.
Sporting Kansas City 2-2 Houston Dynamo
In this prelude to the Desert Diamond Cup Final, the Houston Dynamo was able to control much of the game early on, keeping the ball in Sporting KC’s defensive end, but it was Sporting that got on the board first. Connor Hallisey put in a near perfect corner and resulted in Nuno Coelho placing the ball into the goal for the first goal.
— 32 Flags (@32flags) February 27, 2016
But that lead was short lived as Giles Barnes headed in a cross and caused the normally reliable Tim Melia to have a howler and make it a 1-1 game going into halftime.
In the second half, action seemed to favor Sporting as they attacked and kept attacking. Then, Sporting’s opportunity came when Houston tried to backpass and goalkeeper Calle Brown picked up the ball. From six yards away, Sporting had an indirect free kick. Dom Dwyer then tapped the ball to Daniel Salloi, who drilled it into the goal line wall to take the 2-1 lead.
— 32 Flags (@32flags) February 28, 2016
Afterwards, with about 10 minutes to go, Houston equalized once again. Erick “Cubo” Torres scored while Sporting players claimed Torres was offside. Sitting directly across from where the play occurred, it was close, but it seemed like Torres was onside so I wouldn’t have called that.
Sporting tried to score a third but was denied at the end and the game resulted in a 2-2 draw.
Colorado Rapids 3-0 Arizona United
The Rapids finally looked like they were able to compete by winning 3-0 over Arizona United. While Arizona is an NASL team, Colorado had been struggling to score and win against anyone. So a 3-0 victory before the start of the season cannot hurt the team.
New England Revolution 1-0 Columbus Crew SC
The New England Revolution won the 2016 Desert Diamond Cup but Columbus Crew SC sure didn’t make it easy. The two teams spent various points of the game with the advantage but it was New England who put the ball in the back of the net. Teal Bunbury was able to collect his own rebound from his first shot that was saved, into the back of the net.
Columbus really added a wrinkle to the game in the second half as they were pressing and pressing for an equalizer. The closest Columbus came to scoring was when Bobby Shuttleworth made a diving save off of a Columbus corner.
— 32 Flags (@32flags) February 28, 2016
The Revs would hold on to win 1-0 and the preseason trophy. Teal Bunbury, who is celebrating his 26th birthday, won the MVP award while Kei Kamara won the Golden Boot as top scorer.
All in all, it was a very great tournament and hopefully the teams got a sense of how they are going to do this season. Throughout the entire tournament, I can see New England, Columbus and Sporting KC having big seasons and contending for a trophy this season. RSL and Houston are missing that one player who can put them on a title run. And Colorado, let’s just say Colorado need help and Tim Howard isn’t the answer. That team needs wholesale changes. Anyway, now onto the regular season where the games count and that is it from Tucson.
Final Desert Diamond Cup standings
1) New England Revolution 8 pts.
2) Swope Park Rangers 8 pts. (Not eligible for title)
3) Sporting Kansas City 6 pts.
4) Arizona United 4 pts. (Not eligible for title)
5) Columbus Crew SC 3 pts.
6) Real Salt Lake 2 pts. (Had to leave for CONCACAF Champions League)
7) Houston Dynamo 2 pts.
8) Colorado Rapids 4 pt.
9) FC Tucson 0 pts. (Not eligible for title)