Sounders Insider

Sounders open busy run vs. Red Bulls

LogoNYThis day begins a busy stretch of three games in four days, which will conclude the Sounders’ two weeks of preseason training in Tucson. The club is expected to go with a reserve-heavy lineup at 6 p.m. when it meets the New York Red Bulls in the third game of the Desert Diamond Cup. The game will be streamed live at the Sounders' website.

Coach Sigi Schmid has said he wants to save his projected first 11 starters for Friday, when Seattle will play a friendly against Mexican second-division club Veracruz as preparation for its CONCACAF Champions League series against Tigres next month. The timing of that Veracruz friendly means reserves also will carry the load Saturday in the Desert Diamond Cup championship game, for which the Sounders have already qualified.

“The way our schedule turns out, it’s probably going to be a lot of the reserve guys playing in that (Cup final), so for them it’s a good opportunity,” Schmid said. “The more exposure they get makes us deeper, makes us stronger.”

Here's some information from the club:

Desert Diamond Cup UpdateWith two wins to start the tournament, Sounders FC has already qualified for the Desert Diamond Cup final. Seattle won its opening match, 2-0, against the New England Revolution last Wednesday as Brad Evans and Eddie Johnson returned from national team duty to net Seattle's goals. On Saturday, second-half goals from Mario Martinez and Philip Lund propelled Sounders FC past Real Salt Lake, 2-1, clinching a spot in the championship game on Saturday, February 23. Seattle is the only team out of the group that did not participate in the tournament last year.

StandingsTeam Record (points) Goal Differential (GF/GA)Seattle Sounders FC 2-0-0 (6 points) +3 (4/1)New England Revolution 1-1-0 (3 points) 0 (3/3)New York Red Bulls 0-1-1 (1 point) -2 (3/5)Real Salt Lake 0-1-1 (1 point) -1 (3/4) Schedule TodayGame 1: Real Salt Lake vs. New England Revolution - 4 p.m. PT (5 p.m. local)Game 2: Seattle Sounders FC vs. New York Red Bulls - 6 p.m. PT (7 p.m. local)

SaturdayGame 1: 3rd Place vs. 4th Place - 3 p.m. PT (4 p.m. local)Game 2: Sounders FC vs. 2nd Place - 5 p.m. PT (6 p.m. local) DDC of Years PastIn the 2012 Desert Diamond Cup, the New England Revolution won all three group stage matches before falling to the LA Galaxy in a penalty shootout following a scoreless draw in the final. The Revs scored seven group stage goals and allowed just three, and the Red Bulls and RSL scored just twice over the four matches. The inaugural Desert Diamond Cup in 2011 featured two MLS clubs and two lower-level U.S. soccer sides (FC Tucson and Arizona Sahuaros). Both New York and Sporting Kansas City reached the final, with Kansas City winning on goal differential following a 2-2 draw in the final. Sporting led the group with eight goals scored and three goals allowed in the tournament. 2012 FinalNew England Revolution 0 vs. LA Galaxy 0 (LA won 4-2 on penalties)

2011 FinalNew York Red Bulls 2 vs. Sporting Kansas City 2 (KC won on goal differential) Three in FourThe pace will pick up for Sounders FC this week as the club enters its match heavy portion of preseason training with three games in a four-day span. In Wednesday's match against New York, head coach Sigi Schmid plans to use a reserve lineup as he expects starters to go 90 minutes on Friday against Veracruz in preparation for the CONCACAF Champions League series against Tigres. The busy stretch will conclude on Saturday evening on national television as Sounders FC will play in the Cup final.

A Wide AudienceWith an appearance in the Desert Diamond Cup final already set, Sounders FC has added another national television match to its schedule as NBC Sports will cover the game. Seattle has 13 MLS regular season matches on national television, plus an additional two Champions League games, bringing the season total to 16. Players who started first two DDC Matches Michael Gspurning; Adam Johansson, Jhon Kennedy Hurtado, Leo Gonzalez; Mauro Rosales, Osvaldo Alonso, Brad Evans, Steve Zakuani; David Estrada, Eddie Johnson.

About New York Red BullsNew York finished third in the Eastern Conference in 2012 with 57 points (16-9-9), but has a new coach this season in Mike Petke. RBNY is 0-1-1 in the Desert Diamond Cup after a 2-2 draw with Salt Lake and a 3-1 loss to New England. Two of their three goals in the tournament have been scored by high-profile off-season acquisitions-Jamison Olave, who they traded for from Salt Lake, and Juninho, who they signed in December. Thierry Henry (15 goals, 12 assists in 2012) and Tim Cahill (one goal, three assists in 12 games) return for New York, but they did lose leading-scorer Kenny Cooper in a trade with Dallas.