With just a little over two weeks before MLS begins its 21st regular season, teams are finalizing their rosters and getting a feel for who their main contributors will be for opening day and beyond. The preseason is well underway, but two major preseason tournaments kick off Feb. 17, giving some MLS teams their first action against other clubs in a competitive tournament format.
Three-fourths of MLS will be in action Wednesday, most competing in either FC Tucson’s Desert Diamond Cup or the Tampa Bay Rowdies Suncoast Invitational. Both tournaments will provide insight into the minds of each manager, who may show their hand on player pairings and strategy. Battles over starting positions will undoubtedly occur as newcomers look to gain a good first impression against similar opponents. Fans may also be getting their first look at sides from lower tiers of the U.S. Soccer pyramid who are also prepping for upcoming seasons.
The Desert Diamond Cup will be contested between the New England Revolution, Columbus Crew SC, Colorado Rapids, Sporting Kansas City and reigning champs Real Salt Lake. USL’s Arizona United and Swope Park Rangers and PDL’s FC Tucson will also take part.
NASL’s Tampa Bay Rowdies will be hosting DC United, New York City FC, Philadelphia Union, Montreal Impact, New York Red Bulls and Toronto FC in their Suncoast Invitational.
The Portland Timbers will also be holding their annual Simple Invitation between Feb. 22-28, featuring the Chicago Fire, Vancouver Whitecaps, Portland Timbers and Bob Bradley-managed Norwegian club Stabæk.
Full coverage and dates and times of all preseason action can be found on mlssoccer.com.