Tucson preview

COLORADO RAPIDS vs SPORTING KANSAS CITY
KINO NORTH STADIUM, Tucson, Ariz.
Feb. 18, 2015 (Desert Diamond Cup, #1)
5.30 p.m. MT (ColoradoRapids.com)


Pablo Mastroeni is still seeking his best XI ahead of the 2015 MLS season opener at Philadelphia Union on March 7 (live on Altitude), and so we he intends to field two different teams against Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday in the curtain-raiser to the Desert Diamond Cup.


Less than 72 hours after playing their first 'competitive' preseason match - in Las Vegas against San Jose Earthquakes - the Rapids tackle the 2013 MLS Cup champions at the Kino Sports Complex in Tucson.


Wary of his players still feeling the effects of travel, and with question marks over his strongest starters, Mastroeni told ColoradoRapids.com that he expects to give everyone up to 45 minutes against SKC.


"We're going to run two groups of 45 (minutes) after a day of travel and a tough training session today (Tuesday)," he said. "I think it's good to get everyone back in the swing of things and get the game sharpness right, so I think 45 is a good run for everyone.


"We then have three games left (at the Desert Diamond Cup), where we'll slowly start to prepare for the first game against Philadelphia."


The Rapids meet Sporting KC in what is the opening match of the six-team tournament. Fans can catch the match live on ColoradoRapids.com from 5.30 p.m. MT.


For the opponents, this will be a third preseason game, having played Portland Timbers and FC Tucson in recent weeks. Both of those matches were in Tucson. In the first of those, Sporting KC's Head Coach, Peter Vermes, used 27 players.


Thus far, Sporting has won one and lost one of its preseason games. They succumbed 2-0 to the Timbers, before twice coming from behind to overcome FC Tucson 4-2, with a second-half a hat-trick from Krisztian Nemeth.


This will be a second preseason match against MLS opposition for the Rapids. On Sunday they lost 2-0 to the Quakes.


Following this match, the Rapids meet New England Revolution on Saturday (5.30 p.m MT), FC Tucson (Feb. 25) and an - as yet - unknown opponent on February 28.