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First Sporting KC Preseason Opponent Announced

SKC will return to Arizona and their first announced opponent is likely their only USL level opponent.

MLS: Eastern Conference Championship-Toronto FC at Montreal Impact Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Last week it was announced that Sporting Kansas City would return to Arizona for preseason for the eight straight year. There was one twist, they would spend half of preseason in Scottsdale, Arizona and the other half in Tucson.

Today, their first opponent was announced. Phoenix Rising FC will play Sporting KC on February 17, 2018 at 4:00 PM CT at the Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex in Scottsdale, Arizona.

Phoenix Rising recently bought their lower division rival, FC Tucson. Over the last seven years, FC Tucson has hosted the Desert Diamond Cup. For 2018 the tournament has been re-branded as the Mobile Mini Sun Cup and will now be the largest MLS Preseason event ever. There will be 11 of a possible 23 MLS teams participating in the tourney along with the United Soccer League’s Phoenix Rising.

The other teams that will be invited are the Colorado Rapids (who play PRFC on Feb 14th), FC Dallas, Houston Dynamo, LA Galaxy, New England Revolution, Portland Timbers, New York Red Bulls, Real Salt Lake, San Jose Earthquakes and the Seattle Sounders.

No other games have been announced other than an opponent to be determined for Phoenix Rising on Feb 10th. The Tournament will go on from February 3rd through the 24th and will have matches played in Scottsdale and Tucson. The press release also states multiple matches will be played each day and one ticket will get you into all of them. Firebird Rising also got the exclusive that PRFC will play a fourth game in Tucson on the 24th.

It continues that “gated and non-gated” match times will be announced at a later date. Last year, in Tucson, they only sold tickets to the Saturday games and while it wasn’t announced that the midweek games were open to the public, more than just the press was present.

The Phoenix Rising Soccer Complex consists of one main field and one practice field, though that entire thing was assembled in 53 days before the 2017 USL season, so it’s possible expansion will be had. FC Tucson on the other hand have two main fields where fans have viewed games in the past plus many other practice fields.

On Tuesday, December 12th, individual tickets will go on sale. Phoenix Rising season ticket holders already have these three local games included in their ticket package and PRFC and FCT season ticket holders have access to an exclusive pre-sale. As a STM myself, I logged in and can purchase a maximum of 19 tickets with prices ranging from $19.31 (including fees it appears) in the Supporters Section to $53.86 for more premium seating.

Phoenix Rising haven’t announced much of their 2018 roster yet, but their 2017 roster included MLS and Premier League legend Didier Drogba. Other players who played for the club in 2017 were Shaun Wright-Phillips, Jordan Stewart, Peter Ramage and Omar Bravo. Stewart, Ramage and Bravo have all left the team but with an ambitious ownership group, new signings are likely coming in the offseason. Follow the Firebird Rising blog for information as it becomes available (full disclosure: I write for them too).

Phoenix Rising made the playoffs for the first time ever last season, but were eliminated in a penalty kick shootout by SKC’s B Team, the Swope Park Rangers. No word on if the Rangers will make the trip like they did in 2016 so we can see a preseason rematch.

The full schedule for the Mobile Mini Sun Cup will be announced in the future and we’ll be sure to bring it to you as soon as possible.