Time for the final preseason “Monday After” post of 2012. Once the regular season starts next, the Monday After will focus on MLS attendance and a couple of major business story lines from the weekend. We’ll start this post with a look at the tournaments that wrapped up over the weekend. In Tucson, the final of the Desert Diamond Cup was played to a scoreless draw between the Galaxy and Revolution. Most notably, more than 10,000 fans turned out for the final and the tournament total eclipsed 30,000. MLS has worked hard to make its preseason an event and the evolution of the Desert Diamond Cup stands as a great example of those efforts. This quote from the Arizona Republic bodes especially well for future Arizona based preseasons. “According to Tucson officials, the money is there to help transform fields around Kino Stadium — the former Spring Training home of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Colorado Rockies — into first class soccer pitches, a requirement the MLS is making before it gives the go-ahead for permanent preseason training in Tucson.” Six teams have already committed to spending portions of their preseason in Tucson in 2013.
In Orlando, Vancouver defeated Toronto to claim the Pro Soccer Classic at Disney’s Wide World of Sports. Unlike its Arizona cousin, the tournament didn’t garner significant attention in the local press. However, Commissioner Garber’s appearance during the tournament to discuss the possibility of expanding to Orlando did rate an interview and article in the Orlando Sentinel. The Final and consolation game were both broadcast on ESPN3. Unfortunately, the final big tournament in Charleston suffered from severe weather and the Final was never played. With teams just one week away from the season, the game will not be replayed.
Finally, this survey from ESPN was a big topic of conversation over the weekend in soccer circles. Among those aged 12-24, soccer is second only to the NFL in popularity, while the sport remains the most popular among Hispanics. The impact and basis of this rising popularity is obviously a constant subject on this site, but the survey is certainly a valuable snapshot of the strides soccer is making in this country.
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