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Sounders shut out Red Bulls 2-0 in Tucson snow | Sounders FC
The Sounders will face Real Salt Lake in the final of the Desert Diamond Cup final at 5 p.m. Saturday in Tucson.
Seattle Times staff reporter
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Snow in Arizona? Not a problem for Sounders FC.
In surprisingly wintry conditions, Seattle continued its dominance in the Desert Diamond Cup, sweeping the round robin of the preseason tournament with a 2-0 victory Wednesday against the New York Red Bulls.
The Sounders (3-0) outscored opponents 6-1 and will face Real Salt Lake (1-1-1) in Saturday's 5 p.m. championship game, which will be broadcast nationally on the NBC Sports Network.
The Red Bulls (0-2-1) play the New England Revolution (1-2-0) in the third-place game at 3 p.m.
Seattle took a 1-0 lead in the 36th minute Wednesday when midfielder Alex Caskey finished a rebound on a tight angle after a shot by invitee forward Travis Bowen was stopped by New York goalkeeper Luis Robles.
The lead doubled in the 78th minute when Sounders midfielder Mario Martinez scored a tremendous left-footed volley from outside of the penalty box. The 23-year-old Honduran has scored twice in as many preseason games — each in spectacular fashion — since returning from national-team duty, reinforcing the belief of many that he'll be a breakout start in 2013.
The Sounders started mostly reserves against the Red Bulls and subbed in more of a first-choice lineup for the final 30 minutes. The aim is to play a strong squad in Friday's exhibition against Veracruz, a Mexican second-division team, to help prepare for upcoming CONCACAF Champions League games against Mexico's Tigres UANL.
Saturday's Desert Diamond Cup final will mark Seattle's third game in four days.
There has been a new addition to the Sounders' preseason camp in midfielder Stephen Okai, who was drafted by Philadelphia in the second round of the 2013 MLS SuperDraft. He joined the team as a non-contract invitee Tuesday night but didn't play against New York.
Trade acquisition Shalrie Joseph was among a small group of players not available for Seattle.
Sounders acquire 2 more draft picks
The Portland Timbers traded a second-round draft pick in 2014 and a conditional draft pick in 2015 to the Sounders on Wednesday for the right to sign defender Mikael Silvestre.
The 35-year-old, who has played for teams like Manchester United and Arsenal, signed a two-year contract with the Timbers with an option for 2015.
Seattle was first to place a discovery claim on Silvestre, which gave the team right of first refusal. The Sounders also acquired two draft picks Tuesday in a trade for Joseph.
• Michelle French, a Kent native, has been hired as the first full-time coach of the U.S. under-20 women's national team, the federation announced Wednesday. The 36-year-old coached the star-studded Sounders Women last summer and was a volunteer assistant for the University of Washington in 2005.
Joshua Mayers: 206-464-3184 or firstname.lastname@example.org