Claudio Bieler makes preseason debut for Sporting KC

Andy Edwards

Sporting KC's biggest offseason acquisition made his preseason debut for Sporting KC on Friday night. How did the new forward look?

The final result - at least while he was on the field - was 0-0, but the big news of the night was that Sporting Kansas City's new Designated Player, forward Claudio Bieler, made his preseason debut against Portland Timbers on Friday night. Bieler started in Sporting KC's third preseason game of 2013 and played 29 minutes, running forwards, backwards, left and right in doing so.

Bieler, the 28-year old Argentine-born Ecuadorian, was signed in December after a Designated Player-less 2012 season for Sporting KC.

Bieler is expected to play strictly as the center forward at the head of head coach Peter Vermes' 4-3-3 attack, and that was the case on Friday night with Bieler rarely straying from the center of the field. Bieler had roughly a dozen touches of the ball due to Portland's first-team midfield showing well to possess the ball for prolonged periods of time - something that will surely please new Timbers head coach Caleb Porter.

Bieler isn't the fastest player in the world, and he'll have an extended acclimation period to the elevated physicality of Major League Soccer, but as far as half-hour debuts in meaningless preseason friendlies go, this was as uneventful as they come. Bieler is healthy, though, and at this point that's all that matters.

Sporting KC have a week-plus scheduled off from preseason fixtures before their first game of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic on February 9.

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