Sporting Kansas City beat Western Conference rivals Seattle Sounders 3-2 in the 2015 Desert Diamond Cup in Tucson, Arizona. Graham Zusi and Krisztian Nemeth scored in the first half and James Rogers added the game winner in the second half.
Zusi was scheduled to only play around 30 minutes in his first match after recovering from a foot injury and made the most of his time. The play was initiated when Benny Feilhaber saw Zusi open and running down the side. Feilhaber shifted the ball to his right and dropped a pass just over the defender to Zusi who ran onto it and slotted a low shot past Sounders keeper Stefan Frei.
It was Zusi's last touch of the match as Manager Peter Vermes brought on rookie James Rogers. "It felt good to be back out there," Zusi stated after the match. "It was my first competitive match since the end of the season last year. It was exciting to be out there with the guys and a nice test for me physically. I thought I responded pretty well."
Sporting KC's second goal came off a combined effort as Roger Espinoza's pass split the defense to Dom Dwyer. The resulting shot was stopped by Frei but he could not handle it and the rebound was backheeled by Bernardo Anor to Nemeth for a one-timer.
There was a scary moment when Ike Opara was hit in the face with a clearance from Matt Besler and did not get up for some time. "I think he's doing all right," Vermes reported after the match. "I'm not 100 percent sure of what his status is, but I think he's doing okay, it was just more precautionary."
Jalil Anibaba came on for Opara in the 48th and the remaining starters subbed of at the 60 minute mark. With the Sporting KC starters substituted, the defense lost some cohesion but they were still able to add to the lead in the 73rd minute when Jimmy Medranda setup draft pick James Rogers who placed the ball far corner past Frei.
The Sounders got on the board quickly after that when Victor Mansaray scored in the 74th and Kenny Cooper was able to power one under Jon Kempin in the 81st minutes to close the gap but Sporting KC held on to get their first win in the Desert Diamond Cup.
SEA - Gonzalo Pineda (caution; tactical foul) 22
SKC - Krisztian Nemeth (caution; persistent infringement) 25
SKC - Matt Besler (caution; reckless foul) 27
SKC - Bernardo Añor (caution; reckless foul) 42
SKC - Seth Sinovic (caution; reckless tackle) 67
SKC - Mikey Lopez (caution; unsporting behavior) 88
SKC - Graham Zusi (Benny Feilhaber) 34
SKC - Krisztian Nemeth (Bernardo Añor) 39
SKC - James Rogers (Jimmy Medranda) 73
SEA - Victor Mansaray (Aaron Kovar) 74
SEA - Kenny Cooper (Victor Mansaray) 81
Sporting Kansas City: Luis Marin (Jon Kempin 60); Amadou Dia (Saad Abdul-Salaam 60), Ike Opara (Jalil Anibaba 48), Matt Besler (Kevin Ellis 60), Marcel de Jong* (Seth Sinovic 46); Roger Espinoza (Servando Carrasco 60), Benny Feilhaber (Mikey Lopez 60), Krisztian Nemeth (Jimmy Medranda 60); Graham Zusi (James Rogers 34), Dom Dwyer (Jacob Peterson 60), Bernardo Añor (Connor Hallisey).
Sounders FC: Stefan Frei; Tyrone Mears (Oniel Fisher 66'), Chad Marshall (Jimmy Ockford 66'), Brad Evans (Damion Lowe 66'), Leo Gonzalez (Andres Correa 46'), Zach Scott; (Andy Rose 46') Gonzalo Pineda (Kenny Cooper 66'), Micheal Azira (Cristian Roldan 66'), Marco Pappa (Aaron Kovar 66'); Clint Dempsey (Chad Barrett 66'), Lamar Neagle (Vic Mansaray 66').