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Hernandez scores to earn 1-1 draw for Sporting KC

A second-half goal by SKC Academy grad against New York Red Bulls earns draw in wet preseason action

Felipe Hernandez scored in the second half to level the match
Thad Bell

Sporting Kansas City continued their preseason versus the New York Red Bulls as the club kicked off the Mobile Mini Sun Cup in Arizona. Against expectations of weather in Tucson, the teams faced off in a chilly downpour.

Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes and Red Bull’s manager Jesse Marsch had different goals and plans for the game. With New York getting ready to go to Costa Rica, Marsch played a team that needs to be able to go 90 minutes in just 8 days.

Vermes, on the other hand, is still getting his team up to game fitness while evaluating starters and partnerships on the field. With that in mind, Sporting KC fielded completely different teams in each half.

For the first stanza, a number of starters from last year with some new faces sprinkled in took the field.

Sporting KC looked to have the edge in possession but the Red Bulls took the lead in the 15th when the defense was unable to clear a corner kick. The ball fell to Bradley Wright-Phillips who blasted the shot at Tim Melia. The ball deflected off of Melia and into the net.

The two teams traded opportunities back and forth but the half ended with the Red Bulls up 1-0.

New York maintained the same lineup for the second half SKC brought in a new wave of players including an all-teen Academy graduate midfield. The attacking mid was Gianluca Busio, a 15-year-old homegrown player for SKC. Two 19-year-olds that play for Swope Park rounded out the midfield with Kuzain at holding mid and Felipe Hernandez at the 8 spot.

New York seemed to take control at first but as the new Sporting KC players got in the flow they turned up the pressure.

In the 77th minute, Busio’s corner kick was cleared outside the box where Felipe Hernandez volleyed it through traffic and past a diving Luis Robles to even the score at 1 all.

Sporting KC next plays Saturday at 4 when the face Phoenix Rising in the next round of the Mobile Mini Sun Cup.