In their second match of the 2018 Mobile Mini Sun Cup, Sporting KC opened up with a 2-1 win over Phoenix Rising FC. Ille Sanchez and Daniel Salloi provided the goals for Sporting as they overcame an early deficit to earn the victory.
Here’s how Sporting KC lined up to start the match. Matt Besler was out as a precaution with a minor hamstring injury, joining Graham Zusi and Jimmy Medranda on the injury list.
Lineups are in! Your #SportingKC starting XI against @PHXRisingFC. #ForGloryForCity— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) February 17, 2018
Melia; Lindsey, Opara, Didic, Lobato; Espinoza, Ilie (holding), Felipe; Croizet, Shelton, Salloi
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Phoenix got on the board first in the fifth minute. Ike Opara gave away the ball in the middle of the pitch and Devin Vega took advantage. He found Kevaughn Frater on a run toward goal and Frater was one-on-one with Tim Melia. Frater smashed the ball into the top left corner of the goal for the early score.
Sporting KC responded in the 17th minute. Ille Sanchez forced a turnover in the attacking third and took the ball all by himself into the top of the box, where his shot deflected off Phoenix Rising FC’s keeper Dallas Jaye and into the net to even up the match.
Just a few minutes later, Sporting KC came very close to gaining the lead. Jaylin Lindsey slipped a ball into the box but it was just out of reach of Daniel Salloi right in the front of goal. Sporting KC were dominating this portion of the match as the ball rarely left Phoenix’s defensive half.
In the 29th minute, Sporting KC took the lead. Roger Espinoza pulled down a pass in the box with a fantastic first touch, then he tapped it back to Khiry Shelton, who found Salloi coming in on the left-hand side. Salloi tapped it home to the far corner for the goal and Sporting KC grabbed the lead.
Sporting KC put forward a few other attempts in the first half but were not able to put any in the back of the net, so they took a 2-1 lead into halftime.
Coming into the second half, Sporting KC made one lineup change as Johnny Russell, the recently-signed winger from Derby County, came on for Salloi. The Scotsman arrived to Sporting KC training on Wednesday.
The second half saw lots of new faces, including Didier Drogba for Phoenix. In the 59th minute, he one-timed a volley on his left foot that went just over the ball, keeping Sporting KC in the lead after what would have been a world-class goal.
In the 60th minute, Sporting KC made an almost complete lineup swap, bringing on ten new players for the final half hour of the match.
A whopping 10 subs for #SportingKC in the 61st minute, with Russell the lone player to remain on the pitch. #ForGloryForCity— Sporting Kansas City (@SportingKC) February 17, 2018
Neither team had any great chances for the rest of the match as Phoenix Rising was unable to convert on a last-minute free kick. The win for Sporting KC moved them to 1-1-0 in the tournament. Next up is the New England Revolution on Wednesday at Noon CST in the final group match for Sporting KC.