On Wednesday, Sporting Kansas City took the field for the second time this preseason in a game against trialists for Phoenix Rising FC, a USL Championship club. While most of the PRFC players wore training kits with no names and numbers, most of Sporting KC’s favorites were on the pitch.
The team again indicated not to look too deeply into the groups that were on the field or the match in general as it’s a scrimmage and it’s essentially just a practice where they were keeping score.
Here is the first lineup that took the field. (Note, all lineups are listed as follows: GK, RB, RCB, LCB, LB, CDM, RCM, LCM, RW, CF, LW).
First XI - Melia, Zusi, Fontas, Besler, Wallace, Ilie, Rowe, Gutierrez, Russell, Nemeth, Gerso
Sporting ultimately dominated the possession not just with this group, but for nearly the entire game. This 11 players got 45 minutes on the field, as did the next 11, while the final 11 got 30 minutes. So 120 minutes were played total.
SKC had several good chances early with Gerso Fernandes sending a ball wide right and Nemeth drilling a shot that the diving Phoenix keeper somehow got to. Russell also had a good chance in the box but was taken down by the defender. No penalty was given but Russell casually talks to the AR for a bit afterwards as he moves up and down her side of the field.
The scoring would be opened when Felipe Gutierrez was taken down in the box with a heavy challenge. Kristztian Nemeth took the ensuing penalty and made it 1-0 in the 33rd minute.
In the 41st minute Sporting added another goal, this time from Kelyn Rowe who opened his SKC preseason account. Gerso started the playing flying up the left side and put a through ball to Rodney Wallace who cut it back to Rowe who drove it home.
After 45 minutes there was a full switch.
Second XI - Dick, Lindsey, Borath, Smith, Sinovic, Kuzain, Espinoza, Busio, Croizet, Hurtado, Salloi
This group looked much improved today with Botond Borath and Erik Hurtado being added to this lineup. The third goal would come when Seth Sinovic started a counter attack, found Erik Hurtado who came back to open up a passing lane and ever so gently sent the ball perfectly into open space that Gianluca Busio filled quickly. Busio was on the break and tried to take on defenders, even having the ball poked away, but Daniel Salloi was right there to put in the third goal.
In the 75th minute, Adrian Zendejas got onto the field as a replacement for Eric Dick who didn’t have much to do today. One thing immediately noticeable from AZ is that he was louder than Dick and giving directions to multiple players to keep them in the right spot.
With just a couple minutes to go in the 2nd 45 minutes, something happened to Daniel Salloi and he had to leave the pitch with a busted mouth or nose. As he bleed and walked off the pitch, he took a little bow so we can assume he’s okay. He was replaced by 16-year-old rookie Tyler Freeman at the request of Peter Vermes from the stands.
The fourth goal would come when Seth Sinovic came flying up the left hand side of the pitch, cut into the box and it looked as though he would pass, then he turned the defender and put in the fourth goal of the match. It would end 4-0 when the third 11 were set to come out to play an extra 30 minutes.
Third XI - Zendejas, Little, Marriott, Martinez, Bilyeu, Riley, Hernandez, Davis, Johnson, Harris, Freeman
The third group again was full of unsigned draft picks, Swope Park Rangers, SKC Academy kids along with AZ and Freeman. No sooner did I tweet that it should be closer since the young kids got on did SKC go on to score three times more.
In the first minute, SPR center forward Wilson Harris took a shot outside the box and drove it home. 5-0. About a minute later, SKC scored again when Tyler Freeman brought the ball into the box, it pinged around a bit and the keeper spilled it leading to another Harris goal. 6-0.
The seventh and final goal came in the 94th minute. I had Freeman dribbling into the box and passing to Justin Bilyeu but SKC Matchday had it the other way around. Either way, 7-0 Sporting KC.
[Update: Justin Bilyeu set the record straight. The 16-year-old kid, Tyler Freeman, snagged the goal. What honesty!]
lol Tyler passed to me, I dribbled through a few guys into the box and I started to strike the ball but it deflected towards ty who finished nicely.— Justin Bilyeu (@Justin_Bilyeu) January 24, 2019
After that PRFC started to gain their footing and Zendejas came off the pitch in favor of SKC Academy keeper, Brooks Thompson. At that point, mistakes started to be made in combination with the Phoenix Rising trialists simply playing better. They had quite a few chances in the last 15 minutes but the defense and goalkeeper held strong to keep them off the board.
You may have noticed Ike Opara is absent from the team sheet. After the game, Peter Vermes confirmed that Ike did return to training this week and that on Tuesday he experienced tightness in his hamstring and calf after training and chose to sit out today. Vermes was pleased though that Nemeth and Borath went 45 minutes as the plan was to play them just 30 minutes.
Vermes: Opara held himself out of the game today. He had minor tightness in his hamstring and calf and they didn't want to risk it. #SportingKC— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) January 23, 2019
Sporting KC will be back in action a week from today, Wednesday, January 30th against FC Tucson trialists.