Despite being the better side for the majority of the game, Sporting KC II left the USL Championship empty-handed after a late goal.
Here was the starting XI for Sporting II’s opener, which included six first team loanees, four returning Swope Park Rangers players, and three competitive debuts for the club:
And here it is, people: your very first #SportingKCII starting XI of the 2020 @USLChampionship season!— Sporting KC II (@SportingKCII) March 8, 2020
Kickoff set for 4pm CT here at sunny, immaculate @cmpark.#SKCvCLT
ESPN Plus stream: https://t.co/5Gnk8LAILg pic.twitter.com/lZuMKCnngp
After starting the game the more dominant side, Sporting II were rewarded with the opening goal in the 19th minute after Amadou Dia’s cross was sent into the net by Charlotte defender Jack Maher. The lead did not last long, as just six minutes lat the Independence equalized after a really bad giveaway from goalkeeper Richard Sanchez gifted the visitors their first goal as midfielder Derek Gebhard just had to stay composed after retrieving the ball to pass into an open net. Both sides had a chance late in the half, but both keepers did well to deny to keep the halftime score at 1-1.
Following a controversial missed call from the referee concerning a foul committed on Fredinho Mompremier, the Charlotte Independence marched down field and found the goal to put them up 2-1 from former Swope Park Ranger forward Dane Kelly with the help of a deflection off Graham Smith, beating Richard Sanchez at his near post.
Full match highlights:
The big talking point was a potential foul that was never called as SKC II winger Fredinho Mompremier went to ground after a challenge from Hugh Roberts. In live time it appeared to be a foul, however, after looking at it several times on replay there wasn’t much contact on the awkward 50/50 challenge. The other complaint the home side had on the late goal was that SKC II were already defending a man down after the referee held Camden Riley out of play, who had received treatment.
While the result wasn’t what they wanted, it was unanimous that they were pleased with the general direction they have made. “We played really well. We controlled the game for the most part.” Head coach Paulo Nagamura continued, “We created chances, we had a bunch of shots on goal, and I think they did hat we asked. We had the game in our hands and we just let it slip away.”
Nagamura also had some praise for the new guys, “Petar was excellent today. Very good coming out of the back, aggressive defending.” The gaffer added, “Fredinho had his moments and showed that he is dangerous offensively. We need to work on his defensive side of the game. Enoch did well for the time he had on the field. He was dangerous, he was trying to create something up the field.”
Debut Croatian central defender Petar Cuic added, “The first game was tough. Honestly I think we deserve all three points today. That is the game.” The Dinamo Zagreb product continued, “There’s a lot of positives, of course there’s negatives when you concede two goals. It’s a positive thing to create so many chances.
Haitian winger Fredinho Mompremier also made his debut, “It was a good game. We had the possession, but we couldn’t get the result today. Next game we will be back for sure.” The former University of Tampa player added “There’s a lot of good things from today. We just have to keep working hard and we’ve got to work on our finishing.”
Sporting KC II will look to grab their first win next Saturday, March 14, when they host former Swope Park Rangers midfielder Tyler Pasher and the Indy Eleven.