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Little Learned from First Sporting KC Preseason Game Against Portland

The game was played behind closed doors but we’ve got some b-roll footage to give you an early peak into preseason and a video of the goal.

MLS: Preseason-Portland Timbers at Sporting KC
A shot from a 2021 preseason game in Tucson, Arizona.
Joe Camporeale-USA TODAY Sports

While preseason commenced back on January 6th, Sporting Kansas City took the field for the first time today. The team met the Portland Timbers in two 30-minute closed door scrimmages. Since the games weren’t streamed and social media was all that was available, there wasn’t much to learn from the game. We’ve collected everything in one spot for your reading/viewing pleasure, including some quick video shot by the team.

The Lineups

It’s way too early to read much into these, particularly who was with who, but Sporting KC rolled out two different lineups over the two different 30-minute games/halves. Each of their three rostered goalkeepers (Tim Melia, John Pulskamp and Kendall McIntosh) got 20 minutes each.

Game One

It’s too early to know who would potentially be a starter, but I read that lineup as Barlett at RB through Abualnadi at LB. Potentially Felipe Hernandez at defensive midfielder with Ozzie Cisneros, Jeison Mejia and Marinos Tzionis across the forward line. It’s a lineup mostly made up of young guys, with a few guys potentially fighting for starting jobs in there.

By comparison, Portland appeared to be playing primarily their starters.

From that lineup (with Melia replaced in the 20th minute by Pulskamp), the team only put out one update.

Game Two

Or as Portland referred to it, the second half. Sporting KC did a full change (minus Pulskamp who played the first 10 of this before ceding to McIntosh).

While that lineup is loaded with a lot more players who were starters in 2022, it also included unsigned second round pick Chris Rindov and newly acquired Danny Flores, who appeared to be playing d-mid by where he’s listed in the order (but this is speculation based on prior years lineup tweets. It looks to be right to left, back to front).

Portland made changes as well.

The only goal of the day would come from Portland. Nathan would score against McIntosh on a cheeky little bicycle kick.

Who knows what led to this opportunity or who lost their man based on the vertical video from a cell phone, but at least we caught a few seconds of soccer (with a bit more below).

Who Didn’t Play?

It’s early in preseason, so let’s again stress lineups don’t tend to mean too much. However, some guys weren’t in the lineups at all. Peter Vermes spoke on it after the game.

“The group of guys that didn’t play, just they all have some little nagging things that we don’t want them to turn into something. They’ve actually trained pretty well. We’re just going to make sure we look after them and not turn things that can be over in a couple days into something more long-term.”

As you can see from picking through the roster, the guys that didn’t play include Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda, which we knew were coming along but not even in full training. Also missing were Graham Zusi, Nemanja Radoja, Logan Ndenbe, Khiry Shelton, Erik Thommy and Tim Leibold.

That’s leaving out guys on trial, from the SKC Academy and the SKC II players.

Pictures and Video

The teams released some pictures and b-roll footage from preseason, so hopefully this will help satiate you as we wait for live Sporting KC action. It’s not much, but it’s something!

It’s all pretty standard stuff and it definitely looked like Flores was playing deeper in the midfield.

I’m sure you, as is the case with us, can’t wait for more!