Sporting Kansas City’s third preseason game of 2023 is in the books. They pulled back a late draw against Louisville City on Saturday in Phoenix, Arizona finishing 2-2. Both goals were scored by Remi Walter. One off a penalty kick (earned by Marinos Tzionis) and another off a set piece.
Once again, not much can be ascertained from these behind closed doors games, but any insight is better than nothing.
Your #SportingKC starting XI as we get underway in Phoenix ☀️— Sporting Matchday (@SKCmatchday) February 4, 2023
Felipe Hernandez (holding)
Shaun Joash (trialist)
Yeison Mejia (trialist)#SKCPreseason // @ChildrensMercy
Wholesale changes for #SportingKC as we trot out a new XI for half No. 2— Sporting Matchday (@SKCmatchday) February 4, 2023
Chris Rindov (draft pick)
Pau Vidal (SKC II)
Daniel Salloi#SKCPreseason // @ChildrensMercy
This third preseason game saw 2023 debuts for Graham Zusi and Logan Ndenbe (though Ndenbe couldn’t do the full 45 minutes before subbing out, which makes sense if he’s coming off an injury of some sort).
Who Didn’t Play
Alan Pulido and Gadi Kinda, unsurprisingly remain out of action (though Vermes continues to insist they are close). The other players not on the pitch were: Willy Agada, Erik Thommy, Nemanja Radoja, Tim Leibold, Ozzie Cisneros, Khiry Shelton and maybe Tim Melia. It’s possible Melia played for the final 30 minutes, as it’s been standard to do one-third of the game for each keeper, but the SKC Matchday Twitter didn’t mention it.
Thommy is a new addition after appearing last weekend (and missing the first game). Agada was missing for the first time, perhaps just a load management situation as Peter Vermes spoke Friday to the media about having the luxury to rest guys, though he mentioned no names.
Leibold just arrived on Thursday in camp so it’s not surprising he wasn’t put out there. Hopefully we see him Wednesday against Real Salt Lake before the team returns to Kansas City for a week. Only Radoja, Shelton, Kinda and Pulido have otherwise yet to appear. This has to put a bit of a damper on Radoja getting a chance to win the starting job.
With all the missing center forwards, the team had to roll with Vidal (SKC II) and Joash (trialist).
While the game had a limited number of Tweets from SKC, there were recaps from both Louisville and the USL directly. They don’t say a ton, but Louisville goal scorers were former SKC man Wilson Harris and fellow forward Jorge Gonzalez. This is Louisville’s second result in a week as they drew Nashville SC 0-0 previously.
Outside of the goals scored for Sporting (highlighted below), we got these few other glimpses from the SKC Matchday account.
27' Sporting go close twice in the span of 15 seconds! Flores' clever backheel pass finds Mejia, whose near-post effort is saved. Possession is retained and Russell's leaping header is corralled by the Louisville keeper.— Sporting Matchday (@SKCmatchday) February 4, 2023
SKC 0-0 Lou City#SKCPreseason // @ChildrensMercy
50' Close! Marinos Tzionis wreaking havoc as he sets up Salloi for a shot that blisters high, then plays to Walter for a blast that deflects inches wide.— Sporting Matchday (@SKCmatchday) February 4, 2023
SKC 0-0 Lou City#SKCPreseason // @ChildrensMercy
65' Vidal skips in behind the defense and lofts a ball from the endline to Tzionis, whose volley screams just wide! Seconds later, the Louisville keeper dives to keep out Zusi's low drive from distance.— Sporting Matchday (@SKCmatchday) February 4, 2023
SKC 0-1 Lou City#SKCPreseason // @ChildrensMercy
Additionally, SKC interviewed Vermes after the game, and he indicated both Louisville goals were scored on sloppy second-half giveaways. He also mentioned the first half defense (Pierre, Ford, Fontas and Sweat) were stout, but that lineup didn’t create much.
Once again, without seeing even two minutes of the game in motion, it’s hard to learn much. Additionally, the lineups seem to mean even less as guys that are likely to be starters were more split up than last week.
At this point, I just hope it’s an abundance of caution for the guys who were held out of action and nothing more serious is going on. Before this game, were did hear from Peter on Friday and he seemed to downplay any concerns about all the guys missing from these games.
Vermes on team health: "Always in preseason there are going to be guys with... little pains... all in all, knock on wood, things have been very good." #SportingKC— Chad Smith (@PlayFor90) February 3, 2023
Here are the highlights provided by Sporting Kansas City, with some royalty free music from Alex Grohl with the song, Electronic Rock (King Around Here). You get looks at both of Walter’s goals and a few other clips of SKC.
Updated 2/5/2023 with Louisville’s goals. No clue what Zusi is doing on the first one on the restart but then it’s played even worse by what appears to be Robi Voloder. It’s Voloder again giving it away on the second one. Eek!