By Araceli Villanueva // @Aracelv1
Sporting Kansas City kicked off the 2019 preseason campaign on a high note in a 4-0 victory over Sporting Arizona FC at Phoenix Rising FC Soccer Complex in Tempe, Arizona this past weekend.
Johnny Russell and Yohan Croizet gave Sporting KC a 2-0 lead before Swope Park Rangers duo Justin Bilyeu and Felipe Hernandez struck late in the second half to secure the victory.
*Full match recap here
The club will play their second match at 11:30 am CT on Wednesday, January 23 when the home side faces a team comprised of USL’s Phoenix Rising FC trialists.
Before Sporting KC set off to Scottsdale for the fifth-straight year, players reported to Pinnacle earlier this month for physicals and welcomed their new teammates: Erik Hurtado, Kelyn Rowe, and Rodney Wallace.
Along with the newest additions to the squad, Sporting KC took a total of 39 players to Arizona. Including four members of the Swope Park Rangers, eight Sporting KC Academy products and five current Academy players, all under the age of 23, and MLS SuperDraft picks Kamar Marriott, Camden Riley, and Franky Martinez. All three players selected in the draft are currently unsigned. Additionally, Daniel Johnson – former midfielder for the Chicago Fire – is the lone trialist this preseason.
Among the thirteen Academy players, ten featured in Sporting KC’s preseason win: the senior team quintet of Daniel Salloi, Gianluca Busio, Jaylin Lindsey, Wan Kuzain, and Tyler Freeman; Rangers trio Felipe Hernandez, Wilson Harris and Will Little; and current Academy standouts Mo Abualnadi and Jake Davis.
Looking at the roster – it appears the squad’s main core – whom most signed new contracts before the 2018 season ended – is back. However, we can still potentially lose players – as seen with the three-team trade in early December which sent Diego Rubio to the Colorado Rapids and saw Sporting KC gain Kelyn Rowe and $300,000 in allocation money.
Sporting KC is set to play seven friendlies in Arizona before returning to Kansas City to host Club Deportivo Toluca in the 2019 CONCACAF Champions League on Thursday, February 21.
Featured image: @sportingkc Instagram
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