Sporting KC closed out the 2015 preseason in Tucson today with a pair of games. Sporting pulled out a win and a draw to close out preseason with a 3-2-2 record.
Kansas City started the day with a scrimmage against NASL side, Minnesota United. Sporting put out a team that was likely close to what fans will see on March 8th against the New York Red Bulls (assuming there is not a strike). Kansas City controlled the early going of the game and scored an early goal from Bernardo Anor. Graham Zusi played a corner into the box that was headed by Ike Opara into the air. Anor was the first to react to it, volleying the ball into the far corner to give KC the 1-0 lead. KC controlled the rest of the half with a number of chances. Dom Dwyer got in behind the defense with a 1v1 opportunity, but Minnesota's goalkeeper, Sammy N'Djock played a high line in goal and quickly got off his line to snuff the chance. Amadou Dia almost took advantage of N'Djock's high line after some good pass work, but he put his chip just wide of the goal. Zusi also had a chip attempt, but his effort went high.
The second half, Kansas City continued to press the game with Dwyer against going close, but unable to capitalize. Sporting continued to control the game, but was unable to add to their 1-0 lead and came away with a 1-0 win over Minnesota for the club's first shutout of the preseason.
In the night cap, a team filled with mainly reserve players took on the first team for the Seattle Sounders in the third place match up of the Desert Diamond Cup. Like earlier in the day, Sporting was able to grab the lead, this time it was the team's first first round draft pick, Connor Hallisey who scored from 15 yards out after being played in by Jimmy Medranda. As expected with a first team playing a second team, Seattle dominated play, but Kansas City's defense and Tim Melia both stepped up and kept Seattle off the board heading into half time.
The second half saw Seattle continue to pressure, but Jon Kempin, who came on at half time, continued to play well in net for Kansas City. In the 66th minute though Seattle tied the game as Clint Dempsey played Obafemi Martins in behind KC's defense and he beat Kempin to level the game at 1-1. Seattle continued to press the game until the 76th minute, when Gonzalo Pineda was sent off for a foul on Sporting's Seth Sinovic. The dynamics of the game changed, Seattle continued to try to push the game, but a man down they couldn't do as much and the two teams settled for a 1-1 draw.
The team will head home tomorrow to Kansas City with an eye towards Sunday and New York, but with the distraction of the CBA still firmly in the players minds.