Sporting KC

Sporting KC to tangle with New York Red Bulls

Updated: 2014-02-19T03:52:44Z

By SAM MCDOWELL

The Kansas City Star

The New York Red Bulls leapfrogged Sporting Kansas City on the final day of the 2013 regular season to win the Supporters’ Shield. Not to be outdone, Sporting KC captured the MLS Cup six weeks later.

The two most accomplished MLS franchises from last season will meet for the first time in 2014 with much less at stake.

Sporting KC is set to play the Red Bulls at 2 p.m. Wednesday in the opening round of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic in Kissimmee, Fla. The preseason match will be streamed online at SportingKC.com.

It’s the second tour of preseason matches for Sporting KC, which finished 2-0-1 on its trip to Tucson, Ariz., this month.

Exhibition or not, though, two franchises set to defend trophies in the upcoming MLS season have emphasized winning.

“Winning is always important — I don’t care if we’re playing pingpong,” Sporting KC manager Peter Vermes said. “That competitiveness always needs to be there. But as you’re getting ready for the start of the season, there are other things that are more important. As we go into this next phase, it’s about building our team, getting into form and putting together the group.”

The trip to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex offers Sporting KC its final preparation for the regular season, which begins with a match in Seattle on March 8.

Sporting KC will face Fluminense FC U23 (Brazil) on Saturday and the Montreal Impact on Feb. 26 to conclude group play at the Disney Pro Soccer Classic. The tournament features a championship match on March 1, along with third-, fifth- and seventh-place matches.

A group of Sporting KC reserves will play Eastern Florida State College at 10 a.m. Wednesday.

To reach Sam McDowell, send email to smcdowell@kcstar.com. Follow him at twitter.com/SamMcDowell.

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