Sporting Kansas City won’t be entering the regular season without at least one exhibition blemish. Not after this.
The Columbus Crew handed Sporting KC its only loss of the preseason, a 4-1 barrage Saturday in the championship game of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic in Kissimmee, Fla.
Jairo Arrieta, Bernardo Anor, Federico Higuain and Justin Meram scored for Columbus, an onslaught unmatched by Sporting KC in its preseason finale.
Claudio Bieler scored his fifth goal of the preseason to prevent the shutout.
“We were sort of on the back foot quite a bit,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said. “I’m not going to take anything away from (Columbus). I thought they worked hard, and they played well.”
The 10-match exhibition tour is over. The next one counts.
Sporting KC opens the MLS regular season at 2 p.m. next Saturday in Seattle.
“I think we’re maybe a little banged up at the moment — that kind of goes with the territory,” Vermes said. “We played late in the year, (so) you wind up being in a position where some guys are going to still be a little fatigued.
“We’ll get through it. We’ll get ready. We got the first game next week when everything starts for real. I think we’re ready to get the season under way. That’s for darn sure.”
C.J. Sapong sat out Saturday’s game because of a bruise, but he is expected to be ready for Saturday’s opener.
Defender Seth Sinovic was removed in the seventh minute Saturday because of a hip injury, though it isn’t considered serious.
Arrieta sent home a penalty kick in the 20th minute. Anor scored on a header in the 69th minute before Meram scored on a breakaway 5 minutes later. Higuain lofted a shot over the head of keeper Eric Kronberg, who had come off his line, for the fourth score.
Bieler finally put Sporting KC on the board in the 87th minute.