Playing without a handful of familiar faces due to national team duties or injuries, Sporting Kansas City struggled in its preseason opener on Saturday night in Tuscon, Ariz.
Sporting KC fell 2-0 to the Portland Timbers, but coach Peter Vermes said the most important take-away was their ability to see new faces and minimize injuries.
"We created some good chances and had some great service in the box," Vermes said. "Those are things we will be able to work on over the next four or five weeks leading up to the game."
The Portland Timbers took the lead in the 30th minute when Gaston Hernandez converted a penalty kick after a handball. Michael Nanchoff pushed the lead to 2-0 when he curled a free kick around the wall and bounced it off the post into the goal in the 53rd minute.
The only real injury that Sporting KC sustained was a cut above Seth Sinovic’s eye after he took an elbow to the face in the 15th minute. He was taken back to the locker room for stitches and was replaced by Amadou Dia, who was the 20th pick in the 2015 SuperDraft.
Sporting has nine days before they return to action with the second of three scheduled preseason games. They will face FC Tuscon at 11:30 a.m. on Feb. 9 at Kino North Stadium.
"We’ve got to get through the defensive principles of who we are and then try to put the two pieces of the game together better than we did today," Vermes said.
To reach Kathleen Gier, call 816-234-4875 or send email to email@example.com.