Going in to Saturday’s preseason opener, Sporting Kansas City coach Peter Vermes had two goals in mind.
The first, was to get his new player a taste of MLS competition in 30-minute increments. The second, was to minimize injuries.
Although Sporting lost 2-0 to the Portland Timbers, Vermes said after the game that they had accomplished both on a rainy night at Kino North Stadium in Tucson, Ariz..
“For guys like that it is about getting their feet wet since they haven’t played anything resembling an MLS game,” Vermes said. “I thought all those guys had a good first day and now when I’m talking about things they’ll have a real understanding of what it’s like even though it’s not a regular-season game.”
One of those rookies was Amadou Dia, who was selected with the 20th pick in the 2015 SuperDraft. He ended up leading the team in playing time after replacing Seth Sinovic in the 17th minute. Sinovic was hit with an elbow and went to the locker room to receive stitches above his eye.
Sporting KC utilized 27 players in the game while resting Graham Zusi, Roger Espinoza, Ike Opara, Chance Myers and Saad Abdul-Salaam. They were also without Matt Besler and Jon Kempin, who are participating in the U.S. men’s national team January camp.
Sporting KC will continue its preseason schedule on Feb. 9 against FC Tuscon of the USL Premier Development League.
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