The good news: Sporting Kansas City posted two pre-season shutouts yesterday against the Portland Timbers and the Montreal Impact.
The bad news: Sporting Kansas City continued a slightly troubling trend of not finding the goal against MLS-caliber competition. The team has five goals from six games (the two scored yesterday against the impact came from an own goal and a C.J. Sapong penalty).
“Although the scoreline didn’t show it, it was probably one of the better games we’ve played so far in pre-season,” head coach Peter Vermes told reporters on a conference call after the games. “The way we built out of the back and pressured throughout the game, guys were pretty dangerous. Throughout the game, we had the better of the play and controlled the tempo pretty well.”
To read more about the game,click here. The lineup vs. Portland:
Jimmy Nielsen, Roger Espinoza, Matt Besler, Shavar Thomas, Luke Sassano (Michael Harrington, 63), Craig Rocastle, Milos Stojcev (Graham Zusi, 75), Davy Arnaud (Jack Jewsbury, 63), Omar Bravo, Birahim Diop (C.J. Sapong, 81), Kei KamaraThe lineup vs. Montreal:
Eric Kronberg (Jon Kempin 79), Scott Lorenz, Omar Colley, Mike Jones, Michael Harrington (Kevin Ellis 46), Stephane Auvray (Michal Mravec 46), Jack Jewsbury (Jesus Flores 46, Ronnie Ibara 68), Graham Zusi (Trialist 1 46), Adda Djeziri (Korede Aiyegbusi 46), C.J. Sapong (Adda Djeziri 72), Chance MyersGoals:
KC: Own Goal (Nevio Pizzolitto) 17
KC: C.J. Sapong (penalty kick) 72
• The lineup vs. Portland seems fairly close to a Starting XI, with Sassano and Stojcev playing first-team soccer in place of Michael Harrington and Stephane Auvray. I wouldn't put much into either of those moves, Harrington wasn't likely demoted. After the game, Vermes said Sassano was still about a 50-minute player max. With the team needing to build some depth, getting him to fitness with the first team seems to be a priority.
• One of the notable players not in the lineup Saturday was defensive trialist Julio Cesar Santos Correa. Vermes said after the game that Santos is "not out" and the team is still trying to solidify that position.
• Vermes also, in both games, stayed with the 4-3-3 lineup.
• There were three trialists with KC, one of whom wasn't named. The others, Jesus Flores and Ronnie Ibara, aren't likely to stick long. I'm told they are players an assistant coach wanted to get a longer look at. Flores picked up a red card.
• Forward Ryan Smith and Teal Bunbury are both expected to join the team in Arizona, both as soon as this week. One of the drawbacks to an injury is often swelling. Flying and changing pressure can cause that swelling to increase.
• In classic KC fashion, Vermes also hinted at a new-player signing that could create some difficult decisions ahead of the MLS roster-compliance deadline this week. The player isn't "trialist No. 1" from above.