Sporting Kansas City claimed its second 2-1 win in as many preseason games Saturday, taking down D.C. United at Casa Grande, Ariz., in a preview of the season opener for both teams in one month’s time.
Midfielder Graham Zusi booted Sporting KC into the lead off a free kick during the 60 minutes manager Peter Vermes played his starters.
“The game was a little more lively from the opening whistle,” Vermes said by phone. “The biggest positive was not conceding with that first, which was a goal coming in. We also possessed the ball very well and getting a goal off the set piece is always a good thing.”
Soony Saad tapped in Sporting KC’s second goal after Jacob Peterson won a scrum with the United goalkeeper for possession.
D.C. United, which plays host to Sporting KC for MLS First Kick on March 10, scored in the closing minutes.
“I thought today was very good actually,” Zusi said by phone. “Compared to the game against San Jose, I thought our movement was quite a bit better and defensively we were better. Attacking-wise, we were better as well and created more chances, so there were a lot of plusses to take from the game today.”
Of course, there were things to work on too.
Sporting KC came out flat in the first five minutes again, which stands in stark contrast to the hyper-kinetic form the team often displayed off the opening whistle last season.
“It’s something that will come and we’re definitely working on it,” Zusi said. “We want to be the team to set the tone and really come out on fire.”
Vermes also lauded the second-string defense even though it conceded a goal.
“The second group was actually very good defensively, like a swarm of bees,” he said. “They created several quality chances, so overall we’re pretty pleased, for sure.”