Three weeks before it opens its regular-season schedule, Sporting Kansas City embarked on a four-match exhibition tournament in Tucson, Ariz.
The first installment Wednesday supplied a mixed reaction.
Sporting KC played the Colorado Rapids to a 2-2 draw Wednesday in a Desert Diamond Cup match that featured markedly different halves at Kino North Stadium.
Colorado scored a pair of goals in the opening 17 minutes — and subsequently dominated possession in the opening half — but Sporting KC forwards Krisztian Nemeth and Bernardo Anor answered with second-half goals separated by only one minute.
“It’s so early on, and the guys are still trying to find a little bit of rhythm in their play. I think that’s the biggest thing,” Sporting KC coach Peter Vermes said. “… We have to keep getting minutes for the guys. That’s really it. We’re trying to get a rhythm.”
The response from Sporting KC came less than a minute after Colorado’s Francisco Flores was ejected for seeing his second yellow card of the match. Nemeth converted a penalty kick in the 77th minute, and Anor slotted a shot to the near post in the 78th minute.
Sporting KC will continue its preseason schedule Saturday, when it returns to Kino North Stadium to face Seattle. Midfielder Graham Zusi is scheduled to make his preseason debut in the match.
▪ Sporting KC locked up the final piece of its first-round draft class Wednesday, when it announced the signing of defender Amadou Dia, the 20th overall selection in the 2015 MLS SuperDraft. Connor Hallisey and Saad Abdul-Salaam, the club’s initial two first-round picks, entered the draft having already signed contracts with the league.
▪ The 2022 World Cup will be held during November and December in Qatar, according to a report Wednesday in Sports Illustrated. The winter months have been selected to offset concerns over the extreme temperatures in Qatar.