Jerome Meshack, a trialist from USL Pro affiliate Orlando City SC, started at right back in place of Chance Myers on Saturday during Sporting Kansas City’s first game in the Disney Pro Soccer Classic at the ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Kissimmee, Fla.
Other than that, there’s a good chance the starting lineup for a 2-1 loss against the Montreal Impact — in what was arguably the first meaningful preseason game — could be identical when Sporting KC kicks off the regular season March 2 at the Philadelphia Union.
“It will probably be close to the same lineup, but there’s still a long ways until March 2 and a lot of things can happen,” goalie Jimmy Nielsen said.
But if that is the group, Sporting KC, which is now 1-1-2 in training exhibitions, showed it still has some work to do. Making his 2013 debut with Sporting KC, midfielder Graham Zusi, who spent the last month training with the U.S. men’s national team, offered a sweet reminder of his skill in the 18th minute.
Zusi staked Sporting KC to a 1-0 lead when he rifled a 30-yard knuckler past goalkeeper Troy Perkins into the upper left corner.
“Big-time goal,” coach Peter Vermes said. “We had some good chances as a team, but it was big for us to have Zusi, Benny (Feilhaber) and Matt Besler back on the field together.”
However, Sporting KC coughed up the equalizer a few seconds into first-half stoppage time when Marco Di Vaio slipped behind a flat-footed defense. Within minutes of coming on in the second half, Andrew Wenger, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 MLS SuperDraft, delivered the game-winner in the 61st minute.