Sporting Kansas City and Real Salt Lake drew 2-2 on Tuesday night during a pre-season game at the Reach 11 Complex in Phoenix. The game was called near the end after an apparent brawl. According to Twitter reports from Real Salt Lake general manager Garth Lagerway, a rough tackle from a Kansas City player (an eye-witness said it was Roger Espinoza) led to both benches clearing.
Anyone who has seen Espinoza play can't really be shocked that he is linked to a rough tackle. He was apparently (but neither sides PR guys have confirmed) red-carded for the tackle. (Several Salt Lake players includingAndy Williams
tweeted about the altercation. So far, KC's twitter contingent of Kei Kamara, Teal Bunbury and C.J. Sapong have been quiet.)
Also, from reports, a phantom red-card was issued to Omar Bravo (it was intended for Espinoza). Bravo was alleged to have kicked a Real Salt Lake player, but he is adamant that that didn't happen.
The two teams don't play in the regular season until August 3 at Livestrong Sporting Park, but the reserve squad for each team meet tomorrow at 12 p.m. CT at Reach 11.
Salt Lake took the early lead with goals by Alvaro Saborio and Fabian Espinoda. Kansas City fought back in the second half when Kei Kamara converted his second penalty in two games after Espinoza was brought down in the box. Designated player Omar Bravo then got on the board with his first competitive goal since joining Kansas City.
Sporting Kansas City lineup: GK-Jimmy Nielsen; D-Roger Espinoza, D-Matt Besler, D-Julio Cesar (Shavar Thomas 75), D-Luke Sassano (Kevin Ellis 46); M-Stephane Auvray, M-Davy Arnaud, M-Milos Stojcev; F-Omar Bravo, F-Birahim Diop (C.J. Sapong 65), F-Kei Kamara.
For my vantage point here in Kansas City, it would appear that this is pretty close to a finalized Starting XI, with only the injured Michael Harrington and Teal Bunbury likely replacing Sassano and Diop. Sporting KC president Robb Heineman tweeted (before the rush of news this afternoon) that both Cesar and Stojcev should be signed by the end of the week and that the team was working on another defender (possibly Omar Colley?) and an attacking player.