Sporting KC posts 1-0 win in pre-season finale
Major League Soccer Pre-Season
Sporting Kansas City vs. Toronto FC
Saturday, February 23, 2013
ESPN Wide World of Sports
Weather: 86 degrees, mostly cloudy
KC -- Claudio Bieler (Soony Saad, Chance Myers) 23
TOR -- Darren O'Dea (caution; reckless tackle) 15
TOR -- Justin Davis (caution; reckless tackle) 35
KC -- Oriol Rosell (caution; reckless tackle) 48
TOR -- Darren O'Dea (ejection; serious foul play) 57
Sporting Kansas City: Jimmy Nielsen; Chance Myers (Mechack Jerome* 58), Aurelien Collin, Matt Besler, Josh Gardner; Benny Feilhaber (Christian Duke* 80), Oriol Rosell, Paulo Nagamura (Peterson Joseph 67); Graham Zusi (Soony Saad 7), Claudio Bieler (Dom Dwyer 75), C.J. Sapong
Toronto FC: Joe Bendik; Richard Eckersley, Danny Califf, Darren O'Dea, Justin Davis* (Darel Russell* 46); Reggie Lambe, Jonathan Osorio* (Terry Dunfield 75), Jeremy Hall (Kyle Bekker 78), Emery Welshmann (Andrew Wiedeman 85); Luis Silva (Ashton Bennett* 67), Taylor Morgan* (Gale Agbossoumonde 60)
Sporting Kansas City concluded their 2013 pre-season schedule on Saturday with a 1-0 victory against Toronto FC at the ESPN Wide World of Sports in Kissimmee, Fla. Claudio Bieler struck for the match winner in the 23rd minute, deftly finishing a cross from Soony Saad for the Designated Player's first goal since being acquired from LDU Quito in the off-season.
Saturday's contest wrapped up the team's participation in the 2013 Disney Pro Soccer Classic and marked Sporting Kansas City's ninth exhibition of the pre-season. Sporting KC went 4-2-3 over the stretch after convening for the first day of training on Jan. 18th.
The opening 45 minutes on Saturday saw Sporting Kansas City play arguably their strongest half of the pre-season. Josh Gardner was on the end of a pair of chances in the game's early minutes as Sporting KC set the tempo from the first whistle.
Bieler broke through midway through the half, finishing off a sequence that started with Chance Myers along the right side. His service found Saad on the front line, and the University of Michigan product directed a cross into the path of Bieler for a first-time finish.
Saad, who finished the pre-season with a team-high four goals and three assists, nearly added to his total in the 40th minute if not for a strong save by Toronto FC goalkeeper Joe Bendik. On the opposite end, Sporting Kansas City captain Jimmy Nielsen stood strong in net with a stop on Reggie Lambe and was well positioned to turn away a series of Toronto FC free kicks.
After the intermission, Paulo Nagamura came close to doubling Sporting Kansas City's lead with an attempt on goal in the early stages of the second half. Toronto FC were then reduced to 10-men in the 57th minute with the ejection of Darren O'Dea for a high elbow.
Second-half substitute Gale Agbossoumonde threatened to equalize for Toronto in the 81st minute but was off-target, while Sporting Kansas City responded with scoring opportunities of their own courtesy of Supplemental Draft pick Christian Duke and another near-miss from Saad.
Sporting KC will return to Kansas City on Sunday to prepare for their 2013 MLS season opener on March 2 at the Philadelphia Union. Sporting Kansas City and Toronto FC will then meet again on March 9 at the Rogers Centre.