Sporting Kansas City defeated Phoenix Rising FC by a 4-0 scoreline on Saturday in the first friendly of the club’s 2021 preseason presented by Children’s Mercy. Homegrown forward Wilson Harris erupted for an impressive hat trick, while fellow Sporting KC Academy product Gianluca Busio also found the back of the net at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, Arizona. Post-match remarks from Sporting Manager Peter Vermes are below.




On Sporting’s overall performance in the 4-0 win…

I’m glad we didn’t give up any goals, first of all. We’ve been working on all defensive stuff this week and I think for the most part we started off really well with the first group. There’s no rhyme or reason for the teams, to be honest with you. The last group was more of the younger guys. Other than that, we mixed everyone else up. There were a few guys who had some niggling injuries, so we didn’t feel it was important to put them in today’s game. They’re fully prepared to start training again next week and they’ll all be back in starting Monday. We just didn’t want to take a chance in this game.


I thought all three groups tried to invoke a lot of the concepts that we talked about. The first two groups were really connected and spot-on with a lot of the concepts that we worked on this week. From that point of view, it’s good. The four goals that we scored were all very good buildups to excellent finishes. We had a couple more chances as well, so we’re very pleased with the performance and more importantly with the fact that we got a shutout.


On Wilson Harris’ hat trick performance…

It’s one of the reasons that we signed him. He’s very deadly in and around the box. He always finds chances for himself and puts himself in good spots. I always say this: the bottom line is that if you’re on the field when the team wins, that bodes well for you to be available for selection the next time around. Everyone did themselves a positive one today.


On why forward Alan Pulido did not play…

The few guys that are out, it’s all the same thing (with niggling injuries). They’ll be back in training on Monday.


On the performance of Sporting KC Academy player and outside back Kayden Pierre…

Kayden Pierre played really well. He played 60 minutes and had very good instincts on the field—very good instincts in his vision. He’s not in any way concerned about anybody he plays against. He holds his own physically. Very interesting player and an excellent performance from a very young kid. Excellent performance.