Sporting Kansas City continued the club’s 2022 preseason, presented by Children’s Mercy, with a scoreless draw against the Colorado Rapids on Saturday afternoon in the Desert Showcase presented by Visit Tucson. Sporting KC goalkeepers Tim Melia and John Pulskamp split time in net to combine for the clean sheet.
A scoreless first half produced few clear-cut chances for either side as the Western Conference contenders met for a second straight preseason at Kino North Stadium in Tucson, Arizona.
Sporting threatened twice in consecutive minutes as 2021 MLS MVP finalist Daniel Salloi fired a shot from the top of the penalty area in the 22nd minute that took a deflection and was collected by Colorado goalkeeper Clint Irwin. A minute later, Remi Walter’s free kick found Andreu Fontas at the far post however his header – directed back across the goalmouth – went untouched and out of play.
Fontas’ centerback companion Nicolas Isimat-Mirin was called into action in the 32nd minute with a sliding intervention to prevent Michael Barrios from latching onto a through ball inside the box. The Rapids recorded their first shot on the ensuing corner with a glancing header that carried well wide.
Set pieces continued to generate scoring opportunities as Sporting KC captain Johnny Russell stepped up to a free kick 30 yards from goal in the 32nd minute. His left-footed effort was struck well but skipped just wide of the near post.
Moments before the halftime whistle, the Rapids came close to breaking the deadlock. Barrios’ low cross from the right flank connected with former Sporting KC striker Diego Rubio however the Chilean’s first-time attempt directed off target.
Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes inserted an entirely new squad for the second half with a lineup featuring nine Sporting KC Academy products. The youthful squad took little time to find their footing and nearly opened the scoring in the 49th minute as Felipe Hernandez’s corner kick was met by Sporting KC II midfielder Jahon Rad, however the close-range header deflected out of danger.
Colorado, preparing to kick off their 2022 campaign with a Concacaf Champions League fixture in less than three weeks time, elected to leave their starting field players in the match for just beyond 60 minutes and, shortly before exiting, Barrios again fed Rubio with a pinpoint pass that Rubio failed to bury from inside the six-yard box.
Rubio’s replacement, Darren Yapi, nearly made an instant impact off the bench, first in the 63rd minute as the Homegrown Player forced a save from John Pulskamp with the Rapids’ first shot on goal of the game. Eight minutes later, Yapi was again in prime position to give his side the lead only to roll his shot harmlessly past the far post.
The Rapids kept up the pressure as El Salvador international Roberto Molina, a second round pick in the 2022 MLS SuperDraft, burst forward from the left wing and unleashed a strike that whistled wide of the net with 15 minutes remaining. Four minutes from full time, Yapi broke free with a chance to provide the decisive breakthrough if not for a diving stop by Pulskamp.
The 20-year-old Sporting KC goalkeeper was called upon twice more in the dying minutes to collect free kicks from Molina as defense proved to rule the day and the two sides settled for a scoreless stalemate.
Sporting KC is back in preseason action on Thursday with an exhibition against the Portland Timbers in Phoenix. Kickoff is set for 12 p.m. CT with live updates available via @SKCmatchday on Twitter.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Colorado Rapids
January 29, 2022 – Kino North Stadium (Tucson, Ariz.)
Sporting Kansas City 0, Colorado Rapids 0
Sporting Kansas City Lineups
First Half: Tim Melia; Graham Zusi, Nicolas Isimat-Mirin, Andreu Fontas, Spencer Glass^^; Uri Rosell, Remi Walter, Cam Duke; Johnny Russell, Khiry Shelton, Daniel Salloi
Second Half: John Pulskamp; Kayden Pierre, Brett St. Martin^, Kaveh Rad, Coby Jones*; Jahon Rad, Felipe Hernandez, Jake Davis; Grayson Barber, Ozzie Cisneros, Tyler Freeman
Sporting KC II player
^Unsigned MLS SuperDraft Selection