Sporting Kansas City recorded a 4-0 victory over Sporting Arizona on Wednesday at Phoenix Rising FC Soccer Complex in Tempe, Arizona, posting a second straight win to kick off the 2018 preseason, presented by Children’s Mercy.
Cristian Lobato and Gerso fired Sporting KC ahead 2-0 before Swope Park Rangers forward Hadji Barry and MLS SuperDraft selection Will Bagrou struck in the late stages to round out a comprehensive performance against their United Premier Soccer League opposition.
Sporting KC drew first blood in the 17th minute when forward Diego Rubio beat a defender with a slick move along the left endline and cut the ball across the face of goal to Lobato, who made no mistake in front of a gaping net.
Wednesday’s contest was played in three 30-minute periods, prompting Sporting KC Manager Peter Vermes to make wholesale changes on the half-hour mark. A fresh group of 11 players continued to control the tempo, and in the 45th minute Sporting KC doubled their advantage. Forward Kharlton Belmar barreled down the right flank and sent a delightful cross into the path Gerso near the penalty area. The club’s leading scorer from 2017 applied a cool right-footed finish from 10 yards to open his preseason account.
Three players from Sporting KC’s second group logged another 30 minutes in the final stanza, as center back James Musa, Sporting KC Academy product Kuzain and fourth-round SuperDraft pick Will Bagrou joined eight new faces.
Sporting KC remained 2-0 up until the 84th minute when Hadji Barry, an offseason acquisition for the Swope Park Rangers, hammered a blistering shot into the roof of the net. Six minutes later, Bagrou picked out fellow fourth-round SuperDraft pick Will Bagrou for a fourth goal on the stroke of full time.
With two victories in the books, Sporting KC will conclude the first leg of its 2018 preseason campaign on Saturday when the side faces fellow MLS outfit Colorado Rapids. Kickoff is set for 11:30 a.m. CT at Phoenix Rising FC Soccer Complex with live updates available on Twitter via @SportingKC and @SKCMatchday.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Sporting Arizona
Jan. 31, 2018 – Phoenix Rising FC Soccer Complex (Tempe, Arizona)
Sporting Kansas City 4, Sporting Arizona 0
SKC – Cristian Lobato (Diego Rubio) 17
SKC – Gerso (Kharlton Belmar) 45
SKC – Hadji Barry (unassisted) 84
SKC – Will Bagrou (Wilfred Williams) 90
Sporting Kansas City Lineups
First Period: Tim Melia; Jaylin Lindsey, Amer Didic, Matt Besler, Seth Sinovic; Ilie, Yohan Croizet, Roger Espinoza; Cristian Lobato, Diego Rubio, Daniel Salloi.
Second Period: Adrian Zendejas, Colton Storm, Graham Smith, James Musa, Wilfred Williams; Kuzain, Felipe Hernandez, Gianluca Busio; Kharlton Belmar, Khiry Shelton, Gerso.
Third Period: Andrew Dykstra; Trialist, Matt Lewis, James Musa, Wilfred Williams; Kuzain, Rodrigo Saravia, Sebastian Cruz; Zach Wright, Hadji Barry, Will Bagrou.