Sporting Kansas City opened their 2021 preseason slate with a comfortable 4-0 victory over USL Championship power Phoenix Rising FC at Wild Horse Pass in Chandler, Arizona on Saturday afternoon. Homegrown striker Wilson Harris scored a hat trick, while fellow Sporting KC Academy product Gianluca Busio also got on the scoresheet in the win.
Sporting KC broke the game up into three 30-minute periods, with a different set of players taking the field in each stanza.
Sporting started the game on the front foot and almost took the lead in the fifth minute when Busio got behind the Phoenix backline and cut the ball back for Gadi Kinda, but the Israeli’s shot was cleared off the line.
There would be no reprieve for Phoenix four minutes later, however, as Harris sent a ball over the top that almost found Johnny Russell in behind, only for Rising goalkeeper Zac Lubin to beat him to the ball. The loose ball fell back to Harris who struck a delightful first-time lob from all of 35 yards that looped over Lubin and into the back of the net.
Sporting doubled the lead in the 19th minute as Harris once again showed off his predatory instincts in front of goal. Russell dribbled at his man down the right wing before sliding the ball through for Harris who calmly slotted beyond Lubin with only the goalkeeper to beat.
Right before the end of the first 30-minute period, Busio made it three. The 18-year-old played the ball to Russell on the right wing who in turn found Busio with an accurate cross that was nodded home by Sporting’s new No. 10.
Harris completed an impressive hat trick three minutes into the second 30-minute period. Sporting II midfielder Jake Davis won the ball high up the field with a strong challenge and the ball fell to Harris who lashed a thunderous strike into the top right corner to make the score 4-0.
Late on in the match, Sporting midfielder Felipe Hernandez was sent off after receiving two yellow cards in quick succession.
Sporting KC continues their preseason schedule next Saturday with a clash against MLS side the Colorado Rapids at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona. Kickoff is set for 5 p.m. CT with live updates available via @SKCmatchday on Twitter.
Sporting Kansas City vs. Phoenix Rising FC
March 13, 2021 – Wild Horse Pass (Chandler, Ariz.)
Sporting Kansas City 4, Phoenix Rising FC 0
SKC – Wilson Harris (Unassisted) 9’
SKC – Wilson Harris (Johnny Russell) 19’
SKC – Gianluca Busio (Johnny Russell) 29’
SKC – Wilson Harris (Jake Davis) 33’
Sporting Kansas City Lineups
First Period: Tim Melia; Jaylin Lindsey, Kaveh Rad, Andreu Fontas, Luis Martins; Ilie Sanchez, Gianluca Busio, Gadi Kinda; Johnny Russell, Wilson Harris, Daniel Salloi
Second Period: Kendall McIntosh; Kayden Pierre, Roberto Puncec, Graham Smith, Amadou Dia; Felipe Hernandez, Jake Davis, Cam Duke; Grayson Barber, Wilson Harris (Dominik Resetar 46’), Khiry Shelton
Third Period: John Pulskamp; Kayden Pierre, Matt Constant, Danny Barbir, Travian Sousa; Felipe Hernandez, Jake Davis, Cam Duke; Ozzie Cisneros, Dominik Resetar, Tyler Freeman