Johnny Russell - Sporting KC vs. New England Revolution preseason

Sporting Kansas City fell 2-1 to the New England Revolution on Wednesday at Kino Sports Complex in Tucson, Arizona, suffering their first defeat of the 2018 preseason, presented by Children’s Mercy.

Forward Diego Rubio buried a first-half penalty kick for Sporting KC, but New England claimed victory in the Mobile Mini Sun Cup clash behind an early own goal and a Kelyn Rowe strike just before halftime. The result drops Sporting KC’s exhibition record to 4-1-1 ahead of Saturday’s preseason finale, with kickoff time and opponent to be determined later tonight as the Mobile Mini Sun Cup draws to a conclusion.

The Revolution were thwarted in just the sixth minute when Sporting KC goalkeeper Eric Dick, the 13th overall pick in the 2018 MLS SuperDraft, produced a brilliant reflex save to deny Teal Bunbury from close range. Dick was less fortunate seven minutes later however, as a strike from Diego Fagundez was cleared off the goal line by Emiliano Amor but caromed off the goalkeeper’s back and into the net, giving New England a 1-0 advantage.

Manager Peter Vermes’ men responded positively and drew level in the 21st minute. Gerso raced onto a lovely long ball from Emiliano Amor and was tripped by out-rushing New England goalkeeper Cody Cropper to earn a penalty kick. Rubio confidently converted the ensuing spot kick to become the 10th Sporting KC player to bag a goal during the 2018 preseason.

The 1-1 scoreline lasted 15 minutes before New England retook the lead when Fagundez picked out midfielder Kelyn Rowe on the right side of the box. The U.S. international exploited plenty of space with a low blast into the far left corner past diving goalkeeper Adrian Zendejas, who had replaced Dick four minutes earlier.

High-profile offseason additions Yohan Croizet and Johnny Russell bolstered the Sporting KC attack as halftime substitutes, while an additional eight changes at the hour mark gave Vermes’ side a full-strength look for the final stages of the contest. First-year Revolution head coach Brad Friedel made a pair of 59th-minute switches himself, as forwards Krisztian Nemeth and Juan Agudelo entered the action.

Nemeth, who had scored 16 goals in his lone season with Sporting KC in 2015, thought he had given New England a two-goal cushion with a 69th-minute header off Fagundez’s free kick, but the goal was disallowed following a video review that adjudged Nemeth to be offside.

Sporting KC’s bid for an equalizer saw Russell launch a left-footed effort off target before Espinoza was unable to settle a through ball after slipping behind the New England backline. At the opposite end, substitute Brandon Bye surged down the right flank and forced an impressive save at the near post from Zendejas in the 85th minute.

Ilie created a final chance for Sporting KC in second-half stoppage time, squeezing a delightful ball into the path of Russell, but the 27-year-old’s deflected effort sizzled narrowly wide of frame.

Sporting Kansas City vs. New England Revolution
2018 Preseason presented by Children’s Mercy
Mobile Mini Sun Cup | Game 3 of 4

Kino Sports Complex | Tucson, Arizona
Weather: 55 degrees and sunny

Sporting Kansas City
New England Revolution

Sporting Kansas City: Eric Dick (Adrian Zendejas 32’); Jaylin Lindsey (Graham Zusi 60’), Emiliano Amor (Ike Opara 60’), Amer Didic (Graham Smith 32’; Matt Besler 60’), Seth Sinovic (Jimmy Medranda 32’; Cristian Lobato 60’); Felipe Hernandez (Felipe 60’), Kuzain (Ilie 60’), Gianluca Busio (Roger Espinoza 60’); Gerso (Yohan Croizet 46’), Diego Rubio (Kharlton Belmar 32’; Khiry Shelton 60’), Daniel Salloi (Johnny Russell 46’)

New England Revolution: Cody Cropper; Gabriel Somi (Chris Tierney 70’), Claude Dielna (Jalil Anibaba 13’), Antonio Delamea, Andrew Farrell (Brandon Bye 70’); Wilfried Zahibo, Scott Caldwell (Femi Hollinger-Janzen 90); Cristian Penilla, Diego Fagundez, Kelyn Rowe (Krisztian Nemeth 59’); Teal Bunbury (Juan Agudelo 59’)

Misconduct Summary:
NE – Cody Cropper (yellow card) 20’
NE – Kelyn Rowe (yellow card) 43’
SKC – Kuzain (yellow card) 57’
NE – Scott Caldwell (yellow card) 83’

Scoring Summary:
NE – Eric Dick (own goal) 13’
SKC – Diego Rubio (penalty kick) 21’
NE – Kelyn Rowe (Diego Fagundez) 36’