Preseason Preview: SKC vs DCU

Sporting Kansas City is set to face D.C. United in their second match of the Disney Pro Soccer Classic on Wednesday. The two clubs last met at Sporting Park on August 11 during the 2012 MLS Regular Season. Sporting KC earned the 2-1 result on goals from Teal Bunbury and Graham Zusi.

Teal Bunbury opened the scoring in the 13th minute when Graham Zusi flighted a corner kick into the box. Bunbury beat D.C. United midfielder Chris Pontius to the ball and placed a skillful header past Bill Hamid and into the back of the net.

D.C. United equalized in the 23rd minute when Andy Najar cut inside, freeing up just enough space to clip a ball to Nick DeLeon at the back post. DeLeon took his first touch to break pressure from the Sporting Kansas City defenders before slipping the ball past Nielsen with a sliding finish inside the six-yard box.

In the 63rd minute, Zusi notched the game-winner on a cross from Kei Kamara. But, there are a lot of missing faces and new additions on the rosters of both teams since they last met. We learned a lot about what Sporting Kansas City’s been up to during the offseason from Randi last week so let’s check out D.C. United’s most recent moves.

D.C. United lost seven players from their 2012 roster during this offseason, five of which were starters in the two clubs most recent match in August of 2012. DeLeon, the rookie goalscorer in the match, comes back but two of D.C. United’s 2012 assist leaders in Branko Boskovic (contract terminated) and Andy Najar (transfer to Anderlecht) are out. Maicon Santos, United’s second leading goalscorer from 2012, is also out as his option was declined.

Mike Chabala and Emiliano Dudar, both starters in the August match, also had their options declined at the conclusion of the 2012 season. So, how has D.C. United filled the gaps?

D.C. most recently added Maryland alum and former Chivas USA forward Casey Townsend to the roster. Townsend may be one option to step in for Santos and recently waived striker Long Tan, the first Chinese-born player to play for an MLS club. Interestingly enough, Tan is currently playing for Sporting Kansas City’s affiliate Orlando City in the USL PRO division. Townsend was the third leading scorer in program history at the University of Maryland and the 5th overall pick in 2012 MLS SuperDraft. Townsend was a starter as a freshman for the Terps and teammate of Graham Zusi in 2008 when Maryland won the College Cup in a 1-0 triumph over the University of North Carolina on a goal from Zusi. The outside winger also scored Sporting Kansas City’s lone goal in Sporting KC’s 2-1 loss to the Montreal Impact on Saturday.

Speaking of Maryland alums, former Terrapin left back and Supplemental Draft pick Taylor Kemp made his third appearance for D.C. United this offseason in a 4-0 victory over the Tampa Bay Rowdies on Saturday. Kemp scored two goals after coming in as a second-half substitute in the 60th minute. Kemp has yet to sign a contract with D.C. United and Townsend who made appearances in the first two matches this preseason for D.C. United but did not appear against Tampa Bay have the potential to danger the Sporting Kansas City defense if given the opportunity on Wednesday.

D.C. United also picked up Rafael this offseason. The young Designated Player is on loan from EC Bahia (Brazil) but has also yet to make an appearance for United since joining the team. The 20-year-old DP made 36 first-team appearances with Bahia and recorded 10 goals last season.

D.C. United also added Michael Seaton as a Homegrown Player this offseason and Syamsir Alam is on loan from CS Vise (Belgium). Seaton entered United’s last match as a second-half substitute, earning an assist on Kemp’s first goal just five minutes after the two were subbed into the match, but Alam has yet to tally playing time for United.

D.C. has seemingly built up their offense this offseason. Tune in to on Wednesday at 5 p.m. CT to see how they fare against the stingiest defense in MLS, anchored by the 2012 MLS Allstate Goalkeeper of the Year and the 2012 MLS Defender of the Year in Jimmy Nielsen and Matt Besler, respectively.