Sporting Kansas City defeated FC Tucson 4-2 on Monday in the club’s final match of the Desert Friendlies preseason tournament at Kino North Stadium in Tucson, Arizona. Krisztian Nemeth scored a second-half hat-trick and provided the game-winning assist to Jimmy Medranda as the visitors twice came from behind to earn the victory.
"It was a good win for us," Nemeth said. "Most importantly, the team played hard. It has been a good two weeks of training camp and we are starting to come together well. Everybody has been working hard to push each other and I am excited to continue working with this group."
QUOTES: Vermes & Sinovic
Sporting KC held a significant edge in possession against their USL Premier Development League opponents and nearly went ahead twice before the break. Dom Dwyer was on the end of a Seth Sinovic free kick in the 36th minute, but the forward’s header sailed narrowly over the crossbar.
Two minutes later, FC Tucson goalkeeper Pat Wall was forced to make an acrobatic save following an incisive attack from the visitors. Dwyer and Bernardo Anor combined to set up Paulo Nagamura, who settled the ball with his chest and struck a volley that was parried away.
Manager Peter Vermes, who utilized 27 players in Sporting KC’s first preseason match on Jan. 31, made 10 halftime substitutions this time around. Roger Espinoza concluded his 45-minute preseason debut and homegrown defender Erik Palmer-Brown was the only holdover from the first half.
FC Tucson drew first blood in the 48th minute when Marquis Brooks finished Michele Pataia's low cross into the penalty area. Sporting KC was quick to respond and almost leveled the match within five minutes as an FC Tucson defender inadvertently headed Amadou Dia’s bouncing cross onto the woodwork.
Nemeth recorded his first of two equalizers on the hour mark. The 26-year-old Hungarian, who joined Sporting KC in the offseason from Dutch club Roda JC Kerkrade, buried a penalty kick after Mikey Lopez was fouled inside the box.
Shortly thereafter, the match produced three goals in a four-minute span. FC Tucson briefly restored their lead in the 74th minute when Derek Boggs nodded home a long free kick from Vincent Mediate. Just a minute later, however, Nemeth restored the deadlock with an impressive side-volley off a cross from 2015 MLS SuperDraft third round selection James Rogers.
Nemeth turned provider in the 77th minute when he squared a pass to Jimmy Medranda, whose one-time shot gave Sporting KC their first lead of the match.
FC Tucson’s substitute goalkeeper, Sporting KC Academy product Jacole Turner, made two strong saves to deny Christian Duke and Benny Feilhaber late on before Sporting KC sealed the win in the 90th minute. Dia picked out Nemeth, who beat a defender and fired into the corner to complete his hat-trick.
Sporting KC will travel back to Kansas City on Tuesday before returning to Tucson from Feb. 15 through March 1 to participate in the 2015 Desert Diamond Cup. Captain Matt Besler and homegrown goalkeeper Jon Kempin, who participated at the United States Men’s National Team January Camp from Jan. 12 to Feb. 8, will rejoin the club for its second training camp at the Kino Sports Complex.
2015 MLS Preseason
Kino North Stadium | Tucson, Arizona
Weather: 71 degrees and sunny
SKC – Servando Carrasco (caution; reckless tackle) 42
FCT – Marquis Brooks (Michele Pataia) 48
SKC – Krisztian Nemeth (penalty kick) 60
FCT – Derek Boggs (Vincent Mediate) 74
SKC – Krisztian Nemeth (James Rogers) 75
SKC – Jimmy Medranda (Krisztian Nemeth) 77
SKC – Krisztian Nemeth (Amadou Dia) 90
Sporting Kansas City: Luis Marin (Tim Melia 46); Kevin Ellis (Christian Duke* 46), Jalil Anibaba (James Marcelin 46), Erik Palmer-Brown, Seth Sinovic (Amadou Dia** 46); Servando Carrasco (Mikey Lopez 46), Paulo Nagamura (Benny Feilhaber 46), Roger Espinoza (Jimmy Medranda 46); Jacob Peterson (James Rogers** 46), Dom Dwyer (Krisztian Nemeth 46), Bernardo Anor (Connor Hallisey 46)
**Unsigned 2015 MLS SuperDraft selection