Sporting Kansas City opened the Desert Diamond Cup with a 2-2 draw against Columbus Crew SC on Wednesday at the Kino Sports Complex Grandstand Field in Tucson, Arizona.
Sporting KC twice came from behind in the second half as goals from Soni Mustivar and 2016 MLS SuperDraft selection Faik Hajderovic cancelled out Kei Kamara’s brace. All four goals on Wednesday came in the final 45 minutes, including Hajderovic’s 88th-minute equalizer which kept Sporting KC unbeaten during its 2016 preseason, presented by Children's Mercy.
Facing the 2015 Eastern Conference champions in the club’s third tune-up of 2016, Sporting Kansas City created multiple chances within the first quarter of the match. Spanish midfielder Jordi Quintilla forced the first save of the game from Crew SC’s Brad Stuver before a Brad Davis corner kick was headed narrowly wide by Chance Myers.
Jacob Peterson was on the end of Sporting KC’s best first-half scoring opportunity when Roger Espinoza forced a turnover inside the box in the 17th minute, but the forward sent his shot over the crossbar.
Columbus then went on the front foot as Tim Melia was forced into action in the 24th minute. Hector Jimenez raced onto a long ball and fired on target, but the 2015 MLS Comeback Player of the Year made a fine kick-save in a one-on-one situation to keep Crew SC off the scoresheet. Melia produced another key stop in the 33rd minute, denying veteran Conor Casey a goal for his new MLS club.
Both sides came close to drawing first blood just before halftime. Espinoza first picked out Seth Sinovic making a darting run into the penalty area, but the left back couldn’t direct his volley on goal. At the other end, Casey laid a ball into the path of winger Cedric Mabwati whose effort rattled the post.
Both clubs made wholesale changes at halftime as two new lineups went head-to-head, and with the changes came two quick goals. Columbus wasted no time making the breakthrough as unsigned rookie draft pick Chase Minter played to 2015 MLS MVP finalist Kei Kamara, who slotted past Alec Kann in the 46th minute to hand his former club a 1-0 deficit. It was the first preseason goal allowed by Peter Vermes’ men following shutouts of FC Tucson (Jan. 30) and Seongnam FC (Feb. 7).
Sporting KC conjured a reply just six minutes later when Columbus failed to clear an in-swinging corner kick. Saad Abdul-Salaam lofted a header back into the goalmouth area, Ike Opara applied a touch and Mustivar poked home amidst a scramble to level the match.
Claims for a Sporting KC penalty kick were turned away in the 67th minute when Connor Hallisey’s cross into the box hit the body of a Columbus defender. Five minutes later, Crew SC were awarded a penalty of their own when Kamara hit the turf as Kann raced off his line in attempt to smother the ball. The 25-year-old goalkeeper made the initial save on the ensuing spot kick, but Kamara buried the rebound to put his team ahead once more.
Sporting KC sent men forward in search of an equalizer and found it in the 88th minute. Hallisey, who scored twice in the club’s 4-0 preseason win over FC Tucson on Jan. 30, clipped in a low cross from the left wing. Hajderovic, an unsigned SuperDraft pick out of Saint Louis University, was on hand to smash a one-time shot past Steve Clark and restore parity.
The Desert Diamond Cup continues Saturday when Sporting Kansas City faces fellow MLS side New England Revolution at 8:30 p.m. CT. The match at Kino North Stadium will be streamed live on SportingKC.com.
2016 MLS Preseason
Desert Diamond Cup
Kino Sports Complex - Grandstand Field | Tucson, Arizona
Weather: 78 degrees and clear
|Sporting Kansas City||0||2||2|
|Columbus Crew SC||0||2||2|
Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia (Alec Kann 46); Chance Myers (Saad Abdul-Salaam 46), Nuno Andre Coelho (Ike Opara 46), Matt Besler (Kevin Ellis 46), Seth Sinovic (Amadou Dia 46); Lawrence Olum (Soni Mustivar 46), Jordi Quintilla (Paulo Nagamura 46), Roger Espinoza (Benny Feilhaber 46); Brad Davis (Faik Hajderovic* 46), Jacob Peterson (Daniel Salloi), Graham Zusi (Connor Hallisey).
Columbus Crew SC: Brad Stuver (Steve Clark 46); Chad Barson (Harrison Afful 46), Michael Parkhurst (Gaston Sauro 46), Amro Tarek (Tyson Wahl 46), Waylon Francis (Corey Ashe 46); Wil Trapp (Rodrigo Saravia 46); Mohammed Saeid (Tony Tchani 46); Cedric Mabwati (Ethan Finlay 46), Federico Higuain (Chase Minter* 46), Hector Jimenez (Emil Larsen 46); Conor Casey (Kei Kamara 46).
*Unsigned 2016 MLS SuperDraft selection
SKC -- Jordi Quintilla (caution; hard foul) 40
CLB — Kei Kamara (Chase Minter) 46
SKC — Soni Mustivar (Ike Opara) 52
CLB — Kei Kamara (unassisted) 74
SKC — Faik Hajderovic (Connor Hallisey) 88