Sporting Kansas City tied the New England Revolution 1-1 on Saturday to remain unbeaten during its 2016 preseason, presented by Children’s Mercy. Graham Zusi scored early but Teal Bunbury equalized after halftime as Sporting KC earned its second straight draw of the tournament at Kino North Stadium in Tucson, Arizona.
Manager Peter Vermes made no changes to his starting backline from Wednesday's 2-2 stalemate with Columbus Crew SC as Matt Besler and Portuguese newcomer Nuno Andre Coelho were flanked by veteran fullbacks Chance Myers and Seth Sinovic. Jordi Quintilla assumed the holding midfield role for the first time as a Sporting KC player, while 19-year-old Homegrown product Daniel Salloi spearheaded the attack.
New England held an early edge in possession and nearly went ahead in the sixth minute through Lee Nguyen. The U.S. international received a pass from Diego Fagundez and hit the crossbar with a bending shot from a tight angle on the left edge of the penalty box.
The Revolution would rue the miss shortly thereafter as Zusi made his mark 11 minutes into the match. Quintilla lofted a diagonal ball into the path of the four-time MLS All-Star, who cut into the box from right wing and curled a left footed strike into the far corner.
Sporting Kansas City carried a one-goal lead into halftime, but not before Tim Melia produced a brilliant save in the 41st minute. Nguyen’s lob into the penalty area narrowly eluded Coelho and fell to Davies, whose low drive was destined for the back of the net. Melia, however, dove to his left at full extension to push the ball just wide of the post.
Nguyen and Davies created another chance three minutes into the second half, culminating in a low cross that narrowly eluded Scott Caldwell in the six-yard area. New England leveled proceedings on its next foray in the 58th minute as a Fagundez through ball reached Bunbury, who slotted low past Melia to score against his former club.
Vermes introduced a fresh lineup on the hour mark as 11 substitutes replaced the Sporting KC starters. Just three minutes after his introduction, goalkeeper Alec Kann kept the sides deadlocked with a finger-tip save to deny Fagundez from 20 yards out.
Both clubs came close to finding a game-winner in the final moments. Sporting KC threatened in the 90th minute when 2015 MLS SuperDraft picks Connor Hallisey and Amadou Dia combined down the left side. Dia overlapped Hallisey inside the penalty area and flashed a dangerous ball across the face of goal, but no one was on hand to apply the finishing touch. At the other end, a shot atop the box fell invitingly to Steve Neumann who sent a line-drive effort over the bar with the final kick of the contest.
Sporting Kansas City resumes its Desert Diamond Cup campaign on Wednesday against the Colorado Rapids at Kino North Stadium. The match will kick off at 9 p.m. CT with a live stream on SportingKC.com.
2016 MLS Preseason
Desert Diamond Cup
Kino Sports Complex - North Stadium | Tucson, Arizona
Weather: 73 degrees and partly cloudy
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Sporting Kansas City: Tim Melia (Alec Kann 61); Chance Myers (Saad Abdul-Salaam 61), Nuno Andre Coelho (Kevin Ellis 61), Matt Besler (Ike Opara 61), Seth Sinovic (Amadou Dia 61); Jordi Quintilla (Lawrence Olum 61), Paulo Nagamura (Soni Mustivar 61), Roger Espinoza (Benny Feilhaber 61); Brad Davis (Faik Hajderovic* 61), Daniel Salloi (Jacob Peterson 61), Graham Zusi (Connor Hallisey 61).
New England Revolution: Bobby Shuttleworth; Andrew Farrell (Jordan McCrary 62), Darrius Barnes (Sambinha 62), Jose Goncalves (Tyler Rudy** 78), David Addy** (Jeb Brovsky** 62), Gershon Koffie (Scott Caldwell 31), Lee Nguyen (Zachary Herivaux 62), Kelyn Rowe (Steve Neumann 62), Diego Fagundez (Justin Rennicks*** 78), Teal Bunbury (Michael Gamble* 62), Charlie Davies (Juan Agudelo 62)
*Unsigned 2016 MLS SuperDraft selection
NE – Zachary Herivaux (caution) 75
SKC — Graham Zusi (Jordi Quintilla) 11
NE — Teal Bunbury (Diego Fagundez) 58